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Since v3.4.0, Tutor comes with a plugin system that allows anyone to customise the deployment of an Open edX platform very easily. The vision behind this plugin system is that users should not have to fork the Tutor repository to customise their deployments. For instance, if you have created a new application that integrates with Open edX, you should not have to describe how to manually patch the platform settings, or *.env.json files. Instead, you can create a "tutor-myapp" plugin for Tutor. Then, users will start using your application in three simple steps:

# 1) Install the plugin
pip install tutor-myapp
# 2) Enable the plugin
tutor plugins enable myapp
# 3) Restart the platform
tutor local quickstart


List installed plugins:

tutor plugins list

Enable/disable a plugin:

tutor plugins enable myplugin
tutor plugins disable myplugin

After enabling or disabling a plugin, the environment should be re-generated with:

tutor config save

API (v0)

Note: The API for developing Tutor plugins is still considered unstable: profound changes should be expected for some time.

There are two mechanisms by which a plugin can integrate with Tutor: patches and hooks. Patches affect the rendered environment templates, while hooks are actions that are run during the lifetime of an Open edX platform. A plugin indicates which templates it patches, and which hooks it needs to run. A plugin can also affect the project configuration by adding new values and modifying existing values.


A plugin is a regular python package with a specific entrypoint: tutor.plugin.v0.


from setuptools import setup
    entry_points={"tutor.plugin.v0": ["myplugin = myplugin.plugin"]},

The myplugin.plugin python module should then declare a few attributes that will define its behaviour.


The config attribute is used to modify existing and add new configuration parameters:

  • config["add"] are key/values that should be added to the user-specific config.yml configuration. Add there passwords, secret keys and other values that do not have a default value.
  • config["defaults"] are default key/values for this plugin. These values will not be added to the config.yml user file unless users override them manually with tutor config save --set ....
  • config["set"] are existing key/values that should be modified. Be very careful what you add there! Plugins may define conflicting values for some parameters.
"set" and "default" key names will be automatically prefixed with the plugin name, in upper case.


config = {
    "add": {
        "SECRET_KEY": "{{ 8|random_string }}"
    "defaults": {
        "DOCKER_IMAGE": "username/imagename:latest",
    "set": {
        "MASTER_PASSWORD": "h4cked",

This configuration from the "myplugin" plugin will set the following values:

  • MYPLUGIN_SECRET_KEY: an 8-character random string will be generated and stored in the user configuration.
  • MYPLUGIN_DOCKER_IMAGE: this value will by default not be stored in config.yml, but tutor config printvalue MYPLUGIN_DOCKER_IMAGE will print username/imagename:latest.
  • MASTER_PASSWORD will be set to h4cked. Needless to say, plugin developers should avoid doing this.


The Tutor templates include calls to {{ patch("patchname") }} in many different places. Plugins can add content in these places by adding values to the patches attribute.

The patches attribute can be a callable function instead of a static attribute.


patches = {
    "local-docker-compose-services": """redis:
image: redis:latest"""

This will add a Redis instance to the services run with tutor local commands.


Hooks are actions that are run during the lifetime of the platform. Each hook has a different specification.


The services that will be run during initialisation should be added to the init hook, for instance for database creation and migrations.


hooks = {
  "init": ["myservice1", "myservice2"]

During initialisation, "myservice1" and "myservice2" will be run in sequence with the commands defined in the templates myplugin/hooks/myservice1/init and myplugin/hooks/myservice2/init.


This hook will be executed just before the init hooks. Otherwise, the specs are identical. This is useful for creating databases or other resources that will be required during initialisation, for instance.


This is a hook that will be run to build a docker image for the requested service.


hooks = {
    "build-image": {"myimage": "myimage:latest"}

With this hook, users will be able to build the myimage:latest docker image by running:

tutor images build myimage


tutor images build all

This assumes that there is a Dockerfile file in the myplugin/build/myimage subfolder of the plugin templates directory.


This hook allows pulling/pushing images from/to a docker registry.


hooks = {
    "remote-image": {"myimage": "myimage:latest"},

With this hook, users will be able to pull and push the myimage:latest docker image by running:

    tutor images pull myimage
    tutor images push myimage


    tutor images pull all
    tutor images push all


In order to define plugin-specific hooks, a plugin should also have a template directory that includes the plugin hooks. The templates attribute should point to that directory.


import os
templates = templates = os.path.join(os.path.abspath(os.path.dirname(__file__)), "templates")

With the above declaration, you can store plugin-specific templates in the templates/myplugin folder next to the file.

Creating a new plugin

Creating a new plugin for Tutor is not so hard! You can get started with the tutor plugin cookiecutter:

pip install cookiecutter

Existing plugins

  • Course discovery: Deploy an API for interacting with your course catalog
  • Ecommerce: Sell courses and products on your Open edX platform
  • Figures: Visualize daily stats about course engagement
  • MinIO: S3 emulator for object storage and scalable Open edX deployment.
  • Xqueue: for external grading
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