How to write an Ark Core Plugin

In this guide, you will find the information which can enable you to write a proper Ark Core plugin, for use in your own Ark deployments; both in the case of Ark Core nodes and your own BridgeChain nodes.


Many components are required to have a proper environment setup for the development of your Ark Core plugin.

You can view instructions on how to setup your development environment in the cookbook for dev environment.

Plugin Skeleton

Make sure you are in the Ark Core folder cloned from the official GitHub repo.

Add a submodule for the plugin skeleton

cd plugins/
git submodule add -f
cd core-plugin-skeleton


This is when you make changes to the plugin skeleton.

Make sure to modify the default names for the files:

  • core-plugin-skeleton/ (folder name)
  • (header)
  • package.json (many fields)
  • lib/index.js (alias)
  • lib/defaults.js (exports)

The name of our plugin is demo-plugin. Make sure to change the name in your package.json accordingly. It is recommended to scope your packages with a prefix like @your-vendor/ to distinguish it from other npm packages. Check for more information.

We're also going to require BigNumber to demonstrate how to properly add dependencies to the plugin.

After having changed the name of the plugin, make sure to run lerna bootstrap to expose the package name for scoped package installation

lerna bootstrap


lerna bootstrap takes a long time! Don't get worried if it's doing its thing for a long time; that's normal.

Add your dependencies only to the specific plugin package

lerna add --scope=@arkecosystem/demo-plugin big-number --dev


Once everything is setup and configured, we can move on to developing the plugin.

The file we'll be writing our vendor code in is called demo.js and it's located in the lib/ folder of the plugin skeleton.


The sample code we will use for this demo is

let logger

module.exports = async (container) => {
  logger = await container.resolvePlugin('logger')

  return {
    log: function (message) {
      return {
        success: true
    exit: function() {'Exiting from the demo plugin')
      return {
        success: true

Before writing tests, it is important to properly setup the registration and deregistration of our plugin in the index.js file of the lib/ folder.

'use strict'

const demo = require('./demo')

 * The struct used by the plugin container.
 * @type {Object}
exports.plugin = {
  pkg: require('../package.json'),
  defaults: require('./defaults'),
  alias: 'demo-plugin',
  async register (container, options) {
    return await demo(container)
  async deregister (container, options) {
    return await container.resolvePlugin('demo-plugin').exit()


Testing is streamlined by the test-utils Ark Core package.

Before writing our jest testing suite, we will first setup the test environment in a file called setup.js under the existing __tests__ folder.

const container = require('@arkecosystem/core-container')
const containerHelper = require('@arkecosystem/core-test-utils/lib/helpers/container')


exports.setUp = async () => {
  await containerHelper.setUp({
    exclude: [

  return container

exports.tearDown = async () => {
  await container.tearDown()

In the __tests__ folder, we then write our jest testing suite in a file called demo.test.js.

const BigNumber = require('big-number')
const app = require('./setup')

beforeAll(async () => {
  container = await app.setUp()

afterAll(async () => {

describe('Demo Plugin', () => {
  it('should return successfully upon calling the log function', async () => {
    const result = container.resolvePlugin('demo-plugin')
      .log(`A message sent at ${BigNumber(new Date().getTime())}`)


Lastly, before running our tests, we need to include @arkecosystem/demo-plugin in the testnet configuration for it to load when running the suite.

This is done by changing the file packages/core-test-utils/config/testnet/plugins.js in the root of the core repository.

The plugin must be added to the end, as follows

module.exports = {
  '@arkecosystem/demo-plugin': {}

Finally, we are able to verify that our plugin functions correctly by invoking yarn test under the plugin's folder and monitoring the output generated by jest.


In the end, you should be able to write your own plugin for Ark Core, with full interoperability with the existing core packages and other dependencies that might be required for your project.

Last Updated: 10/29/2018, 5:17:07 AM