Article summary


Discusses how to create a custom tag library meant for AEM development.  In addition, discusses how to use custom tags within AEM. 

This article uses an Adobe Maven Archetype project to build an OSGi bundle. If you are not familiar with an Adobe Maven Archetype project, it is recommended that you read the following article: Creating your first AEM Service using an Adobe Maven Archetype project.

A special thank you to Praveen Dubey a member of the AEM community for contributing AEM code that is used in this article. 

Digital Marketing Solution(s) Adobe Experience Manager (Adobe CQ)
Developer (intermediate)
Required Skills
Java, Maven, HTML
Tested On Adobe Experience Manager 6


You can download an AEM package that contains code and the OSGi bundle that are used in this article. Download the package and deploy using package manager. The purpose of this code is to show the community these concepts in action. That is, it's to illustrate how to write an AEM custom tag library and use the custom tags within AEM. This community code is for teaching purposes only and not meant to go into production as is.

You can view the application by using the following URL: http://localhost:4502/editor.html/content/myTags.html (assuming you deploy on author). 



You can create custom tag libraries for Adobe Experience Manager (AEM). After you develop an AEM custom tag library, you can invoke its actions from an AEM component, such as a text component. That is, its actions can be called from HTML using XML syntax. A custom tag library is implemented as an OSGi bundle that contains a Java class that extends TagSupport. For information, see Class TagSupport

You also need to define a tag library descriptor (TLD) file and bundle that within the OSGi bundle. For information, see Tag Library Descriptors.

The following illustration shows the output of an AEM custom tag defined within this development article.  


Create an application folder structure 

Create an Experience Manager application folder structure that contains templates, components, and pages by using CRXDE Lite. 


The following describes each application folder:

  • application name: contains all of the resources that an application uses. The resources can be templates, pages, components, and so on. 
  • components: contains components that your application uses. 
  • page: contains page components. A page component is a script such as a JSP file.
    global: contains global components that your application uses.
  • template: contains templates on which you base page components. 
  • src: contains source code that comprises an OSGi component (this development article does not create an OSGi bundle using this folder). 
  • install: contains a compiled OSGi bundles container.

To create an application folder structure:

  1. To view the CQ welcome page, enter the URL http://[host name]:[port] into a web browser. For example, http://localhost:4502.
  2. Select CRXDE Lite.
  3. Right-click the apps folder (or the parent folder), select Create, Create Folder.
  4. Enter the folder name into the Create Folder dialog box. Enter customtag
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for each folder specified in the previous illustration. 
  6. Click the Save All button.



You have to click the Save All button when working in CRXDELite for the changes to be made.

Create a template 

You can create a template by using CRXDE Lite. A CQ template enables you to define a consistent style for the pages in your application. A template comprises of nodes that specify the page structure. For more information about templates, see Templates.

To create a template, perform these tasks:

1. To view the CQ welcome page, enter the URL http://[host name]:[port] into a web browser. For example, http://localhost:4502.
2. Select CRXDE Lite.
3. Right-click the template folder (within your application), select Create, Create
4. Enter the following information into the Create Template dialog box:

  • Label: The name of the template to create. Enter tagTemplate
  • Title: The title that is assigned to the template.
  • Description: The description that is assigned to the template.
  • Resource Type: The component's path that is assigned to the template and copied to implementing pages. Enter customtag/components/page/tagTemplate.
  • Ranking: The order (ascending) in which this template will appear in relation to other templates. Setting this value to 1 ensures that the template appears first in the list.

5. Add a path to Allowed Paths. Click on the plus sign and enter the following value: /content(/.*)?.
6. Click Next for Allowed Parents.
7. Select OK on Allowed Children.

Create a render component that uses the template

Components are re-usable modules that implement specific application logic to render the content of your web site. You can think of a component as a collection of scripts (for example, JSPs, Java servlets, and so on) that completely realize a specific function. In order to realize this functionality, it is your responsibility as a CQ developer to create scripts that perform specific functionality. For more information about components, see Components.

