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This document, together with the hello-world plugin, shows you how to get started with the plugin development.

What Can Plugins Do?

Hudson defines extensibility points, which are interfaces or abstract classes that model an aspect of a build system. Those interfaces define contracts of what need to be implemented, and Hudson allows plugins to contribute those implementations. See this document for more about extension points.

In this document, we'll be implementing a Builder that says hello. (built-in builders include Ant, Maven, and shell script. Builders build a project.)

Other resources

Besides this tutorial, there are other tutorials and examples available on line:

Setting Up Environment

To develop a plugin, you need Maven 2 (why?) and JDK 5.0 or later. If this is the first time you use Maven, make sure Maven can download stuff over the internet.

With a fairly recent version of Maven (ie. 2.0.9 or newer) you should only need to add the following to your ~/.m2/settings.xml (Windows users will find them in c:\Documents and Settings\<your user name>\.m2\settings.xml):



      <activeByDefault />





This will point Maven to a repository that contains Hudson-related Maven plugins and also will let you use short names of Hudson Maven plugins (ie. hpi:create instead of

Maven versions earlier than 2.0.9

If you are building behind a HTTP proxy, you will need to use Maven 2.0.5 or newer as there is a well known bug fetching artifacts from a https:// repository via a HTTP proxy with Maven 2.0.4.

Due to MNG-2261 which causes problems locating plugins when you are in a directory with no pom.xml, an additional step is necessary for Maven versions earlier than 2.0.9 to have Maven download the necessary tools for you.

Create an empty directory, download this pom.xml in there, and run "mvn package". This bootstrap pom trick will download a bunch of artifacts into your local repository.

$ cd /tmp
$ wget*checkout*/hudson/trunk/hudson/tools/bootstrap/pom.xml
$ mvn package
$ rm pom.xml

Also, if your Maven has trouble resolving artifacts, consider adding the following entries to your ~/.m2/settings.xml too. This is a crude way to cause Maven to look at the m2 repository all the time for artifact resolutions.



Creating a New Plugin

To start a new plugin, run the following maven command:

$ mvn hpi:create

This will ask you a few question, like the groupId (the maven jargon for the package name) and the artifactId (the maven jargon for your project name), then create a skeleton plugin from which you can start with. Make sure you can build this:

$ cd newly-created-directory
$ mvn package

NetBeans users can now use the IDE's Maven support (available from Plugin Manager for NetBeans 6.5 and up) to open the project directly. Users of other IDEs should generate IDE project files to develop the plugin productively:

// if you are using IntelliJ
$ mvn -DdownloadSources=true idea:idea

// if you are using Eclipse
$ mvn -DdownloadSources=true eclipse:eclipse

Due to a bug in Eclipse, Eclipse users will need to remove src/main/resources from the source folder list after projects are imported to the workspace. See this e-mail thread for more details.

Eclipse users should consider using the maven2 eclipse plug-in, After havint this plug, you can import Hudson as a maven project.

At this point, from your IDE, you should be able to see all files and all the needed libraries complete with their source code.

If you get the error message Unable to find a plugin class. Did you put @plugin in javadoc? this maybe caused by eclipse and maven both use the target folder for build output.
Run mvn clean before building with maven or change the output path.

Plugin Workspace Layout

The plugin workspace consists of the following major pieces:


Maven uses it for building your plugin


Java source files of the plugin


Jelly/Groovy views of the plugin. See this document for more about it.


Static resources of the plugin, such as images and HTML files.

Source Code

Let's take a look at the source code. A plugin's main entry point is a PluginImpl class that extends from Plugin. Once Hudson detects your plugin (via its @plugin javadoc annotation — this gets copied into manifest during the build), it will create an instance, and invokes methods.

Most of the time, a plugin class just registers extension points. See the source code for more about how a Builder is implemented and what it does.

Developing a Plugin

Run the following command to launch Hudson with your plugin:

$ export MAVEN_OPTS="-Xdebug -Xrunjdwp:transport=dt_socket,server=y,address=8000,suspend=n"
$ mvn hpi:run


> set MAVEN_OPTS=-Xdebug -Xrunjdwp:transport=dt_socket,server=y,address=8000,suspend=n
> mvn hpi:run

If you open http://localhost:8080/ in your browser, you should see the Hudson page running in Jetty. The MAVEN_OPTS portion launches this whole thing with the debugger port 8000, so you should be able to start a debug session to this port from your IDE.

Once this starts running, keep it running. Jetty will pick up all the changes automatically.

  1. When you make changes to view files in src/main/resources or resource files in src/main/webapp, just hit F5 in your browser to see the changes.
  2. When you change Java source files. Compile them in your IDE and Jetty should automatically redeploy Hudson to pick up those changes There is no need to run mvn at all.

    MAVEN_OPTS can be used to specify all sorts of other JVM parameters, like -Xmx

Changing port

If you need to launch the Hudson on a different port than 8080, set the port through the system property jetty.port

$ mvn hpi:run -Djetty.port=8090

Distributing a Plugin

To create a distribution image of your plugin, run the following Maven goal:

$ mvn package

This should create target/*.hpi file. Other users can use Hudson's web UI to upload this plugin to Hudson (or place it in $HUDSON_HOME/plugins.)

Hosting a Plugin on

If you got to this point, you should definitely consider hosting your plugin on Move on to this document for how to do that.

Other tips

  1. Consider running Maven like mvn -o ... to avoid hitting repositories every time. This will make various operations considerably faster.
  2. Subscribe to from here so that we can get in touch with you.
  3. When you bump up the version of Hudson you depend on, make sure to run mvn clean once, in particular to delte target/work that Jetty uses. Otherwise your Jetty may continue to pick up old left-over jar files.
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