• Document Up to Date
  • Updated On 4.0.3

Plugins

What are plugins?

A plugin can contain one or more extensions for CrafterCMS in a single package. These extensions can:

  • Extend Crafter Studio (authoring)
    • Add Studio authoring widgets that drive the Sidebar and other UI elements
    • Add embedded applications that render in their own page within Studio (see Plugin Host)
    • Add new Form Engine extensions including data sources and components
    • Add server-side code and services that drive the Studio UI extensions
  • Extend Crafter Engine and the project/web application (delivery)
    • Add new content types along with their Groovy controllers and FreeMarker templates
    • Add REST APIs and/or server-side code
    • Add 3rd party integrations to your web app

Plugins allows the user to easily add/extend functionality and features of a Web experience (site, mobile app) or the content authoring experience (authoring tools) or both. Examples of features/functionalities a user may want to add to their Web app may be a contact form, a chat bot or Website analytics.

Authoring Plugins

Authoring plugins are those that allow extending Crafter Studio through UI widgets, applications, and backend services.

UI Widgets and Standalone Apps

There are two types of UI plugins

  • UI widgets to be used around the different plugable sections of Studio UI
  • Standalone apps that run in the Plugin Host

Plugins can access Studio client-side components (React), services and utilities through two main mechanisms:

  • When using npm, you can yarn add or npm i the @craftercms/studio-ui package

  • In the Studio browser runtime, the window.craftercms global

    • The following namespaces are available through window.craftercms

      • libs allows access to the published third party techs that power Studio UI
        • React
        • ReactDOM/Client
        • MaterialUI
        • ReactRedux
        • ReactIntl
        • createEmotion
        • ReduxToolkit (createAction)
        • RxJS
        • Emotion (createEmotion)
      • components contains Studio UI components
      • icons contains custom Studio UI icons
      • utils contains utilities for issuing AJAX requests, manipulation objects, arrays, strings, paths, content types, and much more
      • services contains functions to invoke Studio APIs categorized by module (e.g. users, groups, sites, auth, content types, etc.)
      • getStore returns the Redux store that powers the UI

We recommend using React and Material UI to develop your apps and widgets since these will provide the most coherent integration and seamless experience for the end user provided that CrafterCMS’ UI is developed in those technologies. This will also allow you to leverage all of Studio UI components, utilities and apis. See examples below for sample apps developed using these technologies.

Examples of UI Plugins are

  • CRA Standalone: illustrates a standalone app using a dev toolchain with dev server
  • Vanilla Standalone: illustrates a simple standalone app with single JS entry point without transpilation or anything special
  • Component library: illustrates the creation of a library of widgets that can be rendered throughout Studio UI

Services

Through authoring plugins you can add your own service API rest scripts.

For example, you may want to create an API to connect and/or monitor AWS services and create a UI extension to consume your APIs.

Delivery Plugins

Delivery plugins allow you to extend the CrafterCMS project by adding content types (and all content types involve) and REST APIs.

Content Types

You can add Content Types including their definition, Groovy controller, Freemarker templates and accompanying assets.

For example, a delivery plugin may be a YouTube video component. The plugin would have the content type definition, its freemarker template and some JavaScript and CSS to render the content type when used. When the extension containing the content type is installed, authors would be able to make use of the YouTube video component adding videos to their content.

Scripts

Scripts allow you to add APIs to you CrafterCMS project application.

Templates

Through delivery plugins, you can add Freemarker templates to your project. Templates could be the rendering template of a content type or a Freemarker template hook (explained below). So, in summary, you can add templates to render your extension content types or to add functionality to pages via the Freemarker template hooks.

Freemarker Template Hooks

CrafterCMS provides a mechanism (a “hook”) for adding markup and defining macros for plugins via Freemarker templates. These templates, when the plugin has one of them will be automatically included in the project.

Here are the supported templates:

  • definitions.ftl: can be used to define macros for the plugin
  • head.ftl: can be used to add markup in the HTML <head> element
  • body_top.ftl: can be used to add markup at the beginning of the HTML <body> element
  • body_bottom.ftl: can be used to add markup at the end of the HTML <body> element

Place the template/s in the {your_plugin_folder}/delivery/templates directory location in your plugin like below:

 1{your_plugin_folder}/
 2  craftercms-plugin.yaml
 3  .crafter/
 4    screenshots/
 5      default.png
 6  delivery/
 7    templates/
 8      definitions.ftl
 9      head.ftl
10      body_top.ftl
11      body_bottom.ftl

The Google Analytics plugin for CrafterCMS available from the Marketplace uses a Freemarker template (google-analytics-plugin/delivery/templates/plugins/org/craftercms/plugin/google/analytics/head.ftl) to add markup in the HTML <head> element.

