Writing an Avocado plugin

What better way to understand how an Avocado plugin works than creating one? Let’s use another old time favorite for that, the “Print hello world” theme.

Code example

Let’s say you want to write a plugin that adds a new subcommand to the test runner, hello. This is how you’d do it:

from avocado.core.output import LOG_UI
from avocado.core.plugin_interfaces import CLICmd

class HelloWorld(CLICmd):

    name = 'hello'
    description = 'The classical Hello World! plugin example.'

    def run(self, config):

This plugins inherits from avocado.core.plugin_interfaces.CLICmd. This specific base class allows for the creation of new commands for the Avocado CLI tool. The only mandatory method to be implemented is run and it’s the plugin main entry point.

This plugin uses avocado.core.output.LOG_UI to produce the hello world output in the console.


Different loggers can be used in other contexts and for different purposes. One such example is avocado.core.output.LOG_JOB, which can be used to output to job log files when running a job.

Registering Plugins

Avocado makes use of the setuptools and its entry points to register and find Python objects. So, to make your new plugin visible to Avocado, you need to add to your setuptools based setup.py file something like:

from setuptools import setup

if __name__ == '__main__':
          description='Avocado Hello World CLI command',
              'avocado.plugins.cli.cmd': ['hello = hello:HelloWorld'],

Then, by running either $ python setup.py install or $ python setup.py develop your plugin should be visible to Avocado.


The plugin registry mentioned earlier, (setuptools and its entry points) is global to a given Python installation. Avocado uses the namespace prefix avocado.plugins. to avoid name clashes with other software. Now, inside Avocado itself, there’s no need keep using the avocado.plugins. prefix.

Take for instance, the Job Pre/Post plugins are defined on setup.py:

'avocado.plugins.job.prepost': [
   'jobscripts = avocado.plugins.jobscripts:JobScripts'

The setuptools entry point namespace is composed of the mentioned prefix avocado.plugins., which is is then followed by the Avocado plugin type, in this case, job.prepost.

Inside Avocado itself, the fully qualified name for a plugin is the plugin type, such as job.prepost concatenated to the name used in the entry point definition itself, in this case, jobscripts.

To summarize, still using the same example, the fully qualified Avocado plugin name is going to be job.prepost.jobscripts.

Plugin config files

Plugins can extend the list of config files parsed by Settings objects by dropping the individual config files into /etc/avocado/conf.d (linux/posix-way) or they can take advantages of the Python entry point using avocado.plugins.settings.

  1. /etc/avocado/conf.d:

In order to not disturb the main Avocado config file, those plugins, if they wish so, may install additional config files to /etc/avocado/conf.d/[pluginname].conf, that will be parsed after the system wide config file. Users can override those values as well at the local config file level. Considering the config for the hypothethical plugin salad:

base = ceasar
dressing = ceasar

If you want, you may change dressing in your config file by simply adding a [salad.core] new section in your local config file, and set a different value for dressing there.

  1. avocado.plugins.settings:

This entry-point uses avocado.core.plugin_interfaces.Settings-like object to extend the list of parsed files. It only accepts individual files, but you can use something like glob.glob("*.conf") to add all config files inside a directory.

You need to create the plugin (eg. my_plugin/settings.py):

from avocado.core.plugin_interfaces import Settings

class MyPluginSettings(Settings):
    def adjust_settings_paths(self, paths):

And register it in your setup.py entry-points:

from setuptools import setup
          'avocado.plugins.settings': [
              "my-plugin-settings = my_plugin.settings.MyPluginSettings",

Which extends the list of files to be parsed by settings object. Note this has to be executed early in the code so try to keep the required deps minimal (for example the avocado.core.settings.settings is not yet available).