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proto v0.7 - First step towards plugins

· 3 min read
Miles Johnson
Founder, developer

With this release, we're very excited to announce our initial support for plugins in proto!

Initial plugins architecture

Last week we posted an RFC for a new plugins architecture for proto. We believe plugins will unlock an array of capabilities for proto, will enable the community to add their own custom integrations, and the ability for tools to be managed within proto's toolchain.

We were very excited for this RFC, and couldn't wait, so we spent the last week prototyping implementations. We got the basics of downloading, installing, and enabling a plugin at runtime working incredibly fast. However, implementing the entire RFC in 1 release would have taken too long, and we wanted to avoid dropping such a large feature in a single release. Because of this, we've only implemented TOML plugins in this release, and will implement WASM plugins in a future release.

TOML plugins

You may be asking yourself, aren't plugins typically code? For the most part, yes, but after building a "version manager" for multiple languages, we've come to the realization that many tools can simply be supported through a basic configuration file.

At minimum, tools require the following pieces to be managed:

  • Where and how to download the tool
  • How to install/unpack the tool
  • How to resolve available versions to install
  • How to execute the tool's binary

All 4 of these pieces can be solved with a configuration file, and as such, we opted to support a TOML schema based plugin as an alternative to a code based plugin. The other benefits of a schema is that it's easy to write, read, and maintain, doesn't require any code, and doesn't force you into a specific programming language.

To demonstate how this plugin works, here's an example of a moon TOML schema.

name = "moon"
type = "cli"

download-file = "moon-{arch}-unknown-linux-{libc}"

download-file = "moon-{arch}-apple-darwin"

download-file = "moon-{arch}-pc-windows-msvc.exe"

download-url = "{version}/{download_file}"

git-url = ""

Very simple right? With this, you can now configure moon as a plugin within proto.

moon = "1.2.0"

moon = "source:./path/to/moon-schema.toml"

And ultimately manage every version of moon through proto! Because moon is now a plugin, every command in proto that accepts a <tool> argument, will now accept moon as a valid tool.

$ proto install moon 1.2.0
$ proto list-remote moon
$ proto use

Learn more about TOML plugins in the official docs!

Cleaning improvements

Last week we introduced the proto clean command that will automatically delete stale and unused tools from the toolchain. This week we've implemented a few improvements to the cleaning process:

  • Added a --yes option to proto clean, allowing prompts to be bypassed.
  • Added a auto-clean setting to ~/.proto/config.toml, enabling automatic cleaning when proto use is ran.