Openfire Logo

Openfire Plugin Developer Guide


Plugins enhance the functionality of Openfire. This document is a developer's guide for creating plugins.

The plugin development is based on Apache Maven.

Topics that are covered in this document:

What is Maven?

Maven is a project management tool which can manage the complete building life cycle. Maven simplifies and standardizes the project build process. by handling compilation, testing, library dependency, distribution, documentation and team collaboration. The Maven developers claim that Maven is more than just a build tool. We can think of Maven as a build tool with more features. Maven provides developers ways to manage project (Builds, Test, Documentation, Reporting, Dependencies, Releases, Distribution, Mailing List).

Structure of a Plugin

Plugins live in the plugins directory of openfireHome. When a plugin is deployed as a JAR or WAR file, it is automatically expanded into a directory. The files in a plugin directory are as follows:

Plugin Structure
 |- pom.xml         <- Plugin description/configuration file of the Maven project (allows you to define the POM (Project Object Model) used by Maven).
 |- plugin.xml      <- Plugin definition file
 |- readme.html     <- Optional readme file for plugin, which will be displayed to end users
 |- changelog.html  <- Optional changelog file for plugin, which will be displayed to end users
 |- logo_small.gif  <- Optional small (16x16) icon associated with the plugin (can also be a .png file)
 |- logo_large.gif  <- Optional large (32x32) icon associated with the plugin (can also be a .png file)
 |- src   
    |- classes/        <- Resources your plugin needs (i.e., a properties file)
    |- database/       <- Optional database schema files that your plugin needs
    |- i18n/           <- Optional i18n files to allow for internationalization of plugins.
    |- lib/            <- Libraries (JAR files) your plugin needs
    |- java/           <- This is the directory containing the sources of the plugin application(.java files) and located in the package
    |- web             <- Resources for Admin Console integration, if any
        |- WEB-INF/
            |- web.xml           <- Generated web.xml containing compiled JSP entries
            |- web-custom.xml    <- Optional user-defined web.xml for custom servlets
        |- images/

The web directory exists for plugins that need to add content to the Openfire Admin Console. Further details are below.

The plugin.xml file specifies the main Plugin class. A sample file might look like the following:

Example plugin.xml content

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!-- Main plugin class -->

    <!-- Plugin meta-data -->
    <name>Example Plugin</name>
    <description>This is an example plugin.</description>
    <author>Jive Software</author>


    <!-- Admin console entries -->
        <!-- More on this below -->

The meta-data fields that can be set in the plugin.xml file:

the name of the plugin.
the description of the plugin.
the author of the plugin.
the version of the plugin.
the date the plugin was released. The date must be in the form yyyy-MM-dd, such as 2006-07-21.
a URL where additional information about the plugin is available.
the minimum version of Openfire required to run the plugin (supported by Openfire 2.1.2 and later). If the server version is less than the required value, the plugin will not be started.
the server version up, but not including, on which this plugin can run.
the minimum Java specification version the plugin needs to run.
if the plugin requires it's own database tables, the databaseKey element should be set with a schema key name (often the same name as the plugin). Database schema files for each supported database should then be placed in the database directory of the plugin. For example, given the key "foo", schema files would be called "foo_mysql.sql", "foo_oracle.sql", etc. We recommend that you prefix your tables with "of" (openfire) to avoid conflicts with possible other applications installed in the same database. The scripts should make an entry into the ofVersion table using the key so that schema version information can be tracked, e.g.:
INSERT INTO ofVersion (name, version) VALUES ('foo', 0);
the database schema version (if a database schema is defined). New plugins with a database schema should start at version 0. If future versions of the plugin require updates to the schema, those updates can be defined by creating sub-directories in the database/upgrade directory for each version number. For example, the directories database/upgrade/1 and database/upgrade/2 would contain scripts such as "foo_mysql.sql" and "foo_oracle.sql" that contain the relevant database changes for each version. Each script should update version information in the ofVersion table, e.g.:
UPDATE ofVersion set version=1 where name='foo';
the name of the parent plugin (given as "foo" for the "foo.jar" plugin). When a plugin has a parent plugin, the parent plugin's class loader will be used instead of creating a new class loader. This lets plugins work together more closely. A child plugin will not function without its parent present.
indicates the license agreement that the plugin is governed by. Valid values are:
  • "commercial": the plugin is released under a commercial license agreement.
  • "gpl": the plugin is released under the GNU Public License (GPL).
  • "apache": the plugin is released under the Apache license.
  • "internal": the plugin is for internal use at an organization only and will not be re-distributed.
  • "other": the plugin is released under a license agreement that doesn't fall into one of the other categories. The license agreement should be details in the plugin's Readme.
If the license type is not set, it is assumed to be other.

