The Gerrit server functionality can be extended by installing plugins. This page describes how plugins for Gerrit can be developed.

Depending on how tightly the extension code is coupled with the Gerrit server code, there is a distinction between plugins and extensions.

A plugin in Gerrit is tightly coupled code that runs in the same JVM as Gerrit. It has full access to all server internals. Plugins are tightly coupled to a specific major.minor server version and may require source code changes to compile against a different server version.

An extension in Gerrit runs inside of the same JVM as Gerrit in the same way as a plugin, but has limited visibility to the server’s internals. The limited visibility reduces the extension’s dependencies, enabling it to be compatible across a wider range of server versions.

Most of this documentation refers to either type as a plugin.

Getting started

To get started with the development of a plugin there are two recommended ways:

  1. use the Gerrit Plugin Maven archetype to create a new plugin project:

    With the Gerrit Plugin Maven archetype you can create a skeleton for a plugin project.

    mvn archetype:generate \
        -DarchetypeArtifactId=gerrit-plugin-archetype \
        -DarchetypeVersion=2.5-SNAPSHOT \ \

    Maven will ask for additional properties and then create the plugin in the current directory. To change the default property values answer n when Maven asks to confirm the properties configuration. It will then ask again for all properties including those with predefined default values.

  2. clone the sample helloworld plugin:

    This is a Maven project that adds an SSH command to Gerrit to print out a hello world message. It can be taken as an example to develop an own plugin.

    $ git clone

    When starting from this example one should take care to adapt the Gerrit-ApiVersion in the pom.xml to the version of Gerrit for which the plugin is developed. If the plugin is developed for a released Gerrit version (no SNAPSHOT version) then the URL for the gerrit-api-repository in the pom.xml needs to be changed to


There are two different API formats offered against which plugins can be developed:


A stable but thin interface. Suitable for extensions that need to be notified of events, but do not require tight coupling to the internals of Gerrit. Extensions built against this API can expect to be binary compatible across a wide range of server versions.


The complete internals of the Gerrit server, permitting a plugin to tightly couple itself and provide additional functionality that is not possible as an extension. Plugins built against this API are expected to break at the source code level between every major.minor Gerrit release. A plugin that compiles against 2.5 will probably need source code level changes to work with 2.6, 2.7, and so on.


Plugins may provide optional description information with standard manifest fields:

Implementation-Title: Example plugin showing examples
Implementation-Version: 1.0
Implementation-Vendor: Example, Inc.


Plugins using the tightly coupled gerrit-plugin-api.jar must declare this API dependency in the manifest to gain access to server internals. If no Gerrit-ApiType is specified the stable extension API will be assumed. This may cause ClassNotFoundExceptions when loading a plugin that needs the plugin API.

Gerrit-ApiType: plugin

Explicit Registration

Plugins that use explicit Guice registration must name the Guice modules in the manifest. Up to three modules can be named in the manifest. Gerrit-Module supplies bindings to the core server; Gerrit-SshModule supplies SSH commands to the SSH server (if enabled); Gerrit-HttpModule supplies servlets and filters to the HTTP server (if enabled). If no modules are named automatic registration will be performed by scanning all classes in the plugin JAR for @Listen and @Export("") annotations.

Gerrit-Module:     tld.example.project.CoreModuleClassName
Gerrit-SshModule:  tld.example.project.SshModuleClassName
Gerrit-HttpModule: tld.example.project.HttpModuleClassName

Reload Method

If a plugin holds an exclusive resource that must be released before loading the plugin again (for example listening on a network port or acquiring a file lock) the manifest must declare Gerrit-ReloadMode to be restart. Otherwise the preferred method of reload will be used, as it enables the server to hot-patch an updated plugin with no down time.

Gerrit-ReloadMode: restart

In either mode (restart or reload) any plugin or extension can be updated without restarting the Gerrit server. The difference is how Gerrit handles the upgrade:


The old plugin is completely stopped. All registrations of SSH commands and HTTP servlets are removed. All registrations of any extension points are removed. All registered LifecycleListeners have their stop() method invoked in reverse order. The new plugin is started, and registrations are made from the new plugin. There is a brief window where neither the old nor the new plugin is connected to the server. This means SSH commands and HTTP servlets will return not found errors, and the plugin will not be notified of events that occurred during the restart.


The new plugin is started. Its LifecycleListeners are permitted to perform their start() methods. All SSH and HTTP registrations are atomically swapped out from the old plugin to the new plugin, ensuring the server never returns a not found error. All extension point listeners are atomically swapped out from the old plugin to the new plugin, ensuring no events are missed (however some events may still route to the old plugin if the swap wasn’t complete yet). The old plugin is stopped.

