Changing your Creator package names

In Creator, your project name is used as the java package path, and as the web application context name.

What if your project has grown and you want to change the name, either because you don't think webapplication24 is very professional sounding in your context name (which shows up in the web app URL), or because you don't like to see myfirstsimpletest as the package name on all your now complex page beans?

Unfortunately, there's no support in the IDE to do this yet. Which means you have to do it by hand. It's actually pretty straightforward, and there are no surprises; you just need to change all references in the project from the old name to the new name. However, if you make any mistakes, it is difficult to track down the problem. Pages will refuse to open, etc., because under the covers the IDE may fail to locate the page bean for a JSP since it uses the package path to do the mapping, for example. Therefore, be careful, and I don't take any responsibility for any damage to your files, or mood, as a result of trying the below steps. Worked for me, your mileage may vary.

First thing's first: Make a backup of your project. If things go wrong, you'll want to be able to start over - but starting over with the rename operation, not starting over creating your project from scratch!

And while I have the red paint out:

Don't open your project in the IDE until you are completely done! If there are inconsistencies in the project, the IDE will attempt to "fix" it, and suddenly you end up with multiple getApplicationBean methods, the project file referring to both the old and the new package name, etc.

When you create a project, Creator takes your project name and creates a "package name" out of it. This package name is used in all the Java beans in your project, it's used as the deployment context root, etc. The package name is derived by lowercasing your project name, and removing all non-identifier characters from it, such as punctuation, whitespace, etc. Therefore, "My Project" becomes "myproject". I'll use "myproject" as my sample old name in the following code fragments, and "New Name" as the new Project name (which means "newname" will be the new package name and context root).

    1. Exit the IDE.

    2. Rename the project directory - from My Project to New Name.

    3. Now comes the most labor intensive portion of the project transformation: you'll need to change the java package name, which will involve updating all the java files. You can either use an IDE which supports refactoring to do this (Creator doesn't yet, but NetBeans does, as does a number of other IDEs). If you use an IDE be careful though to make sure it doesn't perform any other changes to your code.

      If you do it by hand, the steps involved are:
      • Rename the java package folder, from src/src/myproject to src/src/newname
      • For each Java file, update three things: the package declaration (first statement in the file) from package myproject; to package newname;, and update the return types and casts in the getApplicationBean1 and getSessionBean1 methods (4 lines to change). (These are not present in all files.)

    4. Next, update src/web/WEB-INF/managed-beans.xml. Change the managed-bean-class entries in the obvious way:
    5. If you have customized web.xml or faces-config.xml (this is not common unless you are an expert user) make sure any references to the old names in these files are updated.

    6. Delete the following directories:
      • project-data/private/Windows/
      • build/

    7. Update project-data/
    8. Modify project-data/project.prj. Be careful!! Change
      <folder name="myproject">
      <file name=""/>
      <folder name="newname">
      <file name=""/>
    9. Then change the other references from "My Project" and "myproject" to "New Name" and "newname":
      <project name="My Project" type="WebApp">
      <attr name="displayName" stringvalue="My Project"/>
      <attr name="defaultPackage" stringvalue="myproject"/>
      <attr name="contextPath" stringvalue="/myproject"/>
      <project name="New Name" type="WebApp">
      <attr name="displayName" stringvalue="New Name"/>
      <attr name="defaultPackage" stringvalue="newname"/>
      <attr name="contextPath" stringvalue="/newname"/>
If you've done all the above steps, do a final search through your code to make sure that all references to "My Project" and "myproject" have indeed been updated. Now try loading your project. It should both load and correctly deploy. In my case I had introduced a typo in one of the source files, so I got the new error list on project load (which was added in patch 6, so make sure you have the latest bits).

You may have noticed in the last step that there is a separate entry in project.prj for the contextPath. If all you care about is changing the context path which shows up in the project's URL when deployed, you MAY be able to just change this entry in the project file and leave all your code with the old package name. I have not tried that - so I have no idea if it works. If anyone tries it, let me know and I'll report your findings.


Thanks Tor, This is exactly what I am looking for. However, your solution is not for JSC 2. Can you explain how to rename the package in JSC 2? Really appreciate your help.

Posted by hao on June 24, 2006 at 07:37 AM PDT #

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Tor Norbye


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