Several additional files can be present in the plugin to provide additional information to end-users (all placed in the main plugin directory):

readme file for plugin, which will be displayed to end users.
Optional changelog file for plugin, which will be displayed to end users.
Optional small (16x16) icon associated with the plugin. It can also be a .gif file.
Optional large (32x32) icon associated with the plugin. It can also be a .gif file.

Your plugin class must be implement the Plugin interface from the Openfire API as well as have a default (no argument) constructor. The Plugin interface has methods for initializing and destroying the plugin.

Example plugin implementation
package org.example;

import org.jivesoftware.openfire.container.Plugin;
import org.jivesoftware.openfire.container.PluginManager;


 * A sample plugin for Openfire.
public class ExamplePlugin implements Plugin {

    public void initializePlugin(PluginManager manager, File pluginDirectory) {
        // Your code goes here


    public void destroyPlugin() {
        // Your code goes here

General Plugin Best Practices

When choosing a package name for your plugin, we recommend that you choose something distinctive to you and/or your organization to help avoid conflicts as much as possible. For example, if everyone went with org.example.PluginName, even if PluginName was different, you might start running into some conflicts here and there between class names. This is especially true when working with clustering.

Modifying the Admin Console

Plugins can add tabs, sections, and pages to the admin console. There are a several steps to accomplishing this:

The <adminconsole /> section of plugin.xml defines additional tabs, sections and entries in the Admin Console framework. A sample plugin.xml file might look like the following:

Example plugin.xml content
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <!-- Main plugin class -->

    <!-- Admin console entries -->

        <tab id="mytab" name="Example" url="my-plugin-admin.jsp" description="Click to manage...">
            <sidebar id="mysidebar" name="My Plugin">
               <item id="my-plugin" name="My Plugin Admin"
                   description="Click to administer settings for my plugin"
                   order="4" />
               <item id="my-plugin" name="My Plugin Overview"
                   description="Click to have an Overview of Plugin usage"
                   order="2" />


In this example, we've defined a new tab "Example", a sidebar section "My Plugin" and two pages: "My Plugin Admin" and "My Plugin Overview". We've registered my-plugin-admin.jsp respectively my-plugin-overview.jsp as the pages.

By default, the tabs, sidebars and pages will be presented in the order in which they are defined. You can, however, define explicit ordering by adding an "order" attribute to each element. It's numeric value defines order. If no order is specified, the value 0 (zero) is used as a default. In the example above, the items are ordered using this construct. In the admin console, the "My Plugin Overview" page will be presented before the "My Plugin Admin" page, as its 'order' value is lower. If neither item had defined the 'order' attribute, the presentation of both pages would have been reversed (as it would have used to order in which the pages are defined in XML).

You can override existing tabs, sections, and items by using the existing id attribute values in your own <adminconsole> definition.

Admin Console Best Practices

There are several best practices to consider when making changes to the Openfire admin console via a plugin. The general theme is that plugins should integrate seamlessly:

Writing Pages for the Admin Console

Openfire uses the Sitemesh framework to decorate pages in the admin console. A globally-defined decorator is applied to each page in order to render the final output, as in the following diagram:

Decorating a page with the Sitemesh framework
Decorating a page with the Sitemesh framework.