By default, a component has at least one default script, identical to the name of the component. To create a render component, perform these tasks:

1. To view the CQ welcome page, enter the URL http://[host name]:[port] into a web browser. For example, http://localhost:4502.

2. Select CRXDE Lite.

3. Right-click /apps/customtag/components/page, then select
Create, Create Component.

4. Enter the following information into the Create Component dialog box:

  • Label: The name of the component to create. Enter tagTemplate
  • Title: The title that is assigned to the component.
  • Description: The description that is assigned to the template.
  • Super Type:foundation/components/page (in AEM 6, you specify this value for page components. In previous versions of AEM, this was not required.)

5. Select Next for Advanced Component Settings and Allowed Parents.

6. Select OK on Allowed Children.

7. Open the slingRTemplate.jsp located at: /apps/customtag/components/page/tagTemplate/tagTemplate.jsp.

8. Enter the following JSP code.

<title>Hello World !!!</title>
<h1>Hello Custom Tags!!!</h1>
<h2>This page will use custom tags within AEM</h2>

Setup Maven in your development environment

You can use Maven to build an OSGi bundle that contains a Sling Servlet. Maven manages required JAR files that a Java project needs in its class path. Instead of searching the Internet trying to find and download third-party JAR files to include in your project’s class path, Maven manages these dependencies for you.

You can download Maven 3 from the following URL:

After you download and extract Maven, create an environment variable named M3_HOME. Assign the Maven install location to this environment variable. For example:


Set up a system environment variable to reference Maven. To test whether you properly setup Maven, enter the following Maven command into a command prompt:

%M3_HOME%\bin\mvn -version

This command provides Maven and Java install details and resembles the following message:

Java home: C:\Programs\Java64-6\jre
Default locale: en_US, platform encoding: Cp1252
OS name: "windows 7", version: "6.1", arch: "amd64", family: "windows"


It is recommended that you use Maven 3.0.3 or greater. For more information about setting up Maven and the Home variable, see: Maven in 5 Minutes.

Next, copy the Maven configuration file named settings.xml from [install location]\apache-maven-3.0.4\conf\ to your user profile. For example, C:\Users\scottm\.m2\.

You have to configure your settings.xml file to use Adobe’s public repository. For information, see Adobe Public Maven Repository at

The following XML code represents a settings.xml file that you can use.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

Licensed to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) under one
or more contributor license agreements.  See the NOTICE file
distributed with this work for additional information
regarding copyright ownership.  The ASF licenses this file
to you under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the
"License"); you may not use this file except in compliance
with the License.  You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing,
software distributed under the License is distributed on an
KIND, either express or implied.  See the License for the
specific language governing permissions and limitations
under the License.

 | This is the configuration file for Maven. It can be specified at two levels:
 |  1. User Level. This settings.xml file provides configuration for a single user, 
 |                 and is normally provided in ${user.home}/.m2/settings.xml.
 |                 NOTE: This location can be overridden with the CLI option:
 |                 -s /path/to/user/settings.xml
 |  2. Global Level. This settings.xml file provides configuration for all Maven
 |                 users on a machine (assuming they're all using the same Maven
 |                 installation). It's normally provided in 
 |                 ${maven.home}/conf/settings.xml.
 |                 NOTE: This location can be overridden with the CLI option:
 |                 -gs /path/to/global/settings.xml
 | The sections in this sample file are intended to give you a running start at
 | getting the most out of your Maven installation. Where appropriate, the default
 | values (values used when the setting is not specified) are provided.
<settings xmlns="" 
  <!-- localRepository
   | The path to the local repository maven will use to store artifacts.
   | Default: ~/.m2/repository

  <!-- interactiveMode
   | This will determine whether maven prompts you when it needs input. If set to false,
   | maven will use a sensible default value, perhaps based on some other setting, for
   | the parameter in question.
   | Default: true

