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Repository Initializers and Repository Initialization Language

The SlingRepositoryInitializer mechanism allows for running code before the SlingRepository service is registered.

This is useful for initialization and content migration purposes.

Please be aware of potential clustering and coordination issues when using this mechanism, if your environment lets several Sling instances access the same content repository you'll need to implement a synchronization mechanism for such operations.


The SlingRepositoryInitializer is a very simple service interface, available from version 2.4.0 of the org.apache.sling.jcr.api and org.apache.sling.jcr.base bundles.

public interface SlingRepositoryInitializer {
    public void processRepository(SlingRepository repo) throws Exception;

Services that implement this interface are called when setting up the JCR-based SlingRepository service, before registering it as an OSGi service.

They are called in increasing order of their service.ranking service property, which needs to be an Integer as usual.

If any of them throws an Exception, the SlingRepository service is not registered.

The 'repoinit' Repository Initialization Language

The org.apache.sling.repoinit.parser implements a mini-language meant to create paths, service users and Access Control Lists in a content repository, as well as registering JCR namespaces and node types.

The language grammar is defined (using the JavaCC compiler-compiler, which has no runtime dependencies) in the RepoInitGrammar.jjt file in that module, and the automated tests provide a number of test cases which demonstrate various features.

The companion org.apache.sling.jcr.repoinit module implements those operations on an Oak JCR repository, using a SlingRepositoryInitializer registered by default with a service ranking of 100. It also provides a JcrRepoInitOpsProcessor service to explicitly apply the output of the repoinit parser to a JCR repository.

Here's a current example from the test cases mentioned above, that uses all language features as of version 1.0.2 of the parser module.

The language is self-explaining but please refer to the actual test cases for details that are guaranteed to be up to date, assuming the tests pass.

create service user user1, u-ser_2
set ACL on /libs,/apps
    allow jcr:read for user1,u-ser_2

    deny jcr:write for u-ser_2
    deny jcr:lockManagement for user1
    remove jcr:understand,some:other for u3

create service user bob_the_service

set ACL on /tmp
    allow some:otherPrivilege for bob_the_service

# Nodetypes inside the path apply to just that path element
create path /content/example.com(sling:Folder)

# A nodetype in front is used as the default for all path elements
create path (nt:unstructured) /var

set ACL for alice, bob,fred
    # remove is currently not supported by the jcr.repoinit module
    remove * on / 
    allow jcr:read on /content,/var
    deny jcr:write on /content/example.com
    deny jcr:all on / nodetypes example:Page

# register namespace requires 
# o.a.s.repoinit.parser 1.0.4
# and o.a.s.jcr.repoinit 1.0.2
register namespace ( NSprefix ) uri:someURI/v1.42

# register nodetypes in CND format
# (same bundle requirements as register namespaces)
# The optional << markers are used when embedding
# this in a Sling provisioning model, to avoid syntax errors
# The CND instructions are passed as is to the JCR
# modules, so the full CND syntax is supported.
register nodetypes
<<  <slingevent='http://sling.apache.org/jcr/event/1.0'>
<<  [slingevent:Event] > nt:unstructured, nt:hierarchyNode
<<    - slingevent:topic (string)
<<    - slingevent:properties (binary)

create user demoUser with password {SHA-256} dc460da4ad72c482231e28e688e01f2778a88ce31a08826899d54ef7183998b5

create service user the-last-one

Providing repoinit statements from the Sling provisioning model or other URLs

All bundles required for this feature need to be active before the SlingRepository service starts.

From version 1.0.2 of the org.apache.sling.jcr.repoinit bundle, the o.a.s.jcr.repoinit.RepositoryInitializer component uses an OSGi configuration as shown in this example to define where to read repoinit statements:


This example defines two references to URLs that supply repoinit statements. Their syntax is described below.

By default the RepositoryInitializer uses the first URL shown in the above example, which points to the provisioning model that's embedded by default in the Sling Launchpad runnable jar.

Note that previous versions of the org.apache.sling.jcr.repoinit bundle used different configuration parameters. From version 1.0.2 on, warnings are logged if those old parameters (text.url,text.format,model.section.name) are used.

References to Sling Provisioning Model additional sections

The slingstart-maven-plugin, from V1.4.2 on, allows for embedding so-called "additional sections" in the Sling provisioning model by starting their name with a colon.

At runtime this requires the org.apache.sling.provisioning.model bundle, version 1.4.2 or later.

The o.a.s.jcr.repoinit bundle can use this feature to execute repoinit statements provided by Sling provisioning models, as in this provisioning model example fragment:

create path /repoinit/provisioningModelTest

create service user provisioningModelUser

To read repoinit statements from such an additional provisioning model section, the RepositoryInitializer configuration shown above uses references like


Where model means "use the provisioning model format", repoinitTwo is the name of the additional section to read statements from in the provisioning model (without the leading colon) and context:/resources/... is the URL to use to retrieve the provisioning model.

In this example the URL uses the context scheme defined by the Sling Launchpad, but any scheme can be used provided a suitable URL handler is active.

The section name in that reference is optional and defaults to repoinit. If it's not specified the @ should be omitted as well.

References to URLs providing raw repoinit statements

Using a RepositoryInitializer reference like in this example, with the raw prefix, means that its content is passed as is to the repoinit parser:


Which points to a classpath: URL to provide the raw repoinit statements in this example, but again any valid URL scheme can be used.

Rev. 1775375 by bdelacretaz on Wed, 21 Dec 2016 08:15:21 +0000
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