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Creating plugins

A plugin is a git repo, with a couple executable scripts, to support versioning another language or tool. These scripts are run when list-all, install or uninstall commands are run. You can set or unset env vars and do anything required to setup the environment for the tool.

Required scripts

  • bin/list-all - lists all installable versions
  • bin/install - installs the specified version

All scripts except bin/list-all will have access to the following env vars to act upon:

  • ASDF_INSTALL_TYPE - version or ref
  • ASDF_INSTALL_VERSION - if ASDF_INSTALL_TYPE is version then this will be the version number. Else it will be the git ref that is passed. Might point to a tag/commit/branch on the repo.
  • ASDF_INSTALL_PATH - the dir where the it has been installed (or should be installed in case of the bin/install script)

These additional environment variables the bin/install script will also have accesss to:

  • ASDF_CONCURRENCY - the number of cores to use when compiling the source code. Useful for setting make -j.


Must print a string with a space-separated list of versions. Example output would be the following:

1.0.1 1.0.2 1.3.0 1.4

Note that the newest version should be listed last so it appears closer to the user's prompt. This is helpful since the list-all command prints each version on it's own line. If there are many versions it's possible the early versions will be off screen.

If versions are being pulled from releases page on a website it's recommended to not sort the versions if at all possible. Often the versions are already in the correct order or, in reverse order, in which case something like tac should suffice. If you must sort versions manually you cannot rely on sort -V since it is not supported on OSX. An alternate sort function like this is a better choice.


This script should install the version, in the path mentioned in ASDF_INSTALL_PATH.

The install script should exit with a status of 0 when the installation is successful. If the installation fails the script should exit with any non-zero exit status.

If possible the script should only place files in the ASDF_INSTALL_PATH directory once the build and installation of the tool is deemed successful by the install script. asdf checks for the existence of the ASDF_INSTALL_PATH directory in order to determine if that version of the tool is installed. If the ASDF_INSTALL_PATH directory is populated at the beginning of the installation process other asdf commands run in other terminals during the installation may consider that version of the tool installed, even when it is not fully installed.

Optional scripts


List executables for the specified version of the tool. Must print a string with a space-separated list of dir paths that contain executables. The paths must be relative to the install path passed. Example output would be:

bin tools veggies

This will instruct asdf to create shims for the files in <install-path>/bin, <install-path>/tools and <install-path>/veggies

If this script is not specified, asdf will look for the bin dir in an installation and create shims for those.


Setup the env to run the binaries in the package.


Get the executable path for the specified version of the tool. Must print a string with the relative executable path. This allows the plugin to conditionally override the shim's specified executable path, otherwise return the default path specified by the shim.

  plugin/bin/exec-path <install-path> <command> <executable-path>

Example Call:
  ~/.asdf/plugins/foo/bin/exec-path "~/.asdf/installs/foo/1.0" "foo" "bin/foo"



Uninstalls a specific version of a tool.


Register additional setter files for this plugin. Must print a string with a space-separated list of filenames.

.ruby-version .rvmrc

Note: This will only apply for users who have enabled the legacy_version_file option in their ~/.asdfrc.


This can be used to further parse the legacy file found by asdf. If parse-legacy-file isn't implemented, asdf will simply cat the file to determine the version. The script will be passed the file path as its first argument.

Custom shim templates

PLEASE use this feature only if absolutely required

asdf allows custom shim templates. For an executable called foo, if there's a shims/foo file in the plugin, then asdf will copy that file instead of using it's standard shim template.

This must be used wisely. For now AFAIK, it's only being used in the Elixir plugin, because an executable is also read as an Elixir file apart from just being an executable. Which makes it not possible to use the standard bash shim.

**Important: Shim metadata **

If you create a custom shim, be sure to include a comment like the following (replacing your plugin name) in it:

# asdf-plugin: plugin_name

asdf uses this asdf-plugin metadata to remove unused shims when uninstalling.

Testing plugins

asdf contains the plugin-test command to test your plugin. You can use it as follows

asdf plugin-test <plugin-name> <plugin-url> [test-command]

The two first arguments are required. A command can also be passed to check it runs correctly. For example to test the NodeJS plugin, we could run

asdf plugin-test nodejs 'node --version'

We strongly recommend you test your plugin on TravisCI, to make sure it works on both Linux and OSX.

Here is a sample .travis.yml file, customize it to your needs

language: c
script: asdf plugin-test nodejs 'node --version'
  - git clone asdf
  - . asdf/
  - linux
  - osx

GitHub API Rate Limiting

If your plugin's list-all depends on accessing the GitHub API, make sure you provide an Authorization token when accessing it, otherwise your tests might fail due to rate limiting.

To do so, create a new personal token with only public_repo access.

Then on your build settings add a secure environment variable for it named something like GITHUB_API_TOKEN. And DO NOT EVER publish your token in your code.

Finally, add something like the following to bin/list-all

cmd="curl -s"
if [ -n "$GITHUB_API_TOKEN" ]; then
 cmd="$cmd -H 'Authorization: token $GITHUB_API_TOKEN'"

cmd="$cmd $releases_path"

Submitting plugins to the official plugins repository

asdf can easily install plugins by specifying the plugin repository url, e.g. plugin-add my-plugin

To make it easier on your users, you can add your plugin to the official plugins repository to have your plugin listed and easily installable using a shorter command, e.g. asdf plugin-add my-plugin.

Follow the instruction at the plugins repository: asdf-vm/asdf-plugins.