Setup Your Development Environment

Learn about the recommended development environment to extend Umbraco

Required Software

Make sure you have followed the requirements article, especially having installed the following on your machine:

Tip: use Node Version Manager (NVM) for Windows or Mac/Linux to manage the Node.js versions.

Package Setup

App_Plugins

Extensions (JavaScript, CSS, manifests, and all graphics files) will go into a folder called App_Plugins. If you don't have this folder, you can create it at the root of your Umbraco project.

Source Code

The source code for your extensions should ideally be placed in a different project. You can make great use of a Razor Class Library (RCL) with static assets for this purpose. This will make it easier to maintain and test your code. You can create a new project in the root of your Umbraco project, or you can create a new project in a separate folder.

Bundling

If you are using a bundler like Webpack or Vite, you can configure it to output its files to a folder that Umbraco can see. If you have put your files directly in Umbraco project, you need to copy the compiled files over to the App_Plugins folder.

With a Razor Class Library (RCL) project, you should instead configure your bundler to copy the files over to the wwwroot folder. You can then map your RCL project back to the App_Plugins web path, so Umbraco can read your files. You can do this by setting the StaticWebAssetBasePath in your csproj file:

MyExtension.csproj
<Project Sdk="Microsoft.NET.Sdk.Razor">

  <PropertyGroup>
    <StaticWebAssetBasePath>App_Plugins/MyExtension</StaticWebAssetBasePath>
  </PropertyGroup>

</Project>

Dependencies

You can use any package manager you like to install dependencies. We recommend using NPM or Yarn. You can install packages by running the command:

npm install -D <package-name>

This will install the package and save it to your package.json file.

You need to setup a package.json file if you don't have one already. You can do this by running the command:

npm init -y

Make sure that you do not install any NPM dependencies directly into the App_Plugins folder. This can cause issues with Build and Publish processes in MSBuild. Always install dependencies in a separate folder and use a bundler to copy the compiled files over to the App_Plugins folder.

Umbraco Backoffice

Umbraco publishes an NPM package called @umbraco-cms/backoffice that holds typings and other niceties to build extensions.

You can install this package by running the command:

npm install -D @umbraco-cms/backoffice

This will add a package to your devDependencies containing the TypeScript definitions for the Umbraco Backoffice.

It is important that this namespace is ignored in your bundler. If you are using Vite, you can add the following to your vite.config.ts file:

import { defineConfig } from "vite";

export default defineConfig({
    // other config
    // ...
    // add this to your config
    build: {
        rollupOptions: {
            external: [/^@umbraco/],
        },
    }
});

This ensures that the Umbraco Backoffice package is not bundled with your package.

Read more about using Vite with Umbraco in the Vite Package Setup article.

Visual Studio Code

If you're using Visual Studio Code we recommend the extension called Lit-Plugin to get IntelliSense for Lit Elements and Umbraco UI Library Components.

What's Next?

Now that you have your development environment set up, you can start building your Umbraco extensions. Read more about our recommended setup with Vite to get started.

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