Creating GitHub CLI extensions

Learn how to share new CLI de GitHub commands with other users by creating custom extensions for CLI de GitHub.

About CLI de GitHub extensions

Las extensiones del CLI de GitHub son comandos personalizados del CLI de GitHub que cualquiera puede crear y utilizar. For more information about how to use CLI de GitHub extensions, see "Using CLI de GitHub extensions."

You need a repository for each extension that you create. The repository name must start with gh-. The rest of the repository name is the name of the extension. The repository must have an executable file at its root with the same name as the repository or a set of precompiled binary executables attached to a release.

Note: When relying on an executable script, we recommend using a bash script because bash is a widely available interpreter. You may use non-bash scripts, but the user must have the necessary interpreter installed in order to use the extension. If you would prefer to not rely on users having interpreters installed, consider a precompiled extension.

Creating an interpreted extension with gh extension create

Note: Running gh extension create with no arguments will start an interactive wizard.

You can use the gh extension create command to create a project for your extension, including a bash script that contains some starter code.

  1. Set up a new extension by using the gh extension create subcommand. Replace EXTENSION-NAME with the name of your extension.

    gh extension create EXTENSION-NAME
  2. Follow the printed instructions to finalize and optionally publish your extension.

Creating a precompiled extension in Go with gh extension create

You can use the --precompiled=go argument to create a Go-based project for your extension, including Go scaffolding, workflow scaffolding, and starter code.

  1. Set up a new extension by using the gh extension create subcommand. Replace EXTENSION-NAME with the name of your extension and specify --precompiled=go.

    gh extension create --precompiled=go EXTENSION-NAME
  2. Follow the printed instructions to finalize and optionally publish your extension.

Creating a non-Go precompiled extension with gh extension create

You can use the --precompiled=other argument to create a project for your non-Go precompiled extension, including workflow scaffolding.

  1. Set up a new extension by using the gh extension create subcommand. Replace EXTENSION-NAME with the name of your extension and specify --precompiled=other.

    gh extension create --precompiled=other EXTENSION-NAME
  2. Add some initial code for your extension in your compiled language of choice.

  3. Fill in script/build.sh with code to build your extension to ensure that your extension can be built automatically.

  4. Follow the printed instructions to finalize and optionally publish your extension.

Creating an interpreted extension manually

  1. Create a local directory called gh-EXTENSION-NAME for your extension. Replace EXTENSION-NAME with the name of your extension. For example, gh-whoami.

  2. In the directory that you created, add an executable file with the same name as the directory.

    Note: Make sure that your file is executable. On Unix, you can execute chmod +x file_name in the command line to make file_name executable. On Windows, you can run git init -b main, git add file_name, then git update-index --chmod=+x file_name.

  3. Write your script in the executable file. For example:

    #!/usr/bin/env bash
    set -e
    exec gh api user --jq '"You are @\(.login) (\(.name))."'
    
  4. From your directory, install the extension as a local extension.

    gh extension install .
  5. Verify that your extension works. Replace EXTENSION-NAME with the name of your extension. For example, whoami.

    gh EXTENSION-NAME
  6. From your directory, create a repository to publish your extension. Replace EXTENSION-NAME with the name of your extension.

    git init -b main
    git add . && git commit -m "initial commit"
    gh repo create gh-EXTENSION-NAME --source=. --public --push
  7. Optionally, to help other users discover your extension, add the repository topic gh-extension. This will make the extension appear on the gh-extension topic page. For more information about how to add a repository topic, see "Classifying your repository with topics."

Tips for writing interpreted CLI de GitHub extensions

Handling arguments and flags

All command line arguments following a gh my-extension-name command will be passed to the extension script. In a bash script, you can reference arguments with $1, $2, etc. You can use arguments to take user input or to modify the behavior of the script.

For example, this script handles multiple flags. When the script is called with the -h or --help flag, the script prints help text instead of continuing execution. When the script is called with the --name flag, the script sets the next value after the flag to name_arg. When the script is called with the --verbose flag, the script prints a different greeting.

