Plugins for RepoBee (the plugin category)

RepoBee defines a fairly simple but powerful plugin system that allows programmers to create plugins that hook into certain execution points of specific commands, or define new commands altogether. This chapter details general usage of existing plugins, such as installing, uninstalling and activating them. To read more about how to create plugins of your own, see repobee-plug Developer Documentation.

Listing available plugins (the list action)

The plugin list command allows you to list available plugins for RepoBee. It should look something like this:

Sample output from the plugin list command
$ repobee plugin list
│ Name       Description                               URL                                                    Latest    Installed      │
│                                                                                                                       ( = active)   │
│ junit4     Plugin for RepoBee that runs JUnit4 on              v1.0.0    v1.0.0         │
│            cloned repos                                                                                                              │
│ feedback   A RepoBee plugin for opening feedback            v0.6.2    v0.6.2        │
│            issues in on student issue trackers                                                                                       │
│ sanitizer  A plugin for sanitizing master             v0.1.0    -              │
│            repositories before distribution to                                                                                       │
│            students                                                                                                                  │
│ csvgrades  A plugin for RepoBee that parses the           v0.2.0    -              │
│            JSON file produced by list-issues to                                                                                      │
│            report grades into a CSV file                                                                                             │
│ gitlab     Makes RepoBee compatible with GitLab  N/A       built-in       │
│ javac      Runs javac on student repos after  N/A       built-in       │
│            cloning                                                                                                                   │
│ pairwise   Makes peer review allocation pairwise  N/A       built-in       │
│            (if student A reviews student B, then                                                                                     │
│            student B reviews student A)                                                                                              │
│ pylint     Runs pylint on student repos after  N/A       built-in       │
│            cloning                                                                                                                   │
│ query      An experimental query command for  N/A       built-in       │
│            querying the hooks results file (NOTE:                                                                                    │
│            This plugin is not stable)                                                                                                │
│ tamanager  Manager plugin for adding and removing  N/A       built-in      │
│            teachers/teaching assistants from the                                                                                     │
│            target organization. Teachers are granted                                                                                  │
│            read access to all repositories in the                                                                                    │
│            organization. This plugin should not be                                                                                   │
│            used with GitLab due to performance                                                                                       │
│            issues. (NOTE: This plugin is not stable                                                                                  │
│            yet and may change without notice)                                                                                        │

There are a few things to note from the output. First of all, several plugins are listed as built-in in the column labeled Installed. This means that they ship with RepoBee, and there is no need to install them. Any plugin not listed as built-in is external, and must be installed as described in the next section. You may also note a next to certain version numbers. This means that the plugin is active, which is discussed in Activating and deactivating installed plugins (the activate action).


Documentation for plugins: It’s important to know where to find documentation for any given plugin. For built-in plugins, you can find the documentation in Built-in plugins. External plugins have separate documentation, which can be found by going to the URL listed by the list action.

Installing plugins (the install action)

The install action allows a user to install one of our curated plugins, or user-made plugins. To install a curated plugin, simply run repobee plugin install, and a menu system much like the config wizard will guide you through the install process. To upgrade a plugin, simply run the install action again and select a newer version.

It’s possible to perform a non-interactive install of a specific plugin and version. This is useful for scripts and the like. For example, installing junit4 version v1.0.0 can be done like so:

Non-interactive install of a plugin
$ repobee plugin install --plugin-spec junit4@v1.0.0

The install action also allows for a local install. This is useful if you want to install an unofficial plugin, or perhaps something that you wrote yourself. To perform a local install, simply provide the path to the file (if single-file plugin) or directory (if a packaged plugin) containing the plugin to the --local option.

Example of a local plugin install
$ repobee plugin install --local path/to/plugin

Note that a local install may sometimes be dependent on its location in the local file system. If you move or delete the local plugin, it may break RepoBee’s installation of it.

Finally, one can also install plugins directly from a remote Git repository, which is primarily intended to allow users to easily install unofficial plugins. For example, we can install the junit4 plugin directly from its repository like so:

Example of install of plugin from Git repository
$ repobee plugin install --git-url

The version specifier (here, @v1.0.0) can be any Git ref (e.g. branch, tag or commit sha), and is optional. If omitted, RepoBee will install the latest version from the default branch of the repository.


For a plugin to be installable directly from a Git repository, the project must follow the packaging conventions detailed in Packaging plugins.

Uninstalling plugins (the uninstall action)

To uninstall a plugin, simply run repobee plugin uninstall. This will guide you through the process of uninstalling any installed plugin.


Sometimes, plugins break, and may cause RepoBee to fail to load. If you experience this, try running uninstall with the --no-plugins preparser option.

$ repobee --no-plugins plugin uninstall

Much like for installing plugins, it’s possible to uninstall plugins non-interactively. It is however sufficient to specify the name of the plugin, as it is not possible to have multiple versions of a plugin installed at the same time. A non-interactive uninstall of the junit4 plugin can for example be executed like so:

Non-interactive uninstall of a plugin
$ repobee plugin uninstall --plugin-name junit4

Activating and deactivating installed plugins (the activate action)

A plugin being installed is not enough for it to actually do anything (otherwise, all of the plugins that ship with RepoBee would always do things). There are two ways to activate plugins: temporarily and persistently.

Temporary plugin activation

You can activate plugins temporarily for a single command execution by specifying them with the --plug|-p option to the preparser. For example, if I want to run repos clone with the javac plugin active, I would do something like this:

Temporary activation of a plugin
$ repobee -p javac repos clone [...]


Recall that a command in RepoBee follows the pattern repobee <category> <action> [args ...]. A common pitfall of temporary plugin activation is to forget to specify the category in the command, which is never implied by activating a plugin.

Example of incorrect and correct invocation of repos clone
# this is incorrect, as the `repos` category is missing
$ repobee -p javac clone [...]
# this is correct
$ repobee -p javac repos clone [...]

We recommend using the -p preparser option for plugins that you only want to activate from time to time, but you don’t necessarily want them active all the time.


You can specify the -p option multiple times to temporarily activate multiple plugins. That is to say, type repobee -p javac -p pylint [...] to activate both the javac and pylint plugins.

Persistent plugin activation and deactivation

To persistently activate or deactivate a plugin, RepoBee provides an activate action. Run repobee plugin activate, and follow the prompts to activate or deactivate your desired plugin(s).


Read the prompt at the top for how to activate/deactivate a plugin, just hovering over a plugin with the cursor and pressing enter does nothing.

We recommend activating plugins in this fashion if they are to be used indefinitely, such as plugins that add commands, or plugins that fundamentally change how RepoBee operates. For example, the gitlab plugin is a good candidate for persistent activation, as is the feedback plugin, while the junit4 plugin may be better suited for temporary activation.

As with the uninstall action, it’s possible to run the activate action non-interactively. For example, one can toggle the active-status of a single plugin like so.

Non-interactive toggling of the active-status of a single plugin
$ repobee plugin activate --plugin-name gitlab

If the gitlab plugin was not active prior to running activate non-interactively, it would now be active. If it was already active, it would now be deactivated.

Plugin configuration

Some plugins are configurable, meaning that they read values from the configuration file. To be able to configure a plugin with the config wizard command, the plugin must be active. It doesn’t matter if the plugin is temporarily or persistently activated. As an example, I can configure the javac plugin by running the config wizard like so.

$ repobee -p javac config wizard

Plugins typically use sections other than the repobee section of the configuration file, and you’ll find that new sections pop up in the config wizard when certain plugins are active.