  <!-- offline
   | Determines whether maven should attempt to connect to the network when executing a build.
   | This will have an effect on artifact downloads, artifact deployment, and others.
   | Default: false

  <!-- pluginGroups
   | This is a list of additional group identifiers that will be searched when resolving plugins by their prefix, i.e.
   | when invoking a command line like "mvn prefix:goal". Maven will automatically add the group identifiers
   | "org.apache.maven.plugins" and "org.codehaus.mojo" if these are not already contained in the list.
    <!-- pluginGroup
     | Specifies a further group identifier to use for plugin lookup.

  <!-- proxies
   | This is a list of proxies which can be used on this machine to connect to the network.
   | Unless otherwise specified (by system property or command-line switch), the first proxy
   | specification in this list marked as active will be used.
    <!-- proxy
     | Specification for one proxy, to be used in connecting to the network.

  <!-- servers
   | This is a list of authentication profiles, keyed by the server-id used within the system.
   | Authentication profiles can be used whenever maven must make a connection to a remote server.
    <!-- server
     | Specifies the authentication information to use when connecting to a particular server, identified by
     | a unique name within the system (referred to by the 'id' attribute below).
     | NOTE: You should either specify username/password OR privateKey/passphrase, since these pairings are 
     |       used together.
    <!-- Another sample, using keys to authenticate.
      <passphrase>optional; leave empty if not used.</passphrase>

  <!-- mirrors
   | This is a list of mirrors to be used in downloading artifacts from remote repositories.
   | It works like this: a POM may declare a repository to use in resolving certain artifacts.
   | However, this repository may have problems with heavy traffic at times, so people have mirrored
   | it to several places.
   | That repository definition will have a unique id, so we can create a mirror reference for that
   | repository, to be used as an alternate download site. The mirror site will be the preferred 
   | server for that repository.
    <!-- mirror
     | Specifies a repository mirror site to use instead of a given repository. The repository that
     | this mirror serves has an ID that matches the mirrorOf element of this mirror. IDs are used
     | for inheritance and direct lookup purposes, and must be unique across the set of mirrors.
      <name>Human Readable Name for this Mirror.</name>
  <!-- profiles
   | This is a list of profiles which can be activated in a variety of ways, and which can modify
   | the build process. Profiles provided in the settings.xml are intended to provide local machine-
   | specific paths and repository locations which allow the build to work in the local environment.
   | For example, if you have an integration testing plugin - like cactus - that needs to know where
   | your Tomcat instance is installed, you can provide a variable here such that the variable is 
   | dereferenced during the build process to configure the cactus plugin.
   | As noted above, profiles can be activated in a variety of ways. One way - the activeProfiles
   | section of this document (settings.xml) - will be discussed later. Another way essentially
   | relies on the detection of a system property, either matching a particular value for the property,
   | or merely testing its existence. Profiles can also be activated by JDK version prefix, where a 
   | value of '1.4' might activate a profile when the build is executed on a JDK version of '1.4.2_07'.
   | Finally, the list of active profiles can be specified directly from the command line.
   | NOTE: For profiles defined in the settings.xml, you are restricted to specifying only artifact
   |       repositories, plugin repositories, and free-form properties to be used as configuration
   |       variables for plugins in the POM.
    <!-- profile
     | Specifies a set of introductions to the build process, to be activated using one or more of the
     | mechanisms described above. For inheritance purposes, and to activate profiles via <activatedProfiles/>
     | or the command line, profiles have to have an ID that is unique.
     | An encouraged best practice for profile identification is to use a consistent naming convention
     | for profiles, such as 'env-dev', 'env-test', 'env-production', 'user-jdcasey', 'user-brett', etc.
     | This will make it more intuitive to understand what the set of introduced profiles is attempting
     | to accomplish, particularly when you only have a list of profile id's for debug.
     | This profile example uses the JDK version to trigger activation, and provides a JDK-specific repo.


