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Creating Extensions

Scaffolding your Directus Extension

The easiest way to start developing extensions is to use the create-directus-extension utility:

bash
npm init directus-extension

After specifying the name of the extension, the type of the extension and the programming language you want to use, the utility will create a folder with the recommended file structure to create an extension.

Extension Folder Structure

The folder created by the utility is in fact an npm package. It comes with a few pre-installed packages depending on the extension type and the language you chose. The most important one is @directus/extensions-sdk. This package includes a CLI, which allows you to build your extension and to scaffold additional extensions, and it provides Typescript helpers and other utilities.

Inside the created folder there is a src/ folder. This folder contains the entrypoint of your extension. If you write additional source files, they should go into this folder.

Entrypoint

The entrypoint is either called index.js or index.ts, depending on which programming language you chose.

The generated package.json file contains an additional directus:extension field with the following sub-fields:

  • type — The type of the extension
  • path — The path to the built extension
  • source — The path to the source entrypoint
  • host — A semver string that indicates with which versions of the Directus host, the extension is compatible with

The CLI will use those fields by default to determine the input and output file paths and how the extension should be built.

Building your Extension

Before your extension can be used by Directus, it has to be built. If you used the create-directus-extension utility to scaffold your extension, building your extension is as easy as running:

bash
npm run build

The generated package.json contains a script that calls the directus-extension CLI which is part of @directus/extensions-sdk:

json
{
	"scripts": {
		"build": "directus-extension build"
	}
}

If you prefer to scaffold your extension manually, you can use the directus-extension CLI binary directly. The --help flag provides useful information regarding the available options and flags.

Internally, the CLI uses Rollup to bundle your extension to a single entrypoint.

Watch

The CLI supports rebuilding extensions whenever a file has changed by using the --watch flag.

Configuring the CLI

Most of the time, it should be sufficient to use the CLI as is. But, in some cases it might be necessary to customize it to your specific needs. This can be done by creating a extension.config.js file at the root of your extension package with the following content:

js
module.exports = {
	plugins: [],
};

Supported Options

  • plugins — An array of Rollup plugins that will be used when building extensions in addition to the built-in ones.

CommonJS or ESM

By using the type field inside your package.json file or using the appropriate file extension (.mjs or .cjs), the config file can be loaded as a CommonJS or ESM file.

Developing your Extension

To learn more about developing extensions of a specific type, you can refer to one of the individual guides:

App Extensions

API Extensions

Hybrid Extensions

Live Reloading

When working on extensions, try setting the EXTENSIONS_AUTO_RELOAD environment variable. This will make the API reload extensions on changes automatically.

Publishing your Extension

To make an extension available to all Directus users, you can publish the npm package created by @directus/extensions-sdk to the npm registry. Make sure the name of the package follows the naming convention for package extensions: directus-extension-<extension-name> or @<scope>/directus-extension-<extension-name>. <extension-name> has to be replaced with the name of your extension.

Installing an Extension

There are two ways to install an extension.

Package Extension

Package extensions are essentially npm packages. They can be installed from the npm registry, from a tarball, from a git repository or any other means supported by npm. On startup, Directus will automatically load any package extension installed into your Directus project folder.

To install an extension from the npm registry, simply use the npm CLI:

bash
cd <directus-project-folder>
npm install <full-package-extension-name>

<project-folder> has to be replaced by the Directus project folder. <full-package-extension-name> should be replaced with the full name of the package extension (e.g. directus-extension-custom).

Local Extension

Local extensions are essentially the files generated by the directus-extension build command. They can be installed by copying those files into a specific extensions folder.

To install an extension locally, you have to move the output from the dist/ folder into your project's ./extensions/<extension-folder>/<extension-name>/ folder. <extension-folder> has to be replaced by the extension type in plural form (e.g. interfaces). <extension-name> should be replaced with the name of your extension.

Configurable Folders

The path to the built extension as well as the extensions directory are configurable and may be located elsewhere.