See https://github.com/craftercms/google-analytics-plugin/blob/master/delivery/templates/plugins/org/craftercms/plugin/google/analytics/head.ftl for an example on what can be in included in the template.


How Do I Make My Own Plugin?

Requirements

You’ll need the following for creating your plugin:

  • A plugin descriptor file, craftercms-plugin.yaml
  • Your plugin files

The craftercms-plugin.yaml file contains information about your plugin, such as the license, the versions of CrafterCMS supported, and other configurations and metadata.

See CrafterCMS Plugin Descriptor for more information on what’s inside the plugin descriptor.

Your plugin files/folders could be JavaScript files, XML files, Groovy scripts, images, CSS files, and more depending on the plugin type you’re creating.

Directory Structure

A plugin consist of a group of files that are copied to the project repository when installed. To create your own plugin, your files/folders needs to go in the corresponding type of plugin folder, following the structure below:

  • craftercms-plugin.yaml: the plugin descriptor, see CrafterCMS Plugin Descriptor for details
  • .crafter
    • screenshots
      • default.png : the default representative image of the plugin placed under the default path .crafter/screenshots/
  • authoring: contains all files related to Crafter Studio extensions
    • content-types
      • component: contains configuration files for components, see below for an example
      • page: contains configuration files for pages
    • static-assets: contains files for Studio UI plugins
    • scripts
      • classes: contains Groovy classes
      • rest: contains REST Groovy scripts
  • delivery: contains all files related to Crafter Engine extensions
    • templates: contains Freemarker templates
    • static-assets: contains binary files
    • scripts
      • classes: contains Groovy classes
      • components: contains Groovy scripts for components
      • controllers: contains Groovy controllers
      • filters: contains Groovy filters
      • pages: contains Groovy scripts for pages
      • rest: contains Groovy REST scripts

An easy way to develop new plugins is to start with an empty project and when all the files are ready copy them to a new repository following the given structure. However all references should be updated to match the final destination of the file:

Location in the plugin repository Location in the project repository
authoring/content-types/component/* /config/studio/content-types/component/<plugin id path>/*
authoring/content-types/page/* /config/studio/content-types/page/<plugin id path>/*
authoring/static-assets/* /config/studio/static-assets/plugins/<plugin id path>/*
authoring/scripts/classes/* /config/studio/plugins/scripts/classes/<plugin id path>/*
authoring/scripts/rest/* /config/studio/plugins/scripts/rest/<plugin id path>/*
delivery/templates/* /templates/<plugin id path>/*
delivery/static-assets/* /static-assets/<plugin id path>/*
delivery/scripts/classes/* /scripts/classes/<plugin id path>/*
delivery/scripts/components/* /scripts/components/<plugin id path>/*
delivery/scripts/controllers/* /scripts/controllers/<plugin id path>/*
delivery/scripts/filters/* /scripts/filters/<plugin id path>/*
delivery/scripts/pages/* /scripts/pages/<plugin id path>/*
delivery/scripts/rest/* /scripts/rest/<plugin id path>/*

Your plugin is installed in a project via the Marketplace or via copy-plugin CLI command, your plugin descriptor containing the directory structure will be read and corresponding plugin files copied to the project.

UI Plugin Directory Structure

Authoring plugins should use the following directory structure:

{PLUGIN_DIRECTORY}/authoring/static-assets/{ID}/{CATEGORY}/{NAME}/

where:

  • ID: A directory named after the plugin id (e.g. org.craftercms.sample)
  • CATEGORY: A directory named after the type of plugin (e.g. control, datasource, sidebar, app, lib, etc.)
  • NAME: A directory named after the plugin name
    • Plugin sources and/or build output of the plugin would be placed here.