          <name>Repository for JDK 1.4 builds</name>

     | Here is another profile, activated by the system property 'target-env' with a value of 'dev',
     | which provides a specific path to the Tomcat instance. To use this, your plugin configuration
     | might hypothetically look like:
     | ...
     | <plugin>
     |   <groupId>org.myco.myplugins</groupId>
     |   <artifactId>myplugin</artifactId>
     |   <configuration>
     |     <tomcatLocation>${tomcatPath}</tomcatLocation>
     |   </configuration>
     | </plugin>
     | ...
     | NOTE: If you just wanted to inject this configuration whenever someone set 'target-env' to
     |       anything, you could just leave off the <value/> inside the activation-property.











                    <name>Nexus Proxy Repository</name>








                    <name>Nexus Proxy Repository</name>







  <!-- activeProfiles
   | List of profiles that are active for all builds.

Create an Experience Manager archetype project 

You can create an Experience Manager  archetype project by using the Maven archetype plugin. In this example, assume that the working directory is C:\AdobeCQ. 


To create an Experience Manager  archetype project, perform these steps:

1. Open the command prompt and go to your working directory (for example, C:\AdobeCQ).

2. Run the following Maven command:

mvn archetype:generate -DarchetypeRepository= -DarchetypeArtifactId=multimodule-content-package-archetype -DarchetypeVersion=1.0.2 -DartifactId=customtaglib -Dversion=1.0-SNAPSHOT -DappsFolderName=myproject -DartifactName="My Project" -DcqVersion="5.6.1" -DpackageGroup="My Company"

3. When prompted for additional information, specify Y.

4. Once done, you will see a message like:

[[INFO] Total time: 14:46.131s
[INFO] Finished at: Wed Mar 27 13:38:58 EDT 2013
[INFO] Final Memory: 10M/184M

5. Change the command prompt to the generated project. For example: C:\AdobeCQ\customtaglib. Run the following Maven command:

mvn eclipse:eclipse

After you run this command, you can import the project into Eclipse as discussed in the next section.

Add Java files to the Maven project using Eclipse

To make it easier to work with the Maven generated project, import it into the Eclipse development environment, as shown in the following illustration. 




Delete the test package in the project

The next step is to add a Java file to the package. The Java class that you create in this section extends the Java class named javax.servlet.jsp.tagext.TagSupport. This class is required to define a new tag library for AEM. You can override its methods such doEndTag. For information, see doEndTag.

Tag Library Descriptor file

To create a custom tag library, you need to define a Tag Library Descriptor  (.tld) file. This file defines the markup of the new AEM tags. You also map the tags to the class defined in the OSGi bundle by using the tag-class element. In the following example, notice that the value is

Also notice the uri value This value is also referenced in the front-end AEM component. Notice the name of the custom tag is defined using the name element. In this example, the name is demoTag and defines three required attributes: firstName, lastName, and contactNo. (These attributes are referenced from the JSP in the client component later in this development article.)

The following code represents  the TLD file. 

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
<taglib xmlns="" version="2.1">
        <info>This is just a demo of custom tag lib</info>

Place the TLD file named my-custom-tag.tld in the resources/META-INF  location in the Java project. 


DemoTag class

Create a Java class named DemoTag that extends TagSupport. This class defines getter and setter methods for the attributes defined in the TLD file. Also notice the doEndTag method returns the values of the attributes. 

