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Extending the Mattermost web app

This tutorial will walk you through the basics of extending the Mattermost web app.

Note that the steps below are intentionally very manual to explain all of the pieces fitting together. In practice, we recommend referencing mattermost-plugin-starter-template for helpful build scripts. Also, the plugin API changed in Mattermost 5.2. Consult the migration document to upgrade older plugins.


Plugins, just like the Mattermost web app itself, are built using ReactJS with Redux. Make sure to install npm to manage your JavaScript dependencies.

You’ll also need a Mattermost server to install and test the plugin. This server must have Enable set to true in the PluginSettings section of its config file. If you want to upload plugins via the System Console or API, you’ll also need to set EnableUploads to true in the same section.

Set up the workspace 

Create a directory to act as your plugin workspace. With that directory, create and switch to a webapp directory:

mkdir webapp
cd webapp

Install the necessary NPM dependencies:

npm install --save-dev @babel/core @babel/preset-env @babel/preset-react babel-loader webpack webpack-cli
npm install --save react

Configure Webpack by creating a webpack.config.js file:

var path = require('path');

module.exports = {
    entry: [
    resolve: {
        modules: [
        extensions: ['*', '.js', '.jsx'],
    module: {
        rules: [
                test: /\.(js|jsx)$/,
                exclude: /node_modules/,
                use: {
                    loader: 'babel-loader',
                    options: {
                        presets: ['@babel/preset-react',
                                    "modules": "commonjs",
                                    "targets": {
                                        "node": "current"
    externals: {
        react: 'React',
    output: {
        path: path.join(__dirname, '/dist'),
        publicPath: '/',
        filename: 'main.js',

Observe that react is specified as an external library. This allows you to test your code locally (e.g. with jest and snapshots) but leverage the version of React shipped with Mattermost to avoid bloating your plugin.

Now create the entry point file and output directory:

mkdir src dist
touch src/index.jsx

Then populate src/index.jsx with the following:

import React from 'react';

// Courtesy of https://feathericons.com/
const Icon = () => <i className='icon fa fa-plug'/>;

class HelloWorldPlugin {
    initialize(registry, store) {
            // icon - JSX element to use as the button's icon
            <Icon />,
            // action - a function called when the button is clicked, passed the channel and channel member as arguments
            // null,
            () => {
                alert("Hello World!");
            // dropdown_text - string or JSX element shown for the dropdown button description
            "Hello World",

window.registerPlugin('com.mattermost.webapp-hello-world', new HelloWorldPlugin());

Generate a minified bundle ready to install as a web app plugin:

./node_modules/.bin/webpack --mode=production

Now, we’ll need to define the required manifest describing your plugin’s entry point. Create a file named plugin.json with the following contents:

    "id": "com.mattermost.webapp-hello-world",
    "name": "Hello World",
    "webapp": {
        "bundle_path": "main.js"

This manifest gives the server the location of your components within your plugin bundle. Consult the manifest reference for more details, including how to define a minimum required server version for your plugin.

Note that you may also use plugin.yaml to define the manifest.

Bundle the manifest and entry point into a tar file:

mkdir -p com.mattermost.webapp-hello-world
cp -r dist/main.js com.mattermost.webapp-hello-world/
cp plugin.json com.mattermost.webapp-hello-world/
tar -czvf plugin.tar.gz com.mattermost.webapp-hello-world

You should now have a file named plugin.tar.gz in your workspace. Congratulations! This is your first web app plugin!

Install the plugin 

Install the plugin in one of the following ways:

  1. Through System Console UI:

    • Log in to Mattermost as a System Admin.
    • Open the System Console at /admin_console
    • Navigate to Plugins > Plugin Management and upload the plugin.tar.gz you generated above.
    • Click Enable under the plugin after it has uploaded.
  2. Or, manually:

    • Extract plugin.tar.gz to a folder with the same name as the plugin id you specified in plugin.json, in this case com.mattermost.server-hello-world/.

    • Add the plugin to the directory set by PluginSettings > Directory in your config.json file. If none is set, defaults to ./plugins relative to your Mattermost installation directory. The resulting directory structure should look something like:

    • Restart the Mattermost server.

    • Enable the plugin in System Console > Plugins > Plugin Management.

Navigate to a regular Mattermost page and observe the new icon in the channel header. Click the icon and observe the alert dialog.

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