Writing local plugins

Snapcraft has a lot of official plugins included by default (with more being added all the time). However, sometimes one wants to write and use one’s own instead, whether that’s because:

  • The official Snapcraft plugins don’t do quite the right thing (in which case one should log a bug)
  • The build system being used isn’t supported by Snapcraft (in which case one should consider submitting one’s plugin upstream once complete)
  • One wants to use custom Debian repositories for stage-packages

Regardless of the reason, the purpose of this document is to provide a simple tutorial for doing it, from scratch.

No longer supported:

This feature has been deprecated. Local plugins do not work with Snapcraft 7, although earlier versions of Snapcraft can still be used.

Step 1: Create new project

Get into an empty directory that we’ll use for this project:

$ mkdir -p ~/src/snaps/local-plugins
$ cd ~/src/snaps/local-plugins

Now create a new snapcraft.yaml:

$ snapcraft init
Created snap/snapcraft.yaml.
Edit the file to your liking or run `snapcraft` to get started

Step 2: Create new plugin

Snapcraft plugins are written in Python, so we need to create a new Python module to hold our new plugin. These are placed in the snap/plugins/ directory. Let’s call our plugin “my-plugin”, although the module we create must use an underscore instead of the hyphen:

 $ cd ~/src/snaps/local-plugins
 $ mkdir snap/plugins
 $ touch snap/plugins/my_plugin.py

Step 3: Write plugin

Each plugin must adhere to the Plugin API. We won’t discuss it in depth here, but here’s our example:

import snapcraft

class MyPlugin(snapcraft.BasePlugin):

    def schema(cls):
        schema = super().schema()

        # Add a new property called "my-property"
        schema['properties']['my-property'] = {
            'type': 'string',

        # The "my-option" property is now required

        return schema

    def pull(self):
        print('Pull done. Here is "my-property": {}'.format(

    def build(self):
        print('Build done.')

Step 4: Use plugin in snapcraft.yaml

Now we can use our local plugin just like any other Snapcraft plugin:

name: my-snap-name # you probably want to 'snapcraft register <name>'
version: '0.1' # just for humans, typically '1.2+git' or '1.3.2'
summary: Single-line elevator pitch for your amazing snap # 79 char long summary
description: |
  This is my-snap's description. You have a paragraph or two to tell the
  most important story about your snap. Keep it under 100 words though,
  we live in tweetspace and your description wants to look good in the snap

grade: devel # must be 'stable' to release into candidate/stable channels
confinement: devmode # use 'strict' once you have the right plugs and slots

    plugin: my-plugin
    my-property: test value

Step 5: Build snap

Now we can build our snap just like normal:

$ snapcraft
Searching for local plugin for my-plugin
Preparing to pull my-part 
Pulling my-part 
Look ma, I pulled! Here is "my-property": test value
Preparing to build my-part 
Building my-part 
Look ma, I built!
Staging my-part 
Priming my-part 
Snapping 'my-snap-name' |
Snapped my-snap-name_0.1_amd64.snap


Now you should understand the basics of writing a local plugin that you can keep alongside your snapcraft.yaml. You should try deleting the my-property specification in the snapcraft.yaml, and you’ll see that you’ll get an error, because we specified that it was required in the plugin.

Last updated 1 year, 3 months ago.