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Version: v2.1.8

Creating a Package

At some point, you might want to share your snippets with others, and the best way to do so is by creating a package!. Luckily, packages are regular match files with some metadata. So if you already created some custom matches, then you have the necessary skills to create a custom package!

In this section, we are going to discuss the different ways in which you can create a package and share it with other people. We'll cover how to publish it on the Espanso Hub, which is the recommended way to share a package publicly, but we are also going to discuss how to share it privately, for example with your company's team.

Prerequisites

This guide assumes you are comfortable working with YAML match files, git and Markdown. If you are new to these concepts, we suggest these resources:

Package format, in a nutshell

Before diving into the different publishing opportunities, we'll first need to briefly introduce the structure of a simple package. The full specification can be found in the Package Specification section.

The simplest possible package is made of 3 files:

  • A package.yml file, containing the snippets you want to share.
  • A _manifest.yml file, containing the metadata of the package. This includes the package's name, author and version, among other things.
  • A README.md file, containing a description of the package, written using the Markdown syntax.

The package can also include other files, such as a license or additional match files, but they won't be covered in this example. If you want to know more, please visit the Package Specification section.

Publish on the Hub (public)

If you want to make the package publicly available, the Espanso Hub is the recommended approach. The Hub itself is hosted on a GitHub repository, which contains all the available packages. Let's see how you can create your own package.

In this example, we are going to create a new package called simple-package.

About package names

A package name can only contain lowercase letters, numbers and the hypen symbol -.

For example, the following are valid names:

  • my-nice-package1234
  • great-package

While these are NOT valid names:

  • My Package
  • my_package
  • nice@package

Here are the first steps:

  1. Visit the Hub repository and fork it on your account.
  2. Clone your fork locally using git.
  3. Now enter the packages/ directory and copy the contents of the dummy-package directory in a new one, called simple-package (this should be equal to your package name). At this point, you should have the packages/simple-package folder.
  4. Then, enter the packages/simple-package/0.1.0 folder, you should find three files there: package.yml, _manifest.yml and README.md.
  5. You are now ready to actually customize your package, as explained below:

Customizing the manifest

Edit the _manifest.yml file to customize the package metadata:

  • name should be the name of your package. It must be equal to the directory name created earlier.
  • title is the "read friendly" version of your package name. This can contain all string characters, but it should be relatively short.
  • description should contain a short description of your package.
  • version contains the version of your package. We suggest to keep it at 0.1.0 for new packages.
  • author contains the author name.

There are also other possible fields, please visit the Package Specification if you are interested.

At this point, we should have a _manifest.yml similar to this:

_manifest.yml
name: "simple-package"
title: "Simple Package"
description: A simple package to show how to create your own one!
version: 0.1.0
author: Federico Terzi

Customizing the snippets

Once the metadata is ready, you can move to the package.yml file. That file contains the package snippets, and follow the same format used for regular match files.

For example, in our case it could be:

package.yml
matches:
- trigger: ":hello"
replace: "Hello from the Simple Package!"

Customizing the Readme

Finally, you should describe your package and add all the relevant documentation inside the README.md file. You should write this content using the Markdown syntax. This content is what will be shown in the package's Hub page.

In our example, that could be something like:

README.md
This is a **simple package** and its purpose
is to show how to create new Espanso packages!

Publishing on the Hub

Once your package is ready, we can finally publish it on the Hub, awesome!

After committing your changes and pushing it to your forked version of the Hub, you'll need to open a pull request on the Espanso Hub repository.

At that point, the Espanso team will review it and, once verified, your package will be published!

Publish on a GIT repository (private or public)

There are times when sharing a package publicly is not possible, for example, when you plan to share it with your company's team.

This section quickly goes through the steps needed to set up an external Git repository to host your Espanso packages.

  1. Firstly, fork the espanso-external-repo-template on your Git hosting of choice. Keep in mind that:
  • You can keep the fork private.
  • The template itself is not needed, it's just an easier way to get up to speed with the required structure.
  1. Then, you are ready to customize the example-package.

Start by renaming the folder with the actual package name. In this example, we are going to use simple-package.

About package names

A package name can only contain lowercase letters, numbers and the hypen symbol -.

For example, the following are valid names:

  • my-nice-package1234
  • great-package

While these are NOT valid names:

  • My Package
  • my_package
  • nice@package

After renaming the example-package folder to simple-package, you can customize the included files.

Customizing the manifest

Edit the _manifest.yml file to customize the package metadata:

  • name should be the name of your package. It must be equal to the directory name created earlier.
  • title is the "read friendly" version of your package name. This can contain all string characters, but it should be relatively short.
  • description should contain a short description of your package.
  • version contains the version of your package. We suggest to keep it at 0.1.0 for new packages.
  • author contains the author name.

There are also other possible fields, please visit the Package Specification if you are interested.

At this point, we should have a _manifest.yml similar to this:

_manifest.yml
name: "simple-package"
title: "Simple Package"
description: A simple package to show how to create your own one!
version: 0.1.0
author: Federico Terzi

Customizing the snippets

Once the metadata is ready, you can move to the package.yml file. That file contains the package snippets, and follow the same format used for regular match files.

For example, in our case it could be:

package.yml
matches:
- trigger: ":hello"
replace: "Hello from the Simple Package!"

Customizing the Readme

Finally, you should describe your package and add all the relevant documentation inside the README.md file. You should write this content using the Markdown syntax.

In our example, that could be something like:

README.md
This is a **simple package** and its purpose
is to show how to create new Espanso packages!

Using the External repository

After committing your changes and pushing them to your repository, you are ready to use the packages!

For more information about the usage, visit the External packages section.

Donate

Hi! I'm Federico, the creator of espanso. I develop espanso in my (little) spare time and I decided to make it open source because I thought it could be useful to many people.

If you liked the project, please consider making a small donation, it really helps :)

A special thanks goes to all the wonderful people who supported espanso along the way

Together, we will make espanso the first universal text expander, open to everyone.

Contributing

Espanso is open source and hosted on GitHub.

Star

If you find a bug or have an idea for a new feature, please open an issue on GitHub.