Example Directory Structure

Here’s an example directory structure for a plugin with the pluginId value set to org.craftercms.sample :

Directory structure example
 1{your_plugin_folder}/
 2  craftercms-plugin.yaml
 3  .crafter/
 4    screenshots/
 5      default.png
 6  authoring/
 7    static-assets/
 8      plugins/
 9        org/
10          craftercms/
11            sample/
12              controls/
13                color-picker/
14                  main.js
15                  style.css
16  delivery/
17    scripts/
18      rest/
19        org/
20          craftercms/
21            sample/
22              hello.groovy
23    templates/
24      org/
25        craftercms/
26          sample/
27            head.ftl

The repository here contains a skeleton plugin directory structure for your use. You can use the repository to help you start create your plugin. Simply fill in the plugin descriptor file craftercms-plugin.yaml file and remove items you don’t need

Create your plugin

To create a plugin, a descriptor file craftercms-plugin.yaml is required. This article contains more information on what’s in the file and an example file.

The next requirement for creating your plugin are the plugin files. Depending on the plugin type you are creating, this could be a JavaScript file, Freemarker template files, Groovy file, XML file, etc. The plugin file/s should then be placed in a directory structure as described above depending on the plugin created. For example, say your plugin is a component content type, your plugin files should be placed under the directory authoring/content-types/component

Example directory structure for a component content type plugin
authoring/
  content-types/
    component/
      <your_component_name>/
        config.xml
        controller.groovy
        form-definition.xml

CrafterCMS uses a default path to look for a default representative image of a plugin, the url ../.crafter/screenshots/. Here’s a sample plugin files/directory with a default image to represent the plugin:

Example directory structure for a component content type plugin with a default representative image
.crafter/
  screenshots/
    default.png
authoring/
  content-types/
    component/
      <your_component_name>/
        config.xml
        controller.groovy
        form-definition.xml

Reusing libraries written in Java in your plugin

Some users may have some libraries written in Java that they may want to reuse in their plugin. To reuse those libraries, do the following:

  • Publish your JARs to Maven Central

  • Pull the JARs from Maven in a small Groovy script in your plugin via Grapes

    If the JAR is available in Maven Central

    Pull JAR available in Maven Central via Grapes
    @Grab(value='com.example:my-java-plugin:1.0.0', initClass=false)
    import com.example.java.Plugin // This class is made up, it can be anything
    

    If the JAR is in a private Maven Repo

    Pull JAR available in private Maven Repo via Grapes
    @GrabResolver(name='my-repo', root='https://maven.example.com/')
    @Grab(value='com.example:my-java-plugin:1.0.0', initClass=false)
    import com.example.java.Plugin // This class is made up, it can be anything
    

Publishing Your Plugin

To publish a plugin in the Crafter Marketplace you can follow the instructions in Create Extensions for the Crafter Marketplace


Retrieving Extension Assets

At the low level, Crafter Studio APIs provide an endpoint that gets a file for a given plugin, (i.e. https://app.swaggerhub.com/apis/craftercms/studio/4.0.2.0#/plugin/getPluginFile). This API takes care of setting all the right headers for whatever kind of asset you’re retrieving (JavaScript, CSS, image, etc). There are also higher level mechanisms for developers to load and use plugins like the Plugin host or through the Crafter CLI.

If you need to manually load assets from your plugin (e.g set the src of a <script />, set the href of a <link />, set the src of an <img />, etc.), you should use the following URL

/studio/1/plugin/file?siteId={siteId}&type={yourPluginType}&name={yourPluginName}&file={fileName}

If your extensions is nested on a plugin id directory, you should also include the pluginId argument.

/studio/1/plugin/file?siteId={siteId}&pluginId={yourPluginId}&type={yourPluginType}&name={yourPluginName}&file={fileName}


Installing a Plugin

Plugins may be installed a couple of ways depending on where the plugins are located:

After installing a plugin, depending on the plugin you created, the plugin will be be installed under the:

  • {siteRoot}/config/studio/static-assets/plugins/{yourPluginId}/{yourPluginType}/{yourPluginName}/
  • {siteRoot}/config/studio/content-types/component/{yourPluginType}/{yourPluginName}/
  • {siteRoot}/config/studio/content-types/page/{yourPluginType}/{yourPluginName}/
  • {siteRoot}/templates/{yourPluginId}/{yourPluginType}/{yourPluginName}
  • {siteRoot}/static-assets/{yourPluginId}/{yourPluginType}/{yourPluginName}
  • {siteRoot}/scripts/{yourScriptType}/{yourPluginId}/{yourPluginType}/{yourPluginName}

Install a plugin from the Crafter Marketplace

Once a plugin is published to the Crafter Marketplace it can be installed using the Crafter Studio user interface or the REST API:

Note

To access the Plugin Management tool or use the install plugin REST API your user needs to have the following permissions:

  • list_plugins
  • install_plugins

For more information on installing plugins from the Crafter Marketplace using Crafter Studio, see Plugin Management

Install a plugin in development from a Studio local folder

For developers who want to test out their plugins before submitting to the Crafter Marketplace, CrafterCMS provides a CLI command copy-plugin for installing a plugin from a Studio local folder into a project using the crafter-cli.

