By Hemal Shah, Product Manager
The beauty of open source software is that innovation can come from anyone, anywhere, and at any time. Over the past year and a half, the fastlane community has embraced this opportunity to make fastlane even better. These community-contributed additions, including approximately 80% of all fastlane actions and spaceship, have already saved millions of precious developer hours!
We love developing fastlane with you and want to empower you with more freedom to help mobile developers and strengthen your bond with them. Today, we’re introducing fastlane plugins – a new, faster way to create actions and connect directly with the fastlane community.
A whole new way to move fastlane forward
fastlane is comprised of hundreds of actions that make app deployment a breeze. From helping you distribute your beta builds to posting notifications in Slack channels, the possibilities of what you can automate to save time are endless! And because fastlane is open, everyone has the power to build on top of it.
Up until now, new actions that were proposed by our passionate community were merged into the main repository. To use them, all fastlane customers would need to upgrade their gems to the latest version. We’re excited to announce we’ve made this process even smoother with the new fastlane plugins architecture.
Think of fastlane plugins like building blocks; they’re a new, modular way to create and distribute actions independently of fastlane itself. In other words, these plugins allow actions to be added faster because they aren’t bundled into the main fastlane repository. Everyone has the power to invent, share, and deploy new plugins in this new architecture without waiting for PRs to be approved and gems to be updated – they’re your fast pass to making a dent in the mobile development universe! And everyone also gets instant access to tons of new actions. So, whether you’re a plugin creator or consumer or both, fastlane plugins are a win-win for the entire fastlane family.
Complete ownership of your masterpiece
You’re the boss of your plugin. From concept (what cool actions can you dream of?) to coding (#shipit) and promotion (share it with the world!), you’ll have control of your plugin’s design and destiny. Once your plugin is live, you’ll get to hear feedback from other fastlane customers and interact with them directly. This is your golden opportunity to showcase your talent and collect some good karma by giving back to the community!
To start creating new plugins, simply type fastlane new_plugin in your terminal and fastlane will walk you through the whole set-up.
Once you’re done, fastlane will generate the code that is necessary to activate your plugin and get it ready to publish to the world! Plus, this code will be all set to run on CI for automatic build and testing.
Easily discover actions
Rest assured, new and existing plugins won’t be buried out of sight because fastlane can quickly discover external plugins created by community contributors.
To see the wealth of new actions available to you, type “fastlane search_plugins” in your terminal. If you have a specific problem or task in mind, just add a keyword to the end of this query (type fastlane search_plugins [keyword]) for more targeted search results.
We also regularly update this page on GitHub with a list of all fastlane plugins. Some of our favorite plugins include github_status (to check on the status of GitHub’s APIs), and upload_folder_to_s3 (to store assets and artifacts in S3 on AWS). There’s even a fastlane plugin that plays victory music called tunes!
Instant access to new plugins – no updates needed!
You can create, use, and update plugins independently of the fastlane release cycle. There’s no need to update fastlane first, these plugins will work seamlessly with your existing version!
To install new plugins, just type fastlane add_plugin [name]. Within seconds, fastlane will retrieve the necessary code and generate the configuration files so you can immediately add the new plugin action into your local project.
Onward and upward to a brighter future
We built fastlane plugins to empower you to make a meaningful and immediate impact. Together, let’s make fastlane even better. We can’t wait to see the amazing new actions our community builds! And remember, we love seeing your work so Tweet us a link to your new plugin once it’s ready to rock.