Plugins are pieces of Python code that tell Snapcraft how to build the content of a snap’s parts. There are a variety of plugins already included with snapcraft. You can find the current list from $ snapcraft list-plugins, and you should find plugins covering Python 2 and 3, Go, Java, cmake- and autotools-based projects, and more. These supplied plugins will usually be adequate for building most snaps.

See the Plugins reference for the full list of implemented ones.


Snapcraft plugins implement a lifecycle over the following steps:

  • pull: retrieve the source for the part from the specified location
  • build: drive the build system determined by the choice of plugin
  • stage: consolidate desireable files from all the parts in one tree
  • prime: distill down to only the files which will go into the snap
  • snap: compress the prime tree into the installable snap file

These steps correspond to snapcraft commands. So when you initiate a snapcraft pull you will invoke the respective plugin for each part in the snap, in sequence, to handle the source pull. Each part will then have a fully populated parts/<part-name/>/src/ directory. Similarly, if you then say snapcraft build you will invoke the plugin responsible for each part in turn, to build the part.

Adding custom plugins

Snapcraft also allows you to add your own plugins written in Python.

You can find a lot of custom plugins in this repository of examples contributed by the community (such as Intellij Idea, Kylin icon theme, MirageOS).

To illustrate how a plugin is created, let’s consider adding support for a custom build-tool named “Crafty”. The goal of this plugin is to pass a configurable target to the crafty sometarget command inside the src/crafty source directory.

Relative to the directory of snapcraft.yaml, create parts/plugins/x-crafty.yaml containing:

              required: true
              required: true

and parts/plugins/ containing:

    import snapcraft

    class XCraftyPlugin(snapcraft.BasePlugin):
        def build(self):
            return[crafty, self.options.crafty_target])

        def pull(self):
            return self.handle_source_options()

Note that to avoid collisions with official part plugins, the names are prefixed with “x”: x_crafty, and x-crafty.

This part plugin is then used in snapcraft.yaml with:

        plugin: x-crafty
        source: src/crafty
        crafty-target: sometarget

New part plugins are placed in the snap’s source directory along snapcraft.yaml as they mature, then submitted as patches to the Snapcraft project for everyone to use.


If you would like to explore plugins further, here are a couple of plugin examples and basic building details:

autotools, make: the standard “configure, make, make install” plugins

See them used.

Get more info from:

    $ snapcraft help autotools
    $ snapcraft help make

go: the Golang plugin

See it used.

Get more info from:

$ snapcraft help go