Let’s take a look at an example to show how to install a plugin using the CrafterCMS cli copy-plugin command. We’ll use a project named myeditorial where we will be installing the plugin, and the plugin we want to install located in /Users/myuser/plugins/sidebar-plugin

To install the plugin sidebar-plugin to our project myeditorial, we’ll run the copy-plugin command like below:

./crafter-cli copy-plugin -e local -s myeditorial --path /users/myuser/plugins/sidebar-plugin

Remember that the connection to CrafterCMS needs to be setup via the add-environment command before using any of the crafter-cli commands.

See copy-plugin for more information on the copy-plugin command.


Example Creating a Plugin

Let’s take a look at an example of creating a component content type plugin named My Component

First, we’ll configure the descriptor file craftercms-plugin.yaml file for our plugin

Descriptor file for the example component content type plugin
 1# This file describes a plugin for use in CrafterCMS
 2
 3# The version of the format for this file
 4descriptorVersion: 2
 5
 6# Describe the plugin
 7plugin:
 8  type: site
 9  id: org.craftercms.plugin.mycomponent
10  name: My Component Plugin Example
11  tags:
12    - test
13  version:
14    major: 4
15    minor: 0
16    patch: 0
17  description: My simple component content type plugin
18  website:
19    name: Component Content Type Plugin Example
20    url: https://craftercms.com
21  media:
22    screenshots:
23      - title: CrafterCMS
24        description: CrafterCMS Example Component Plugin
25        url: "https://raw.githubusercontent.com/craftercms/site-plugin-example/master/.crafter/screenshots/default.png"
26  developer:
27    company:
28      name: CrafterCMS
29      email: info@craftercms.com
30      url: https://craftercms.com
31  license:
32    name: MIT
33    url: https://opensource.org/licenses/MIT
34  crafterCmsVersions:
35    - major: 4
36      minor: 0
37      patch: 0
38  crafterCmsEditions:
39    - community
40    - enterprise

We’ll then create the directory structure for a component content type plugin authoring/content-types/component/*, to place our plugin files in,

Directory structure for component content type plugin My Component
authoring/
  content-types/
    component/
      mycomponent/
        config.xml
        controller.groovy
        form-definition.xml

Here are the plugin files:

