Creating Your First Plugin

Plugins consist of two things. First, a meta-data file describing the plugin which includes things like a name, the author, and where to find the plugin. Second, the plugin code which can take the form of a shared library or python module.

Builder supports writing plugins in C, C++, Vala, or Python. We will be using Python for our examples in this tutorial because it is both succinct and easy to get started with.

First, we will look at our plugin meta-data file. The file should have the file-suffix of ”.plugin” and it’s format is familiar. It starts with a line containing “[Plugin]” indicating this is plugin meta-data. Then it is followed by a series of “Key=Value” key-pairs.

# my_plugin.plugin
[Plugin]
Name=My Plugin
Loader=python3
Module=my_plugin
Author=Angela Avery

Now we can create a simple plugin that will print “hello” when Builder starts and “goodbye” when Builder exits.

# my_plugin.py

import gi

from gi.repository import GObject
from gi.repository import Ide

class MyAppAddin(GObject.Object, Ide.ApplicationAddin):

    def do_load(self, application):
        print("hello")

    def do_unload(self, application):
        print("goodbye")

In the python file above, we define a new extension called MyAppAddin. It inherits from GObject.Object (which is our base object) and implements the interface Ide.ApplicationAddin. We wont get too much into objects and interfaces here, but the plugin manager uses this information to determine when and how to load our extension.

The Ide.ApplicationAddin requires that two methods are implemented. The first is called do_load and is executed when the extension should load. And the second is called do_unload and is executed when the plugin should cleanup after itself. Each of the two functions take a parameter called application which is an Ide.Application instance.

Loading our Plugin

Now place the two files in ~/.local/share/gnome-builder/plugins as my_plugin.plugin and my_plugin.py. If we run Builder from the command line, we should see the output from our plugin!

[angela@localhost ~] gnome-builder
hello

Now if we close the window, we should see that our plugin was unloaded.

[angela@localhost ~] gnome-builder
hello
goodbye

Next, continue on to learn about other interfaces you can implement in Builder to extend it’s features!