Creating pages that work with Sitemesh is easy. Simply create valid HTML pages and then use meta tags to send instructions to Sitemesh. When rendering the output, Sitemesh will use the instructions you provide to render the decorator along with any content in the body of your HTML page. The following meta tags can be used:

the ID of the page, which must match an entry in the admin console XML described above. Either a pageID or subPageID must be specified.
the ID of the sub-page, which must match an entry in the admin console XML described above. Sub-pages are used for administrative actions related to a parent page ID. For example, editing or deleting a particular group. Either a pageID or subPageID must be specified.
(Optional) extra parameters that should be passed in to the page. For example, on a page to delete a group it might be the ID of the group. Parameters must be URL encoded.
(Optional) overrides the Sitemesh decorator to use for the page. A decorator named none is available that will simply render the page without a decorator.

The following HTML snippet demonstrates a valid page:

Example HTML
       <title>My Plugin Page</title>
       <meta name="pageID" content="myPluginPage"/>
        Body here!

Using i18n in your Plugins

It's possible to translate your plugin into multiple languages (i18n). To do so, use the following procedure:

Building the plugin

Your plugin project should define a Maven pom.xml file to build plugins. Your plugin can inherit from an Openfire provided parent pom. This can be obtained through Ignite's Maven repository. An example of such a pom file is shown below.

Example Plugin pom.xml file
<project xmlns="" xmlns:xsi=""


            <!-- Compiles the Openfire Admin Console JSP pages. Remove this if the plugin has no JSP pages -->

        <!-- Where we obtain dependencies (such as the parent project). -->
            <name>Ignite Realtime Repository</name>

        <!-- Typically used to retrieve Maven plugins used by this project. This
             is also used to obtain the dependencies _used by_ plugins
             (eg: openfire-plugin-assembly-descriptor) -->
            <name>Ignite Realtime Repository</name>


The Maven pom.xml will help you build and develop plugins. It should look for plugin development directories in the following format:

Plugin Structure
 |- plugin.xml      <- Plugin definition file
 |- readme.html     <- Optional readme file for plugin
 |- changelog.html  <- Optional changelog file for plugin
 |- logo_small.gif  <- Optional small (16x16) icon associated with the plugin (can also be a .png file)
 |- logo_large.gif  <- Optional large (32x32) icon associated with the plugin (can also be a .png file)
 |- classes/        <- Resources your plugin needs (i.e., a properties file)
 |- lib/            <- Libraries your plugin needs
 |- src/
     |- database    <- Optional database scripts for your plugin
     |- java        <- Java source code for your plugin
     |   |- com
     |       |- mycompany
     |           |- *.java
     |- web
         |- *.jsp      <- JSPs your plugin uses for the admin console
         |- images/    <- Any images your JSP pages need (optional)
         |- WEB-INF
             |- web.xml    <- Optional file where custom servlets can be registered

To build the plugin, build the maven 'package' goal. Typically, this is done as such:

./mvnw clean package

When the build succeeds, the target/ folder in your project will have serveral files. One file is named PLUGINNAME-openfire-plugin-assembly.jar. This is the Openfire plugin

Note: Before you provide the plugin jar file to Openfire, it must be renamed! Remove -heapdump-openfire-plugin-assembly from the file name. For example: a file named demo-openfire-plugin-assembly.jar should be renamed to demo.jar

If you create a src/web/WEB-INF/web.xml file, any servlets registered there will be initialized when the plugin starts up. Only servlet registrations and servlet mappings will be honored from the web.xml file. Note: this feature is implemented by merging your custom web.xml file into the web.xml file generated by the JSP compilation process.