authoring/content-types/component/mycomponent/config.xml
 1<content-type name="/component/mycomponent" is-wcm-type="true">
 2<label>My Component</label>
 3<form>/component/plugins/org/craftercms/mycomponent/mycomponent</form>
 4<form-path>simple</form-path>
 5<model-instance-path>NOT-USED-BY-SIMPLE-FORM-ENGINE</model-instance-path>
 6<file-extension>xml</file-extension>
 7<content-as-folder>false</content-as-folder>
 8<previewable>false</previewable>
 9<quickCreate>false</quickCreate>
10<quickCreatePath></quickCreatePath>
11<noThumbnail>true</noThumbnail>
12<image-thumbnail></image-thumbnail>
13</content-type>
authoring/content-types/component/mycomponent/form-definition.xml
  1<form>
  2    <title>Test</title>
  3    <description></description>
  4    <objectType>component</objectType>
  5    <content-type>/component/plugins/org/craftercms/plugin/mycomponent/mycomponent</content-type>
  6    <imageThumbnail>undefined</imageThumbnail>
  7    <quickCreate>false</quickCreate>
  8    <quickCreatePath></quickCreatePath>
  9    <properties>        <property>
 10            <name>display-template</name>
 11            <label>Display Template</label>
 12            <value>/templates/plugins/org/craftercms/plugin/mycomponent/mycomponent.ftl</value>
 13            <type>template</type>
 14        </property>
 15        <property>
 16            <name>no-template-required</name>
 17            <label>No Template Required</label>
 18            <value></value>
 19            <type>boolean</type>
 20        </property>
 21        <property>
 22            <name>merge-strategy</name>
 23            <label>Merge Strategy</label>
 24            <value>inherit-levels</value>
 25            <type>string</type>
 26        </property>
 27    </properties>
 28    <sections>        <section>
 29            <title>Test Properties</title>
 30            <description></description>
 31            <defaultOpen>true</defaultOpen>
 32            <fields>
 33                <field>
 34                    <type>auto-filename</type>
 35                    <id>file-name</id>
 36                    <iceId></iceId>
 37                    <title>Component ID</title>
 38                    <description></description>
 39                    <defaultValue></defaultValue>
 40                    <help></help>
 41                    <properties>
 42                        <property>
 43                            <name>size</name>
 44                            <value>50</value>
 45                            <type>int</type>
 46                        </property>
 47                        <property>
 48                            <name>maxlength</name>
 49                            <value>50</value>
 50                            <type>int</type>
 51                        </property>
 52                        <property>
 53                            <name>readonly</name>
 54                            <value></value>
 55                            <type>boolean</type>
 56                        </property>
 57                    </properties>
 58                    <constraints>
 59                    </constraints>
 60                </field>
 61                <field>
 62                    <type>input</type>
 63                    <id>internal-name</id>
 64                    <iceId></iceId>
 65                    <title>Internal Name</title>
 66                    <description></description>
 67                    <defaultValue></defaultValue>
 68                    <help></help>
 69                    <properties>
 70                        <property>
 71                            <name>size</name>
 72                            <value>50</value>
 73                            <type>int</type>
 74                        </property>
 75                        <property>
 76                            <name>maxlength</name>
 77                            <value>50</value>
 78                            <type>int</type>
 79                        </property>
 80                    </properties>
 81                    <constraints>
 82                        <constraint>
 83                            <name>required</name>
 84                            <value><![CDATA[true]]></value>
 85                            <type>boolean</type>
 86                        </constraint>
 87                    </constraints>
 88                </field>
 89                <field>
 90                    <type>input</type>
 91                    <id>someValue_s</id>
 92                    <iceId></iceId>
 93                    <title>Some Value</title>
 94                    <description></description>
 95                    <defaultValue></defaultValue>
 96                    <help></help>
 97                    <properties>
 98                        <property>
 99                            <name>size</name>
100                            <value>50</value>
101                            <type>int</type>
102                        </property>
103                        <property>
104                            <name>maxlength</name>
105                            <value>50</value>
106                            <type>int</type>
107                        </property>
108                        <property>
109                            <name>readonly</name>
110                            <value></value>
111                            <type>boolean</type>
112                        </property>
113                        <property>
114                            <name>tokenize</name>
115                            <value>false</value>
116                            <type>boolean</type>
117                        </property>
118                    </properties>
119                    <constraints>
120                        <constraint>
121                            <name>required</name>
122                            <value><![CDATA[]]></value>
123                            <type>boolean</type>
124                        </constraint>
125                        <constraint>
126                            <name>pattern</name>
127                            <value><![CDATA[]]></value>
128                            <type>string</type>
129                        </constraint>
130                    </constraints>
131                </field>
132            </fields>
133        </section>
134    </sections>
135    <datasources>    </datasources>
136</form>
authoring/content-types/component/mycomponent/controller.groovy
 1import scripts.libs.CommonLifecycleApi;
 2
 3def contentLifecycleParams =[:];
 4contentLifecycleParams.site = site;
 5contentLifecycleParams.path = path;
 6contentLifecycleParams.user = user;
 7contentLifecycleParams.contentType = contentType;
 8contentLifecycleParams.contentLifecycleOperation = contentLifecycleOperation;
 9contentLifecycleParams.contentLoader = contentLoader;
10contentLifecycleParams.applicationContext = applicationContext;
11
12def controller = new CommonLifecycleApi(contentLifecycleParams);
13controller.execute();

The plugin is now ready to be tested. We’ll install our plugin located under /users/myuser/component-plugin using the crafter-cli command copy-plugin to test it out to a project named editorial

./crafter-cli copy-plugin -e local -s editorial --path /users/myuser/component-plugin

After installing our plugin, we can now verify that our component plugin is available in projectTools Content Types

Example component content type plugin now available in project editorial

Some More Examples & Resources

Here are some more examples and resources to help you create your plugins

Example Plugins

CrafterCMS also provides various plugin examples available from the Marketplace to help you create your own plugins. These plugins can be installed to your project using Plugin Management in projectTools through the Studio UI. See Plugin Management for more information on installing plugins from the Crafter Marketplace.