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Plugins Overview

Plugins are the integration point between the Talk core code and custom functionality. We provide methods to inject behavior into the server side and the client side application to affect different parts of the application life cycle.

Server and Client Plugins

When you’re adding a plugin to Talk, you can specify it in the client and/or the server section. If you only want to enable the server side component of a plugin, you simply only specify the plugin in the server section. If you only want the client side plugin, the client section.

Plugins listed in the Plugins Directory will indicate if they have/support a client/server plugin, and should be activated accordingly.

Plugin Registration

In order for a plugin to be active in a Talk install, it must be registered. The parsing order for the plugin registration is as follows:

  • TALK_PLUGINS_JSON environment variable
  • plugins.json file
  • plugins.default.json file

If you need to “disable all plugins”, you can simply provide {} as the contents of TALK_PLUGINS_JSON or the plugins.json.

The format for this is thus:

  "server": [

Where we have a server key with an array of plugins that match the folder name in the plugins/ folder. For example, the above config would require a plugin from plugins/people, which must provide a index.js file that returns an object that matches the Plugin Specification.

If the package is external (available on NPM) you can specify the string for the version by using an object instead, for example:

  "server": [
    {"people": "^1.2.0"}

External plugins can be resolved by running:

./bin/cli plugins reconcile

This achieves two things:

  1. It will traverse into local plugin folders and install their dependencies. Note that if the plugin is already installed and available in the node_modules folder, it will not be fetched again unless there is a version mismatch. This will result in the project package.json and yarn.lock files to be modified, this is normal as this ensures that repeated deployments (with the same config) will have the same config, these changes should not be committed to source control.
  2. It will seek out dependencies that are listed in the object notation and try to install them from npm.

Plugin Dependencies

You may also include additional external dependencies in your local packages by specifying a package.json at your plugin root which will result in a node_modules folder being generated at the plugin root with your specific dependencies.

Deployment Solutions

Plugins can be deployed with a production instance of Talk.


Source deployments can just modify the plugins.json file and include any local plugins into the plugins/ directory. After including the config, you need to reconcile the plugins and build the static assets:

# get plugin dependencies and remote plugins
./bin/cli plugins reconcile

# build static assets (including enabled client side plugins)
yarn build

Then the application can be started as is.


To deploy customized plugins to a production instance of Talk, we recommend using the Docker onbuild strategy outlined below.

If you deploy using Docker, you can extend from the *-onbuild image, an example Dockerfile for your project could be:

FROM coralproject/talk:4-onbuild

Establish a private repository for your instance that includes the following:

  • a plugins.json file listing the plugin requirements
  • a plugins directory containing any other local plugins that should be included.
  • a Dockerfile as outlined above

Git submodules can also be used to point to plugin directories that might be outside your primary repository.

Onbuild triggers will execute when the image is building with your custom configuration and will ensure that the image is ready to use by building all assets inside the image as well.

Once built, you can deploy the docker image to your architecture by tagging the image and including it in your docker-compose.yml.

For more information on the onbuild image, refer to the Installation from Docker documentation.


Recipes are plugin templates provided by the Coral Core team. Developers can use these recipes to build their own plugins. You can find all the Talk recipes here: