cmd2 has a built-in plugin framework which allows developers to create a a cmd2 plugin which can extend basic cmd2 functionality and can be used by multiple applications.

There are many ways to add functionality to cmd2 using a plugin. Most plugins will be implemented as a mixin. A mixin is a class that encapsulates and injects code into another class. Developers who use a plugin in their cmd2 project will inject the plugin’s code into their subclass of cmd2.Cmd.

Mixin and Initialization

The following short example shows how to mix in a plugin and how the plugin gets initialized.

Here’s the plugin:

class MyPlugin:
    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        # code placed here runs before cmd2.Cmd initializes
        super().__init__(*args, **kwargs)
        # code placed here runs after cmd2.Cmd initializes

and an example app which uses the plugin:

import cmd2
import cmd2_myplugin

class Example(cmd2_myplugin.MyPlugin, cmd2.Cmd):
    """An class to show how to use a plugin"""
    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        # code placed here runs before cmd2.Cmd or
        # any plugins initialize
        super().__init__(*args, **kwargs)
        # code placed here runs after cmd2.Cmd and
        # all plugins have initialized

Note how the plugin must be inherited (or mixed in) before cmd2.Cmd. This is required for two reasons:

  • The cmd.Cmd.__init__ method in the python standard library does not call super().__init__(). Because of this oversight, if you don’t inherit from MyPlugin first, the MyPlugin.__init__() method will never be called.
  • You may want your plugin to be able to override methods from cmd2.Cmd. If you mixin the plugin after cmd2.Cmd, the python method resolution order will call cmd2.Cmd methods before it calls those in your plugin.

Add commands

Your plugin can add user visible commands. You do it the same way in a plugin that you would in a cmd2.Cmd app:

class MyPlugin:
    def do_say(self, statement):
        """Simple say command"""

You have all the same capabilities within the plugin that you do inside a cmd2.Cmd app, including argument parsing via decorators and custom help methods.

Add (or hide) settings

A plugin may add user controllable settings to the application. Here’s an example:

class MyPlugin:
    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        # code placed here runs before cmd2.Cmd initializes
        super().__init__(*args, **kwargs)
        # code placed here runs after cmd2.Cmd initializes
        self.mysetting = 'somevalue'
        self.add_settable(cmd2.Settable('mysetting', str, 'short help message for mysetting', self))

You can hide settings from the user by calling remove_settable(). See Settings for more information.


Your plugin can provide a decorator which users of your plugin can use to wrap functionality around their own commands.

Override methods

Your plugin can override core cmd2.Cmd methods, changing their behavior. This approach should be used sparingly, because it is very brittle. If a developer chooses to use multiple plugins in their application, and several of the plugins override the same method, only the first plugin to be mixed in will have the overridden method called.

Hooks are a much better approach.


Plugins can register hook methods, which are called by cmd2.Cmd during various points in the application and command processing lifecycle. Plugins should not override any of the deprecated hook methods, instead they should register their hooks as described in the Hooks section.

You should name your hooks so that they begin with the name of your plugin. Hook methods get mixed into the cmd2 application and this naming convention helps avoid unintentional method overriding.

Here’s a simple example:

class MyPlugin:
    def __init__(self, *args, **kwargs):
        # code placed here runs before cmd2 initializes
        super().__init__(*args, **kwargs)
        # code placed here runs after cmd2 initializes
        # this is where you register any hook functions

    def cmd2_myplugin_postparsing_hook(self, data: cmd2.plugin.PostparsingData) -> cmd2.plugin.PostparsingData:
        """Method to be called after parsing user input, but before running the command"""
        self.poutput('in postparsing_hook')
        return data

Registration allows multiple plugins (or even the application itself) to each inject code to be called during the application or command processing lifecycle.

See the Hooks documentation for full details of the application and command lifecycle, including all available hooks and the ways hooks can influence the lifecycle.

Classes and Functions

Your plugin can also provide classes and functions which can be used by developers of cmd2 based applications. Describe these classes and functions in your documentation so users of your plugin will know what’s available.