Building a Desktop Plugin

Now that we have the native side covered, let's display the data we're sending on the desktop side. You can check out the full workflow of building Flipper desktop plugins here: https://fbflipper.com/docs/extending/js-setup.

Custom cards UI for our sea mammals plugin

Dynamic Plugin loading

By default, Flipper will start with the plugins it was bundled with. You can configure it to also look for plugins in custom directories. To do that, modify the ~/.flipper/config.json file that is created the first time you start Flipper and add a newly created directory the pluginPaths attribute.

Your file will then look something like this:

{
"pluginPaths": [
"~/Flipper/custom-plugins/"
],
...
}

Creating the Plugin Package

With the loading part out of the way, we can create the new plugin. For that, first create a new folder inside the custom plugins directory. Then use flipper-pkg init to initialise a new Flipper desktop plugin package. flipper-pkg is a NPM module, so we can run it directly using npx if Node and NPM are installed.

$ cd ~/Flipper/custom-plugins/
$ npx flipper-pkg init

The tool will ask you to provide "id" and "title" for your plugin. Use "sea-mammals" as "id" and "Sea Mammals" as "title". After that the tool will create two files in the directory: package.json and src/index.tsx.

See package.json for an example.

To ensure there are no errors in the defined plugin, install packages (using yarn install or npm install) and execute script lint (yarn lint or npm run lint) which shows all the mismatches that should be fixed to make the plugin definition valid.

Now that our package has been set up, we are ready to build a UI for our plugin. Either by using a standardized table-based plugin, or by creating a custom UI.