IntelliJ Platform SDK DevGuide

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Plugin Compatibility with IntelliJ Platform Products

All products based on the IntelliJ Platform, such as IntelliJ IDEA, RubyMine, WebStorm, and so on, target the same underlying platform API, with some products sharing features built on top of the platform, such as Java support (IntelliJ IDEA and Android Studio) or database support (IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate, DataGrip, PhpStorm, etc.).

It is possible to write a plugin that is compatible across multiple products, as long as the plugin specifies which product it is compatible with. More specifically, the plugin must specify, using the <depends> tag in the plugin.xml file, dependencies on well known modules or plugins.

For the purposes of dependencies, a module can be thought of as a built-in plugin that ships as a non-removable part of a product. Not all products define and declare modules. For example, PhpStorm does not have its own module, but the product itself depends on (and ships) the PHP language plugin. You can make your plugin compatible with PhpStorm by also depending on the same language plugin.

For example:

<idea-plugin> ... <depends>com.intellij.modules.lang</depends> ... </idea-plugin>

If a plugin does not include any module dependency tags in its plugin.xml, it’s assumed to be a legacy plugin and is loaded only in IntelliJ IDEA.

If the plugin.xml includes one or more such tags, the plugin is loaded if the product contains all of the modules on which the plugin depends.

The following modules are currently available in all products based on IntelliJ Platform:

  • com.intellij.modules.platform
  • com.intellij.modules.lang
  • com.intellij.modules.vcs
  • com.intellij.modules.xml
  • com.intellij.modules.xdebugger

This means a plugin can declare a dependency on com.intellij.modules.vcs and it will work in any product that supports version control, and since all products currently include the com.intellij.modules.vcs module, this plugin will work in all products.

The following modules or built-in plugins are available in these specific products:

Module or built-in plugin Product
com.intellij.modules.java IntelliJ IDEA, Android Studio
com.intellij.modules.ultimate IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate Edition
com.intellij.modules.androidstudio Android Studio
com.intellij.modules.appcode AppCode
com.intellij.modules.cidr.lang AppCode, CLion
com.intellij.modules.cidr.debugger AppCode, CLion, RubyMotion
com.intellij.modules.clion CLion
com.intellij.modules.database IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate Edition, DataGrip, GoLand, PhpStorm, PyCharm, Rider, RubyMine
com.intellij.modules.go GoLand
com.intellij.modules.python PyCharm
com.intellij.modules.rider Rider
com.intellij.modules.ruby RubyMine
com.jetbrains.php PhpStorm (built-in plugin)

Plugin dependencies

If you want to add a dependency to a plugin, then add a <depends> tag using the plugin name/ID to plugin.xml. For example JavaScript or tslint. Note that some plugins are not included by default in the target SDK, so you also have to add their jars manually to the SDKs classpath to compile against their provided classes. Make sure that you add the plugin jars to the SDK and not to your plugin, else the jars will be bundled with your plugin.

Optional dependencies

You can also specify optional dependencies. If your plugin works with all products but provides some Java-specific functionality, you can use a dependency tag like this:

<depends optional="true" config-file="my-java-features.xml"> com.intellij.modules.java </depends>

Before marking a plugin as compatible with all products, you should verify that it doesn’t use any APIs that are specific to IntelliJ IDEA. To do so, create an IntelliJ Platform SDK pointing to an installation of RubyMine, PyCharm, etc., compile your plugin against that SDK, and verify that everything compiles. Visit the Open Source Licensing page to check if your project is eligible for free Open Source Licenses of JetBrains products.

The IntelliJ plugin repository automatically detects the products with which a plugin is compatible, based on the rules above, and makes it available to users of those products.

Platform Compatibility

The API of IntelliJ Platform and bundled plugins may be changed between releases. The major changes which may break plugins are listed on Incompatible Changes in IntelliJ Platform and Plugins API page.

To be sure that your plugin will work on your targeted platform, you should use the same development version of IntelliJ platform as the one you are targeting.

Last modified: 16 May 2018