To reload/restart a plugin the plugin reload command can be used.


Each plugin is loaded into its own ClassLoader, isolating plugins from each other. A plugin or extension inherits the Java runtime and the Gerrit API chosen by Gerrit-ApiType (extension or plugin) from the hosting server.

Plugins are loaded from a single JAR file. If a plugin needs additional libraries, it must include those dependencies within its own JAR. Plugins built using Maven may be able to use the shade plugin to package additional dependencies. Relocating (or renaming) classes should not be necessary due to the ClassLoader isolation.

SSH Commands

Plugins may provide commands that can be accessed through the SSH interface (extensions do not have this option).

Command implementations must extend the base class SshCommand:

class PrintHello extends SshCommand {
  protected abstract void run() {

If no Guice modules are declared in the manifest, SSH commands may use auto-registration by providing an @Export annotation:

class PrintHello extends SshCommand {
  protected abstract void run() {

If explicit registration is being used, a Guice module must be supplied to register the SSH command and declared in the manifest with the Gerrit-SshModule attribute:

class MyCommands extends PluginCommandModule {
  protected void configureCommands() {

For a plugin installed as name helloworld, the command implemented by PrintHello class will be available to users as:

$ ssh -p 29418 helloworld print

HTTP Servlets

Plugins or extensions may register additional HTTP servlets, and wrap them with HTTP filters.

Servlets may use auto-registration to declare the URL they handle:

import javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse;
class HelloServlet extends HttpServlet {
  protected void doGet(HttpServletRequest req, HttpServletResponse res) throws IOException {

The auto registration only works for standard servlet mappings like /foo or /foo/*. Regex style bindings must use a Guice ServletModule to register the HTTP servlets and declare it explicitly in the manifest with the Gerrit-HttpModule attribute:

class MyWebUrls extends ServletModule {
  protected void configureServlets() {

For a plugin installed as name helloworld, the servlet implemented by HelloServlet class will be available to users as:

$ curl

Data Directory

Plugins can request a data directory with a @PluginData File dependency. A data directory will be created automatically by the server in $site_path/data/$plugin_name and passed to the plugin.

Plugins can use this to store any data they want.

MyType(@PluginData myDir) {
  new FileInputStream(new File(myDir, "my.config"));


If a plugin does not register a filter or servlet to handle URLs /Documentation/* or /static/*, the core Gerrit server will automatically export these resources over HTTP from the plugin JAR.

Static resources under static/ directory in the JAR will be available as /plugins/helloworld/static/resource.

Documentation files under Documentation/ directory in the JAR will be available as /plugins/helloworld/Documentation/resource.

Documentation may be written in Markdown style if the file name ends with .md. Gerrit will automatically convert Markdown to HTML if accessed with extension .html.

Within the Markdown documentation files macros can be used that allow to write documentation with reasonably accurate examples that adjust automatically based on the installation.

The following macros are supported:

Macro Replacement


name of the plugin


Gerrit Web URL


SSH Host


SSH Port

The macros will be replaced when the documentation files are rendered from Markdown to HTML.

Macros that start with \ such as \@KEEP@ will render as @KEEP@ even if there is an expansion for KEEP in the future.

Automatic Index

If a plugin does not handle its / URL itself, Gerrit will redirect clients to the plugin’s /Documentation/index.html. Requests for /Documentation/ (bare directory) will also redirect to /Documentation/index.html.

If neither resource Documentation/index.html or Documentation/ exists in the plugin JAR, Gerrit will automatically generate an index page for the plugin’s documentation tree by scanning every *.md and *.html file in the Documentation/ directory.

For any discovered Markdown (*.md) file, Gerrit will parse the header of the file and extract the first level one title. This title text will be used as display text for a link to the HTML version of the page.

For any discovered HTML (*.html) file, Gerrit will use the name of the file, minus the *.html extension, as the link text. Any hyphens in the file name will be replaced with spaces.

If a discovered file name beings with cmd- it will be clustered into a Commands section of the generated index page. All other files are clustered under a Documentation section.

Some optional information from the manifest is extracted and displayed as part of the index page, if present in the manifest:

Field Source Attribute









API Version



Compiled plugins and extensions can be deployed to a running Gerrit server using the plugin install command.

Plugins can also be copied directly into the server’s directory at $site_path/plugins/$name.jar. The name of the JAR file, minus the .jar extension, will be used as the plugin name. Unless disabled, servers periodically scan this directory for updated plugins. The time can be adjusted by plugins.checkFrequency.

For disabling plugins the plugin remove command can be used.

Disabled plugins can be re-enabled using the plugin enable command.

Part of Gerrit Code Review