#!/usr/bin/env bash
set -e

verbose=""
name_arg=""
while [ $# -gt 0 ]; do
  case "$1" in
  --verbose)
    verbose=1
    ;;
  --name)
    name_arg="$2"
    shift
    ;;
  -h|--help)
    echo "Add help text here."
    exit 0
    ;;
  esac
  shift
done

if [ -z "$name_arg" ]
then
  echo "You haven't told us your name."
elif [ -z "$verbose" ]
then
  echo "Hi $name_arg"
else
  echo "Hello and welcome, $name_arg"
fi

Calling core commands in non-interactive mode

Some CLI de GitHub core commands will prompt the user for input. When scripting with those commands, a prompt is often undesirable. To avoid prompting, supply the necessary information explicitly via arguments.

For example, to create an issue programmatically, specify the title and body:

gh issue create --title "My Title" --body "Issue description"

Fetching data programatically

Many core commands support the --json flag for fetching data programatically. For example, to return a JSON object listing the number, title, and mergeability status of pull requests:

gh pr list --json number,title,mergeStateStatus

If there is not a core command to fetch specific data from GitHub, you can use the gh api command to access the GitHub API. For example, to fetch information about the current user:

gh api user

All commands that output JSON data also have options to filter that data into something more immediately usable by scripts. For example, to get the current user's name:

gh api user --jq '.name'

For more information, see gh help formatting.

Creating a precompiled extension manually

  1. Create a local directory called gh-EXTENSION-NAME for your extension. Replace EXTENSION-NAME with the name of your extension. For example, gh-whoami.

  2. In the directory you created, add some source code. For example:

    package main
    import (
      "github.com/cli/go-gh"
      "fmt"
    )
    
    func main() {
      args := []string{"api", "user", "--jq", `"You are @\(.login) (\(.name))"` }
      stdOut, _, err := gh.Exec(args...)
      if err != nil {
        fmt.Println(err)
        return
      }
      fmt.Println(stdOut.String())
    }
    
  3. From your directory, install the extension as a local extension.

    gh extension install .
  4. Build your code. For example, with Go, replacing YOUR-USERNAME with your GitHub username:

    go mod init github.com/YOUR-USERNAME/gh-whoami
    go mod tidy
    go build
  5. Verify that your extension works. Replace EXTENSION-NAME with the name of your extension. For example, whoami.

    gh EXTENSION-NAME
  6. From your directory, create a repository to publish your extension. Replace EXTENSION-NAME with the name of your extension.

    Note: Be careful not to commit the binary produced by your compilation step to version control.

    git init -b main
      echo "gh-EXTENSION-NAME" >> .gitignore
      git add main.go go.* .gitignore && git commit -m'Initial commit'
      gh repo create "gh-EXTENSION-NAME"
  7. Create a release to share your precompiled extension with others. Compile for each platform you want to support, attaching each binary to a release as an asset. Binary executables attached to releases must follow a naming convention and have a suffix of OS-ARCHITECTURE[EXTENSION].

    For example, an extension named whoami compiled for Windows 64bit would have the name gh-whoami-windows-amd64.exe while the same extension compiled for Linux 32bit would have the name gh-whoami-linux-386. To see an exhaustive list of OS and architecture combinations recognized by gh, see this source code.

    Note: For your extension to run properly on Windows, its asset file must have a .exe extension. No extension is needed for other operating systems.

    Releases can be created from the command line. For example:

    git tag v1.0.0
    git push origin v1.0.0
    GOOS=windows GOARCH=amd64 go build -o gh-<em>EXTENSION-NAME</em>-windows-amd64.exe
    GOOS=linux GOARCH=amd64 go build -o gh-<em>EXTENSION-NAME</em>-linux-amd64
    GOOS=darwin GOARCH=amd64 go build -o gh-<em>EXTENSION-NAME</em>-darwin-amd64
    gh release create v1.0.0 ./*amd64*
    
    
  8. Optionally, to help other users discover your extension, add the repository topic gh-extension. This will make the extension appear on the gh-extension topic page. For more information about how to add a repository topic, see "Classifying your repository with topics."

Tips for writing precompiled CLI de GitHub extensions

Automating releases

Consider adding the gh-extension-precompile action to a workflow in your project. This action will automatically produce cross-compiled Go binaries for your extension and supplies build scaffolding for non-Go precompiled extensions.

Using CLI de GitHub features from Go-based extensions

Consider using go-gh, a Go library that exposes pieces of gh functionality for use in extensions.

Next steps

To see more examples of CLI de GitHub extensions, look at repositories with the gh-extension topic.

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