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Custom Plugins

Custom plugins allow you to extend the capabilities of the Profound.js low-code interface. They can be generic, similar to the plugins shipped with Profound.js, or specific to your business. Typically, an experienced Node.js developer or a 3rd party organization will write a reusable plugin, and then other developers at your company can use that plugin in a point-and-click manner to create applications.

Plugin File

A plugin is a Node.js module that exports a number of properties, including a generator function. For example:

// Logger Plugin (date-time-logger.js)
module.exports = {
  name: "date-time-logger",
  text: "Log Date/Time",
  category: "My Plugins", 
  help: "This action outputs the current date and time to the console.", 
  generator: function(answers) {
    return `console.log(new Date());`;

When you're working in the cloud, using the Profound.js Spaces environment, you must create a plugins directory at the root of your workspace, and save the plugin file there.

After adding a plugin, you should restart your server and refresh the IDE.

The plugin will then appear in the low-code interface:


Plugin Properties

You can export the following properties from your plugin file:

  • name – a unique name to identify the plugin; this name will be saved to the Rich Display JSON to identify the plugin when it is selected
  • text – the title of the plugin that will be visible to the user
  • defaultDescription - the default description to use if the user does not describe a step
  • category – plugins are categorized for convenience; choose an existing category name or provide a new name; if a new name is provided, a new category will be created
  • clientSide – setting this to true indicates that this is a client-side plugin and the generated code should execute on the client rather than the server
  • context - optionally restricts the plugin to a specific context; you can specify "rdf" for Rich Display File development or "api" for API development
  • structure – setting this to true indicates that this is a condition or loop structure that encompasses other steps in the routine
  • help – help text that should appear when the user clicks the ? icon on the dialog
  • questions – an array of questions to ask the user; see below
  • generator – a function that receives a list of the user's answers, as a JavaScript object keyed by question id's, and returns generated code in String format

Question Properties

Each question in the questions array is an object with the following possible properties:

  • id – unique id for the question; this id is used to save the answer to the Rich Display JSON file
  • text – the question text that the user actually sees
  • dynamicText - optional function that returns additional text dynamically based on other answers
  • type – question type; the following types are available:
    • textbox – free form textbox to capture the answer
    • textarea – multi-line input control
    • checkbox – allows the user to specify a true or false value
    • multi-select – allows the user to select one or more multiple values from a list of choices and optionally to type a value manually
    • dropdown – allows the user to select one choice from a list
    • combo-box – allows the user to select from a list or type in a value
    • browser-dropdown – a list of choices rendered using the SELECT tag in HTML
    • code-editor – allows the user write custom code
    • column-values – allows the user to specify a value for each table column
    • record-property-values – allows the user to specify a value for each record property
    • api-output-values - allows the user to specify a value for each API output property
    • screen-values – allows the user to specify a value for each screen field
    • join – allows the user to join multiple tables together
    • and-or – allows the user to select a value of AND or OR for a condition
    • ibmi-parm – allows the user to define an IBM i parameter
    • widget-preview – allows you to show a preview of a selected widget
  • required - set this to true if the user is required to answer this question
  • showOptional - set this to true to indicate to the user that this answer is optional
  • defaultValue – the value to prefill as a default
  • condition – if this question should only be asked based on answers to other questions, provide a function that receives answers, and returns a Boolean value to indicate whether this question should be asked
  • validation – a function that can return a validation message; it receives the answer as the first parameter and all answers as the second parameter
  • occurs – identifies this as a multi-occurrence question and specifies the maximum number of times the question can be asked
  • help – help text to associate with this question
  • inputType – specifies the type attribute for a textbox (e.g. “number”)
  • placeholder – specifies the placeholder text for a multi-select or a textbox question
  • parmType – specifies the IBM i parameter type, with valid values being: “program”, “service program”, “return value”
  • height – height of a code editor or textarea
  • language – code editor language
  • insertDynamic – allow the user to insert dynamic content into the editor based on low-code suggestions
  • dynamicFormat – an expression that specifies how dynamic content is inserted; the word “value” in the expression is replaced by the actual value selected by the user
  • dynamicSource – specify “widgets” to have the source be a list of widgets instead of the standard list of low-code suggestion items
  • dynamicFilter – specifies whether the list of suggestions should be filtered by “values”, “records”, or “lists”
  • singleSelection – specifies that a multi-select question only allows one selection
  • selectAll – set this to true to provide the ability to select all options in a multi-select question
  • freeForm – set this to true to specify that you can type your own value into a multi-select question
  • multiLine – set this to true to specify that the free form area of a multi-select question is a multi-line text area
  • search – set this to true to specify that a search box will be shown that allows the user to search the choices in a multi-select question
  • source – specifies the source for the choices in a multi-select question; valid values are:
    • columns – list of database table columns
    • comparison-types – list of comparison operators
    • connections – list of database connections the user has configured
    • criteria-snippets – selection criteria snippets for an SQL-based WHERE clause
    • css-classes – list of CSS classes defined within the currently loaded CSS files
    • endpoints – list of routes or endpoints the user has defined
    • files – list of files within the current workspace
    • grid-fields – fields in a grid
    • grid-input-fields – only input fields in a grid
    • grid-numeric-fields – only numeric fields in a grid
    • grids – list of grids defined within the Rich Display file
    • plugins – list of defined plugins
    • properties – list of widget properties
    • routines – current list of routines defined within the Rich Display file
    • screens – list of screens defined within the Rich Display file
    • tables – list of tables in the configured database
    • variables – list of variables captured from other steps
    • widgets – list of widgets on the screen
  • basedOn – specifies the id of a question on which the source is based on; for example, a list of columns can be based on a question that asks to select a database table
  • basedOnList - specifies the id of a question that asks for a list on which the source is based on
  • forOrderBy - specifies that a list of columns is for an "order by" selection with options for ascending and descending
  • collapsibleGroups – if the source provides a grouped list, this property determines if the groups should be collapsible
  • filter – filters the list of variables by classification, such as “values”, “records”, or “lists”
  • varTypes – an array of field/variable types to list; can include “display”, “work”, “global”, and “session”
  • captureInto – specifies whether the answer to this question should be captured as a “global” property or a “work” variable
  • captureType – specifies whether the captured variables are captured as “values”, “records”, or “lists”
  • captureValuesBasedOn – when capturing records or lists of records, specifies the id of the question which would provide properties for those records
  • criteriaSettings – when set to true, specifies that the multi-select question should present criteria settings
  • extension – when the source is “files”, specifies which file extension to filter by (e.g. ".json")
  • showGridsAsLists – when set to true, include Rich Display file grids for for “variables” source with a filter of “lists”
  • isForList – specifies that a record-property-values question is collecting values for a list


Have questions about this topic? Ask for help on our Profound.js Spaces Discussion Forum.

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