How To

So you want to build a plugin but it's not quite clear how you would structure a plugin to accomplish this? This part of the documentation should help you find answers to those questions.

Expose Functionality

Most plugins will provide functionality of sorts. There are two places where functionality is typically needed: in templates or for other plugins to use. Plugins can import from each other just like this, but functionality exposed into templates should follow some basic rules:

  • modify jinja_env.globals or jinja_env.filters and do not use process-template-context unless you absolutely know what you are doing.
  • expose as few global variables as possible. If you have a lot you want to provide then consider registering an object with the templates and to attach multiple attributes on it.
  • use clear names for template globals. This is a shared space that all plugins and Lektor itself modify so do not provide a function called get_script but for instance call it get_my_plugin_script.

A simple example of a plugin that implements Gravatar support:

from hashlib import md5
from werkzeug.urls import url_encode
from lektor.pluginsystem import Plugin


def get_gravatar(email, **options):
    fn = md5(email.lower().strip().encode('utf-8')).hexdigest()
    return '%s/%s?%s' % (BASE_URL, fn, url_encode(options))

class GravatarPlugin(Plugin):
    name = 'Gravatar'
    def on_setup_env(self, **extra):
        self.env.jinja_env.filters['gravatar'] = get_gravatar

Configure Plugins

Plugins can come with their own config files and it's encouraged that plugins take advantage of this. Each plugin has exactly one INI file called <plugin-id>.ini inside the configs folder.

To get access to the plugin the get_config function can be used which returns a dict like object to access the ini file.

config = self.get_config()
value = config.get('section.key', 'default_value')

This would correspond to this config in configs/my-plugin.ini:

key = the value

Dependency Tracking

While a lot of dependencies are tracked automatically, when you develop a plugin you probably will discover that sometimes you need to track your own ones. There are different ways in which dependency tracking can work and depending on the situation you might have to use two different mechanisms.

  1. Dependency tracking by association: while a build of a source object into an artifact is active more dependencies for that artifact can be registered with the record_dependency method of the context. It takes a filename that should be recorded as additional dependency for the current artifact
  2. Dependency tracking as artifact source: if you build your own artifact you need to define the source files that make up the artifact (if you have such a thing). For instance if you build a thumbnail you will need to track those source files that are the source images. This can be done through the sub_artifact method which declares a new artifact.

Here examples for both of those in one:

import os
from flask import json
from lektor.pluginsystem import Plugin

def dump_exif(image):
    ctx = get_ctx()
    path = posixpath.join(image.path, '-exif.json')
    @ctx.sub_artifact(path, sources=[image.source_filename])
    def include_file(artifact):
        with'wb') as f:
            json.dump(image.exif.to_dict(), f)
    return path

class ExifDumpPlugin(Plugin):
    def setup_env(self, **extra):
        self.env.jinja_env.globals['dump_exif'] = dump_exif

This dumps out the EXIF data into a JSON file and returns the artifact name. The source image is tracked as direct source for the artifact and within the function we also track the plugin's filename to rebuild if the plugin changes.

Adding New Field Types

Let's say you want to add an "asciidoc" field type so you can write with AsciiDoc markup.

First install AsciiDoc so its command-line program is available. Then update blog-post.ini from the blog guide like so:

label = Body
type = asciidoc  # Custom type.

In a blog post's, write some AsciiDoc like:


== Header 1

Some text.

code here

You can add your "asciidoc" type to Lektor with a plugin:

from subprocess import PIPE, Popen

from lektor.pluginsystem import Plugin
from lektor.types import Type

def asciidoc_to_html(text):
    # The "-" at the end tells asciidoc to read from stdin.
    p = Popen(
        ['asciidoc', '--no-header-footer', 
         '--backend=html5', '-'],
        stdin=PIPE, stdout=PIPE, stderr=PIPE)

    out, err = p.communicate(text)
    if p.returncode != 0:
        raise RuntimeError('asciidoc: "%s"' % err)

    return out

# Wrapper with an __html__ method prevents
# Lektor from escaping HTML tags.
class HTML(object):
    def __init__(self, html):
        self.html = html

    def __html__(self):
        return self.html

class AsciiDocType(Type):
    widget = 'multiline-text'

    def value_from_raw(self, raw):
        return HTML(asciidoc_to_html(raw.value or u''))

class AsciiDocPlugin(Plugin):
    name = u'AsciiDoc'
    description = u'Adds AsciiDoc field type to Lektor.'

    def on_setup_env(self, **extra):
        # Derives type name "asciidoc" from class name.