Get your favorite Ethereum developer tools to work together using Buidler

Learn how to create plugins and bring them together

Buidler is an extensible developer tool that helps smart contract developers increase productivity by reliably bringing together the tools they want. Take a look at our vision post or head over to Github to learn more.

In this guide, we will explore the creation of plugins for Buidler, which are the key component for integrating other tools. For a general overview of using Buidler refer to the Getting started guide.

Because of the way some Ethereum tools and libraries are designed, it’s not easy or even possible to get them to work together. Through its flexible design Buidler allows most tools to play along through short and simple plugins.

What exactly are plugins in Buidler?

Plugins in Buidler are essentially reusable bits of configuration, which are defined programmatically using a DSL. When developing a plugin the main tools available to integrate new functionality are extending the Buidler Runtime Environment, extending the Buidler config, defining new tasks and overriding existing ones, which are all configuration actions achieved through code.

Some examples of things you could achieve by creating a plugin are running a linter when the check task runs, injecting an instance of the Ethereum library of your liking to the Buidler Runtime Environment, or adding a task to run a code coverage tool.

Let’s go through the process of creating a plugin to inject ethers.js to the Buidler Runtime Environment.

The environment is configured through a queue of extension functions that you can add to using the extendEnvironment() function. It receives one parameter which is an async function which will be executed after the required initialization is done, in order.

For example, adding the following to buidler.config.js:

Will make hi available everywhere where the environment is accessible.

Will yield:

This is literally all it takes to put together a plugin for Buidler. Injecting an ethers.js instance into the environment would look like this:

Full functional code at https://gist.github.com/fzeoli/9cdd9c1182b9636829bf71bfacb82c43

And that’s it. Ethers.js is now fully available to be used in the Buidler console, your tasks, tests and other plugins.

Now, this is just injecting from the config file, which by itself can be useful if that’s all you care about, but this can also be packaged as a reusable plugin that you can publish for others to benefit as well.

You can use the plugin boilerplate repository as a starting point to create an npm package for your plugin. We highly recommend using TypeScript for your plugins, especially if you’re looking to inject objects into the Buidler Runtime Environment. This way, types can be exported and text editors can autocomplete for your users.

For a fully functional ethers plugin written in TypeScript take a look at nomiclabs/buidler-ethers on Github.

If you end up publishing a plugin, send us a pull request and we’ll add it to the Buidler README file.

For any questions or feedback you may have, you can find us in the Buidler Support Telegram group.