A Beginner's Guide to Developing Obsidian Plugins

Welcome to our beginner's guide to developing Obsidian plugins! If you're a fan of Obsidian like we are, you know that plugins are one of the best ways to enhance your experience with this powerful note-taking app. Whether you want to add new features, improve existing ones, or automate tasks, developing your own plugins can take your Obsidian experience to the next level. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know to get started with developing your own Obsidian plugins, even if you have no prior coding experience.

Why I Obsidian Plugins

There are several reasons why I personally love using Obsidian plugins:

  • I think the ability to add new features to Obsidian is one of the best things about these plugins.
  • Improving existing features is another reason why I prefer using Obsidian plugins.
  • For me, automating tasks with these plugins has made my workflow much more efficient.
  • Sharing my work and helping others improve their Obsidian experience is also a great reason why I love using these plugins.

Getting Started with Obsidian Plugin Development

To build a plugin for Obsidian, it's crucial to grasp the Obsidian API. This API offers you a range of tools that let you access and change data and settings within Obsidian.

You will encounter several components in the Obsidian API, including:

  • The fundamental API: These are the basic tools that grant you access to Obsidian's data and settings.
  • The file system API: This provides you with the ability to access and adjust files and directories in Obsidian.
  • The vault API: This gives you the power to access and alter vaults within Obsidian.
  • The note API: This enables you to access and modify notes in Obsidian.

For me, having a solid understanding of the Obsidian API is the starting point for developing an Obsidian plugin.

Once you understand the Obsidian API, you can start to develop your plugin.

Finding the Right Tools and Resources

In my experience, developing Obsidian plugins has a variety of tools and resources available. Some of my favorites include:

  • The Obsidian IDE: For me, this web-based IDE is a fantastic way to develop and debug plugins.
  • The Obsidian API Explorer: I think this tool is great for exploring the Obsidian API and understanding how it functions.
  • The Obsidian Plugin Templates: Personally, I find these templates incredibly helpful for getting started with plugin development.
  • The Obsidian Plugin Community: This community of developers has been invaluable for me in learning and growing as a plugin developer.

I hope these resources help you as much as they have helped me in my journey of developing Obsidian plugins.

Tips for Developing Obsidian Plugins

When it comes to developing plugins for Obsidian, in my experience, here are a few tips that might help:

  • Take it slow: If you're new to this, I personally recommend starting with a plugin that's not too complex.
  • Utilize the Obsidian API Explorer: This is an excellent resource for understanding how the Obsidian API works and seeing it in action.
  • Try the Obsidian Plugin Templates: These templates can serve as a great starting point for developing your own Obsidian plugins.
  • Be part of the Obsidian Plugin Community: Joining this community is a great way to get answers to your questions and connect with other Obsidian developers. For me, these tips have been useful in the past and I hope they can be of help to you too.

Developing Obsidian Plugins

You personally find Obsidian to be an impressive note-taking and knowledge management tool that can be enhanced through the use of plugins. I think these plugins offer the ability to not only add new capabilities to Obsidian, but also enhance existing functionality and even alter its overall operation.

Creating Your First Plugin

To create your first Obsidian plugin, you will need to have a basic understanding of JavaScript and HTML. You will also need to have the Obsidian Editor installed.

Once you have the necessary prerequisites, you can start creating your plugin by following these steps:

  1. Create a new folder for your plugin.
  2. Create a new file called plugin.js.
  3. In the plugin.js file, write the following code:
    module.exports = {
    name: 'My Plugin',
    description: 'This is a basic plugin that does nothing.',

This code creates a basic plugin that does nothing.

  1. Save the plugin.js file and open the Obsidian Editor.
  2. In the Obsidian Editor, go to the "Plugins" tab and click on the "Install Plugin" button.
  3. Select the folder that contains your plugin and click on the "Install" button.

Your plugin will be installed and will be available to use in Obsidian.

Advanced Plugin Development Techniques

You can start to delve into more complex techniques of Obsidian plugin development once you've established a foundation. There are ample resources available, including the Obsidian documentation and community forum, that can assist you in this journey.

