If you want to dive into plugin development yourself, this guide will get you going quickly. Before we can get started you need to have a Lektor project we can temporarily add the plugin to and you need to have the lektor command line tool installed.

Enable Development Mode

When developing plugins it's very useful to enable Lektor's development mode before starting the server. This can be achieved by exporting the LEKTOR_DEV environment variable and setting it to 1:

$ export LEKTOR_DEV=1
$ lektor server

With that in place, Lektor will automatically restart the development server when the plugin is changing.

Creating A Package

Plugins come in packages. To make one, just create a folder with a sensible name (typically the name of your plugin minus the lektor- prefix) in your packages/ folder.

You can either do this manually or you can use the lektor dev new-plugin command (see new-plugin) which will create this folder structure for you:

$ lektor dev new-plugin

This will guide you through a flow which ends up creating a new plugin package in the packages folder.

Alternatively you can manually create a packages/hello-world/ folder.

Once that is done, we need to create a file which tells Lektor what your plugin needs to run. This will already be created for you if you used the wizard.

from setuptools import setup

        'lektor.plugins': [
            'hello-world = lektor_hello_world:HelloWorldPlugin',

So going line by line, these are what the things mean:

  • setuptools is a module that helps us install the package with the Python interpreter that Lektor uses. We only need the setup function from it for this example.
  • name is the name of the plugin when it's published to the Python package index where all Lektor plugins go. As such it should be prefixed with lektor- to make it not clash with other packages on the index.
  • version identifies the version. During local development it does not matter what you write here, but it will play a role once you start publishing your packages. Users need to reference exact versions of these plugins when using them.
  • py_modules: this is a list of modules that your plugin needs to run. This should always be exactly one module named lektor_XXX where XXX is your plugin name with underscores instead of dashes as separators. If you need more than one module you should use a package instead. This is not covered here, but you can find this in the setuptools documentation.
  • entry_points: this is meta data that is needed to associate our package with Lektor. Lektor will load all plugins in the lektor.plugins list. It can be a list of definitions in the form plugin-name = import_path. The plugin name is what will show up in the plugin list in Lektor, the import path should be the dotted import path to the module that contains the plugin followed by a colon (:) with the class name afterwards.
  • install_requires: this is a list of dependencies for our plugin. We leave it empty here as we do not depend on anything in this simple example.

Creating The Plugin

Now it's time to create our first plugin that does absolutely nothing. We create a new file with the name next to our and put the following things in:

from lektor.pluginsystem import Plugin

class HelloWorldPlugin(Plugin):
    name = 'Hello World'
    description = 'This is a demo plugin for testing purposes.'

If you now start your lektor server with lektor server you should see some output that indicates that the plugin was loaded. You can also get a list with lektor plugins list:

$ lektor plugins list
hello-world: Hello World
  This is a demo plugin for testing purposes.
  path: /Users/john/demo/packages/hello-world
  import-name: lektor_hello_world:HelloWorldPlugin

Hooking Events

Plugins in Lektor are based on the concept of hooking events. There are many events that can be hooked but we will only cover a very basic one here, the setup-env event. To respond to it, we need to implement a function named on_setup_env:

import random

    'Reticulating splines',
    'Populating slots',
    'Possessing pawns',

def get_random_message():
    return random.choice(MESSAGES)

class HelloWorldPlugin(Plugin):
    name = 'Hello World'
    description = 'This is a demo plugin for testing purposes.'

    def on_setup_env(self, **extra):

This will inject a function with the name get_random_message into our template globals when the environment is initialized. This means that we can access this function from templates then:

<p>Message of the page: {{ get_random_message() }}

There are many events that can be hooked and they can be found in the Event Documentation. All events need to be subscribed with an extra **extra argument to catch down additional arguments that might be supplied in the future.

What Plugins Can Do

To understand what you can do with plugins have a look at the Plugin API.