Appendix C: oVirt User Interface Plugins

oVirt supports plug-ins that expose non-standard features. This makes it easier to use the oVirt Administration Portal to integrate with other systems. Each interface plug-in represents a set of user interface extensions that can be packaged and distributed for use with oVirt.

oVirt’s User Interface plug-ins integrate with the Administration Portal directly on the client using the JavaScript programming language. Plug-ins are invoked by the Administration Portal and executed in the web browser’s JavaScript runtime. User Interface plug-ins can use the JavaScript language and its libraries.

At key events during runtime, the Administration Portal invokes individual plug-ins via event handler functions representing Administration-Portal-to-plug-in communication. Although the Administration Portal supports multiple event-handler functions, a plug-in declares functions which are of interest only to its implementation. Each plug-in must register relevant event handler functions as part of the plug-in bootstrap sequence before the plug-in is put to use by the administration portal.

To facilitate the plug-in-to-Administration-Portal communication that drives the User Interface extension, the Administration Portal exposes the plug-in API as a global (top-level) pluginApi JavaScript object that individual plug-ins can consume. Each plug-in obtains a separate pluginApi instance, allowing the Administration Portal to control plug-in API-function invocation for each plug-in with respect to the plug-in’s life cycle.

oVirt User Interface Plugin Lifecycle

The basic life cycle of a User Interface Plug-in divides into three stages:

  • Plug-in discovery

  • Plug-in loading

  • Plug-in bootstrapping

oVirt User Interface Plug-in Discovery

Creating plug-in descriptors is the first step in the plug-in discovery process. Plug-in descriptors contain important plug-in metadata and optional default plug-in-specific configurations.

As part of handling administration portal HTML page requests (HTTP GET), User Interface plug-in infrastructure attempts to discover and load plug-in descriptors from your local file system. For each plug-in descriptor, the infrastructure also attempts to load corresponding plug-in user configurations used to override default plug-in-specific configurations (if any exist) and tweak plug-in runtime behavior. Plug-in user configuration is optional. After loading descriptors and corresponding user configuration files, oVirt Engine aggregates User Interface plug-in data and embeds it into the administration portal HTML page for runtime evaluation.

By default, plug-in descriptors reside in $ENGINE_USR/ui-plug-ins, with a default mapping of ENGINE_USR=/usr/share/ovirt-engine as defined by oVirt Engine local configuration. Plug-in descriptors are expected to comply with JSON format specifications, but plug-in descriptors allow Java/C++ style comments (of both /* and // varieties) in addition to the JSON format specifications.

By default, plug-in user configuration files reside in $ENGINE_ETC/ui-plug-ins, with a default mapping of ENGINE_ETC=/etc/ovirt-engine as defined by oVirt Engine local configuration. Plug-in user configuration files are expected to comply with same content format rules as plug-in descriptors.

**Note:** Plug-in user configuration files generally follow the **<descriptorFileName>-config.json** naming convention.

oVirt User Interface Plug-in Loading

After a plug-in has been discovered and its data is embedded into the administration portal HTML page, administration portal tries to load the plug-in as part of application startup (unless you have configured it not to load as part of application startup).

For each plug-in that has been discovered, the administration portal creates an HTML iframe element that is used to load its host page. The plug-in host page is necessary to begin the plug-in bootstrap process, which (the bootstrap process) is used to evaluate the plug-in code in the context of the plug-in’s iframe element. User interface plug-in infrastructure supports serving plug-in resource files (such as the plug-in host page) from the local file system. The plug-in host page is loaded into the iframe element and the plug-in code is evaluated. After the plug-in code is evaluated, the plug-in communicates with the administration portal by means of the plug-in API.

oVirt User Interface Plug-in Bootstrapping

A typical plug-in bootstrap sequence consists of following steps:

Plug-in Bootstrap Sequence

  1. Obtain pluginApi instance for the given plug-in

  2. Obtain runtime plug-in configuration object (optional)

  3. Register relevant event handler functions

  4. Notify UI plug-in infrastructure to proceed with plug-in initialization

The following code snippet illustrates the above mentioned steps in practice:

// Access plug-in API using 'parent' due to this code being evaluated within the context of an iframe element.
// As 'parent.pluginApi' is subject to Same-Origin Policy, this will only work when WebAdmin HTML page and plug-in
// host page are served from same origin. WebAdmin HTML page and plug-in host page will always be on same origin
// when using UI plug-in infrastructure support to serve plug-in resource files.
var api = parent.pluginApi('MyPlugin');

// Runtime configuration object associated with the plug-in (or an empty object).
var config = api.configObject();

// Register event handler function(s) for later invocation by UI plug-in infrastructure.
     // UiInit event handler function.
  UiInit: function() {
    // Handle UiInit event.
     window.alert('Favorite music band is ' +;

// Notify UI plug-in infrastructure to proceed with plug-in initialization.

UI Plugin-related Files and their Locations

File Location Remarks
Plug-in descriptor files (meta-data) /usr/share/ovirt-engine/ui-plugins/my-plugin.json  
Plug-in user configuration files /etc/ovirt-engine/ui-plugins/my-plugin-config.json  
Plug-in resource files /usr/share/ovirt-enging/ui-plugins//PluginHostPage.html</b> </b> is defined by the corresponding attribute in the plug-in descriptor.

Example User Interface Plug-in Deployment

Follow these instructions to create a user interface plug-in that runs a Hello World! program when you sign in to the oVirt Engine administration portal.

Deploying a Hello World! Plug-in

  1. Create a plug-in descriptor by creating the following file in the Engine at /usr/share/ovirt-engine/ui-plugins/helloWorld.json:

         "name": "HelloWorld",
         "url": "/ovirt-engine/webadmin/plugin/HelloWorld/start.html",
         "resourcePath": "hello-files"
  2. Create the plug-in host page by creating the following file in the Engine at /usr/share/ovirt-engine/ui-plugins/hello-files/start.html:

     <!DOCTYPE html><html><head>
         var api = parent.pluginApi('HelloWorld');
      UiInit: function() { window.alert('Hello world'); }

If you have successfully implemented the Hello World! plug-in, you will see this screen when you sign in to the administration portal:

A Successful Implementation of the Hello World! Plug-in

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Adapted from RHV 4.2 documentation - CC-BY-SA