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Creating a Local Plugin

If a plugin is only relevant to your specific use-case, or if you’re developing a plugin and want a simpler workflow, a locally defined plugin is a convenient way to create and manage your plugin code.

Project structure for a local plugin

Place the code in the plugins folder in the root of your project like this:

The plugin also needs to be added to your gatsby-config.js, because there is no auto-detection of plugins. It can be added alongside any other 3rd party Gatsby plugins already included in your config.

For the plugin to be discovered when you run gatsby develop, the plugin’s root folder name needs to match the name used in the gatsby-config.js (not the name it goes by in your package.json file). For example, in the above structure, the correct way to load the plugin is:

Then the plugin can begin to hook into Gatsby through Node and SSR APIs.

Developing a local plugin that is outside your project

Your plugin doesn’t have to be in your project in order to be tested or worked on. If you’d like to decouple your plugin from your site you can follow one of the methods described below. This is a useful thing to do if you want to publish the plugin as its own package, or test/develop a forked version of a community authored plugin.

To get started developing a plugin outside of your site’s root folder, you can quickly generate one using gatsby new with the starter for plugins:

Using require.resolve and a filepath

Including a plugins folder is not the only way to reference a local plugin. Alternatively, you can include a plugin in your gatsby-config.js file by directly referencing its path (relative to the gatsby-config.js file) with require.

You can use npm link or yarn link to reference a package from another location on your machine.

By running npm link ../path/to/my-plugin in the root of your Gatsby site, your computer will create a symlink to your package.

This is a similar process to setting up yarn workspaces for development with Gatsby themes (which is the recommended approach for developing themes). You can read how to setup a site in this manner in the Building a Theme guide.

Note: See an example of using a local plugin from the plugins folder, with require.resolve, and npm link in this example repository.

Compilation and processing with Babel

Like all gatsby-* files, the code is not processed by Babel. If you want to use JavaScript syntax which isn’t supported by your version of Node.js, you can place the files in a src subfolder and build them to the plugin folder root.

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