Implementing Your Plugin

Plugins have full access to the Openfire API. This provides a tremendous amount of flexibility for what plugins can accomplish. However, there are several integration points that are the most common:

Register a plugin as a Component.

Components receive all packets addressed to a particular sub-domain. For example, So, a packet sent to would be delivered to the component. Note that the sub-domains defined as components are unrelated to DNS entries for sub-domains. All XMPP routing at the socket level is done using the primary server domain ( in the example above); sub-domains are only used for routing within the XMPP server.

Register a plugin as an IQHandler

IQ handlers respond to IQ packets with a particular element name and namespace. The following code snippet demonstrates how to register an IQHandler:

Registering an IQHandler
IQHandler myHandler = new MyIQHander();
IQRouter iqRouter = XMPPServer.getInstance().getIQRouter();

Register a plugin as a PacketInterceptor

Register the plugin as a PacketInterceptor to receive all packets being sent through the system and optionally reject them. For example, an interceptor could reject all messages that contained profanity or flag them for review by an administrator.

Persisting settings

You can store persistent plugin settings as Openfire properties using the JiveGlobals.getProperty(String) and JiveGlobals.setProperty(String, String) methods. Make your plugin a property listener to listen for changes to its properties by implementing the org.jivesoftware.util.PropertyEventListener method. You can register your plugin as a listener using the PropertyEventDispatcher.addListener(PropertyEventListener) method. Be sure to unregister your plugin as a listener in your plugin's destroyPlugin() method.

Openfire admin tags

Openfire provides useful JSP tags that can be used. To enable them on a JSP page, simply add: <%@ taglib uri="admin" prefix="admin" %> to the top of your JSP page. The tags include:

will display an ASN.1 DER encoded certificate (provided as a byte array) in an HTML table. (since Openfire 4.0.0)
will display up to three suitably decorated session attributes on the rendered page. The keys of these session attributes are defined by FlashMessageTag.SUCCESS_MESSAGE_KEY, WARNING_MESSAGE_KEY and ERROR_MESSAGE_KEY. This allows messages to be displayed to the user when navigating between pages. (since Openfire 4.5.0)

CSRF protection

Admin pages are liable to CSRF attacks. Openfire provides facilities to aid plugin authors to protect against these attacks on their admin pages. To enable CSRF protection:

  1. Set the plugin.xml minServerVersion to 4.5.0 or above as this is when support was added.
  2. Set the plugin.xml csrfProtectionEnabled to true to enable CSRF protection for the plugin. This will;
    • Guard against CSRF attacks for all requests to admin pages except GET requests
    • Set a servlet request attribute with key "csrf"
  3. Ensure that GET requests do not modify any settings or change any data as this protection is not enabled for GET requests
  4. Ensure that any form submitted in the admin page has a field called csrf whose value is that defined by the request attribute "csrf" - for example:
    <input name="csrf" value="<c:out value="${csrf}"/>" type="hidden">

If a CSRF attack is detected, the admin page will be reloaded (with a simple HTTP GET request) with the session attribute FlashMessageTag.ERROR_MESSAGE_KEY set to indicate the problem - it's therefore advised to include the <admin:FlashMessage/> at the top of your JSP page.

NOTE: It is still important to ensure that all your output is properly escaped using <c:out> tags or the equivalent.

Plugin FAQ

Can I deploy a plugin as a directory instead of a JAR?

No, all plugins must be deployed as JAR or WAR files. When a JAR or WAR is not present for the plugin, Openfire assumes that the file has been deleted and that the users wants to destroy the plugin, so it also deletes the directory.

I've made a change to an existing plugin but can't get it to install when I upload it. Why?

Naming is important. The uploaded JAR must match name with the plugin (i.e. the POM artifactId). For example, the Monitoring and Archiving Plugin must be uploaded as monitoring.jar rather than my_better_monitoring.jar.

If you're compiling using the maven-assembly-plugin, be sure to look at the config in the example plugin.