Edgewall Software

Writing Plugins for Trac

Starting with version 0.9, you can develop plugins for Trac that extend the builtin functionality. The plugin functionality is based on the component architecture, so please read that document before continuing here. For more information, not covered here, see TracDev.

Writing the plugin code

To extend Trac with custom functionality, you need to implement a component. For example, to add a new web module to Trac (i.e. a component that handles HTTP requests and extends the navigation bar), you would start with something like the following:

from trac.core import Component, implements
from trac.util.html import html
from trac.web import IRequestHandler
from trac.web.chrome import INavigationContributor

class HelloWorldPlugin(Component):

    implements(INavigationContributor, IRequestHandler)

    # INavigationContributor methods

    def get_active_navigation_item(self, req):
        return 'helloworld'

    def get_navigation_items(self, req):
        yield ('mainnav', 'helloworld',
               html.a('Hello world', href=req.href.helloworld()))

    # IRequestHandler methods
    def match_request(self, req):
        return req.path_info == '/helloworld'

    def process_request(self, req):
        content = 'Hello World!'
        req.send(content, 'text/plain')

Extension points

The above example implements two of Trac's many extension point interfaces. Look at the extension point specific pages (like TracDev/PluginDevelopment/ExtensionPoints/trac.web.chrome.INavigationContributor) for an overview, or the API documentation to see what exactly you're expected to return.

Component member variables

Every component that gets instantiated through the Trac environment gets three extra member variables for convenience:

  • env: The environment, an instance of the trac.env.Environment class (see trac.env).
  • config: The configuration, an instance of the trac.config.Configuration class (see trac.config).
  • log: The configured logger, see the Python logging API for more information.

These variables can also be accessed from the initializer (__init__) of a component.

Storing any other objects as instance variables of your component is probably a bad idea: remember that a component is only instantiated once for a given environment. Unless your plugin is used in a CGI deployment of Trac, that means that the same component instance will get invoked for multiple HTTP requests; if the server is multi-threaded, this will even happen concurrently.

Single file plugins

Plugins that consist of a single .py file can be dropped directly into either the project's or the shared plugins directory. More complex plugins require some packaging.

Packaging plugins

TracPlugins are packaged using setuptools, to create an egg or wheel package.

The plugin needs to export an entry points group named trac.plugins, listing the names of the modules that Trac should import for the plugin-provided components to get registered. For example:

from setuptools import find_packages, setup

    name='TracHelloWorld', version='1.0',
    entry_points = {
        'trac.plugins': [
            'helloworld = myplugs.helloworld',

This assumes that the HelloWorldPlugin example above is defined in the module helloworld.py in the myplugs package. The entry point name (in this example helloworld) is required by the Python egg runtime, but not currently used by Trac. In most cases, you can simply use the qualified module name there. The myplugs directory must contain an __init__.py to make it a regular package, but the file can be empty.

The structure of files and directories is:


Internationalization/Localization of plugins

If you plan on supporting your plugin for i18n/l10n, see the plugin i18n/l10n cookbook page for details. Support for i18n/l10n has been introduced since Trac 0.12 and uses Babel.

Plugin deployment

A plugin can either be deployed globally, or only for a specific environment. Global deployment is done by installing the plugin:

cd /path/to/pluginsource
python setup.py install

To deploy a plugin only to a specific Trac environment, copy the egg file into the plugins directory of that environment:

cd /path/to/pluginsource
python setup.py bdist_egg
cp dist/*.egg /path/to/projenv/plugins

During development of a plugin, it is inconvenient to have to install it in either of the ways described above. Instead, you should use the setuptools develop command:

cd /path/to/pluginsource
python setup.py develop --multi-version --exclude-scripts --install-dir /path/to/projenv/plugins

or the short version:

python setup.py develop -mxd /path/to/projenv/plugins

You can omit the --install-dir and --multi-version arguments to make the development version of your plugin available globally.

This will install an .egg-link file instead of the actual egg. That file is basically a link to the source directory of your plugin, so that Trac will always see the latest version of your code. In this case you will have to explicitly enable your plugin in the Trac configuration as explained on TracPlugins.

A tutorial to build your own plugins is available here.

Disabling built-in components

Sometimes you might want to write a plugin that completely replaces a built-in component, for example to develop an advanced variant of an existing module. Trac uses a list of default component to load, as specified in the default_components list in trac.db_default. These built-in components are always loaded, and might therefore conflict with your replacement plugin.

You can however disable built-in components using a special trac.ini section called [components]. This section contains the qualified name of the components to disable, along with disabled or off as the value.

For example, to disable the built-in Wiki macro RecentChanges, you'd include the following in trac.ini:

trac.wiki.macros.RecentChangesMacro = disabled

You can also use a wildcard at the end of a name, so you could even disable the complete Wiki module:

trac.wiki.* = disabled

Wiki formatting will still work in the remaining modules, of course.


The logging API is a very good debugging tool. For example, use this code when you want to view the value of a variable:

env.log.debug("*** Hey, varname is %r ***", varname)

where env is the Environment instance.

If you are inside the methods of a Component subclass, better use:

self.log.debug("Hey, varname is %r", varname)

This will implicitly use the self.env Environment, but your component name will now be used for the $module (see TracLogging#LogFormat). This makes it easier to identify the relevant debug lines.

During development it might become inconvenient to follow the log file. Consider using TracDeveloperPlugin to access the log directly in the web browser.

Note that there's no way to log something at the global level, outside the scope of a Trac environment, as the configuration of logging is done at that level and usually the log file is located in $tracenv/log/trac.log.

See also: TracDev, TracDev/ComponentArchitecture, TracDev/PluginDevelopment/ExtensionPoints, TracPlugins

Last modified 4 years ago Last modified on May 7, 2020, 2:45:52 AM
Note: See TracWiki for help on using the wiki.