The following Java code represents this class. 


import javax.servlet.jsp.JspException;
import javax.servlet.jsp.tagext.TagSupport;

public class DemoTag extends TagSupport {
	private static final long serialVersionUID = -8574739695584811939L;
	private String firstName;
	private String lastName;
	private int contactNo;
	public String getFirstName() {
		return firstName;

	public void setFirstName(String firstName) {
		this.firstName = firstName;

	public String getLastName() {
		return lastName;

	public void setLastName(String lastName) {
		this.lastName = lastName;

	public int getContactNo() {
		return contactNo;

	public void setContactNo(int contactNo) {
		this.contactNo = contactNo;

  public int doEndTag() throws JspException {   
    try {
    	pageContext.getOut().print("How are you JSP?, Here are the details of the User: "
    			+ ", Firstname: "+firstName+", Lastname: "+lastName+", Contact No: "+contactNo);
    } catch (IOException e) {
      throw new JspException(e.toString());
    return EVAL_PAGE;


Modify the Maven POM file 

Modify the POM files to successfully build the OSGi bundle. In the POM file located at C:\AdobeCQ\customtaglib\bundle, add the following dependencies.

  • org.apache.felix.scr
  • org.apache.felix.scr.annotations

The following XML represents this POM file.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<project xmlns="" xmlns:xsi=""
    xsi:schemaLocation=" ">
    <!-- ====================================================================== -->
    <!-- P A R E N T P R O J E C T D E S C R I P T I O N -->
    <!-- ====================================================================== -->

    <!-- ====================================================================== -->
    <!-- P R O J E C T D E S C R I P T I O N -->
    <!-- ====================================================================== -->

    <name>My Project Bundle</name>

    <!-- ====================================================================== -->
    <!-- B U I L D D E F I N I T I O N -->
    <!-- ====================================================================== -->

Build the OSGi bundle using Maven

To build the OSGi component by using Maven, perform these steps:

  1. Open the command prompt and go to the C:\AdobeCQ\customtaglib folder.
  2. Run the following maven command: mvn clean install.
  3. The OSGi component can be found in the following folder: C:\AdobeCQ\customtaglib\bundle\target. The file name of the OSGi component is customtaglib-bundle-1.0-SNAPSHOT.jar.

Deploy the bundle to Experience Manager

Once you deploy the OSGi bundle, you can use the custom tag defined in the TLD file (this is shown later in this development article). After you deploy the OSGi bundle, you will be able to see it in the Apache Felix Web Conole.


Deploy the OSGi bundle by performing these steps:

  1. Login to Apache Felix Web Console at http://server:port/system/console/bundles (default admin user = admin with password= admin).
  2. Click the Bundles tab, sort the bundle list by Id, and note the Id of the last bundle.
  3. Click the Install/Update button.
  4. Browse to the bundle JAR file you just built using Maven. (C:\AdobeCQ\customtaglib\bundle\target).
  5. Click Install.
  6. Click the Refresh Packages button.
  7. Check the bundle with the highest Id.
  8. Click Active.
  9. Your new bundle should now be listed with the status Active.
  10. If the status is not Active, check the CQ error.log for exceptions. 

Create a CQ web page that displays the client web page

Modify the JSP file located at customtag/components/page/tagTemplate/tagTemplate.jsp. Replace the code in the file with this code.



<%@include file="/libs/foundation/global.jsp"%>
<%@ page import=""%>
<%@ taglib prefix="myTag" uri=""%>
<myTag:demoTag firstName="Scott" lastName="macdonald" contactNo="1234"></myTag:demoTag>

Notice that the @page imports references the fully-qualified DemoTag class name. The uri value references the uri value defined in the TLD file.



Create an AEM page that displays tags defined in the custom tag library.

  1. Go to the CQ Websites page at http://localhost:4502/siteadmin#/content.
  2. Select New Page.
  3. Specify the title of the page in the Title field. Enter myTags.
  4. Specify the name of the page in the Name field.
  5. Select tagTemplate from the template list that appears. This value represents the template that is created in this development article. If you do not see it, then repeat the steps in this development article. For example, if you made a typing mistake when entering in path information, the template will not show up in the New Page dialog box.
  6. Open the page by clicking the myTags page.

See also

Congratulations, you have just created an AEM custom tag library by using an Adobe Maven Archetype project. Please refer to the AEM community page for other articles that discuss how to build AEM services/applications by using an Adobe Maven Archetype project.

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