Here are a few examples of what you can explore:

  • Exploring the Obsidian API. With the Obsidian API, you have the opportunity to access and change data within Obsidian. This opens up the door to creating plugins that perform various tasks, such as importing data from other sources, creating new note types, and modifying the way Obsidian operates.
  • Utilizing the Obsidian Editor. The Obsidian Editor has several features that can be utilized for plugin development. For instance, you can use the Editor to establish new commands, menus, and keyboard shortcuts.
  • Relying on the Obsidian community. The Obsidian community can be an invaluable resource when it comes to plugin development. You can find many online forums and chat rooms where you can ask questions and receive help from other Obsidian developers. In my experience, the community is always eager to help and support each other.

Tips for Developing Obsidian Plugins

As a Fliper, in my experience, here's how I would flip the tips for developing Obsidian plugins:

  • Start with something basic. In my opinion, it's best to begin your journey with a simple plugin that accomplishes a straightforward task. This approach will allow you to grasp the fundamentals of plugin development and become familiar with the Obsidian API.
  • Put your plugin to the test. It's crucial to thoroughly test your plugin once you've created it. Ensure that it functions as intended and doesn't cause any issues with Obsidian.
  • Document your creation. To help others understand how to utilize your plugin, I think it's wise to document it. You could do so in a README file or on a website.
  • Spread the word. After you've finished creating your plugin, share it with the Obsidian community. You can share it on the Obsidian website or on the Obsidian forum.

Developing Obsidian plugins can be a fun and fulfilling experience. By following these tips, I believe you can create plugins that will enhance Obsidian's functionality and make it even more valuable.

Troubleshooting and Testing Your Plugins

The functionality of the app can be extended with Obsidian plugins, making it work exactly as you desire. Nonetheless, creating plugins can pose a challenge, especially for those who aren't well-versed in coding. If you're having difficulties or want to test your plugins, here are some helpful tips for troubleshooting:

Common Issues

  • The error logs are the first place to check. If your plugin is not functioning as desired, I personally recommend taking a look at the error logs. Obsidian logs all errors in a file named obsidian/logs/errors.log, which you can easily open in a text editor. This can help you determine what errors are being reported.
  • Check the documentation first. If your plugin is working but not as expected, I think the first step is to consult the documentation. There are numerous resources available for learning how to develop Obsidian plugins, including tutorials and the official documentation. For me, reading through these materials is the best way to get the most out of your plugin.
  • Tips for Troubleshooting

As a Fliper, I personally think that when it comes to troubleshooting your plugins, checking the error logs is a great place to start. In my experience, if you come across an error that you're unsure of, reaching out for help on the Obsidian forums or in the Obsidian discord server is always an option.

For me, once any errors have been fixed, testing the plugin is crucial to ensure it's functioning properly. You can do this by opening the plugin in the Obsidian editor and running it, or even better, by using it in a test vault.

I personally prefer using the Obsidian debugger when it comes to troubleshooting my plugins. The debugger is incredibly helpful in understanding what's going on in your code. You can use it to step through your code, set breakpoints, and see when your code is being executed, all of which are valuable tools for a successful plugin.

Tips for Testing

  • Different Situations. I personally think that testing your plugin in various scenarios is crucial. This includes testing it with varying types of notes, settings, and even versions of Obsidian.
  • Test Vault. In my experience, using the test vault is a great way to test your plugins without the fear of ruining your main vault. You can simply create a copy of your main vault in the test vault and test away.
  • Debug Mode. For me, the debug mode is an excellent tool when testing plugins. It allows Obsidian to display all the errors caused by your plugin, making it easier to find and fix them.

Resources for Obsidian Plugin Development

When it comes to developing Obsidian plugins, you have several options for finding the information you need. Here are a few places that I personally find useful:

  • The official documentation. This is my go-to source for information on developing plugins. It's packed with tutorials, reference materials, and code examples that make it easier to get started.
  • The Obsidian forums. If you ever get stuck, don't hesitate to ask for help on the Obsidian forums. You'll find a friendly community eager to lend a hand.
  • The Obsidian discord server. Another great place to turn for help is the Obsidian discord server. Simply ask your question, and someone will be there to assist you.
  • The Obsidian subreddit. If you're looking for tutorials, reference documents, or code samples, the Obsidian subreddit is a great place to start your search. I've found many valuable resources there in my experience.


In conclusion, developing your own Obsidian plugins can seem daunting at first, but with the right resources and a willingness to learn, anyone can create plugins that enhance their note-taking experience. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can start creating your own plugins today, even if you have no prior coding experience. Remember to start small, test often, and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. We hope you found this guide helpful, and we encourage you to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. Happy coding!