Framework Extensions

Cement defines an extension interface called IExtension, as well as the default CementExtensionHandler that implements the interface. Its purpose is to manage loading framework extensions and making them usable by the application. Extensions are similar to Application Plugins, but at the framework level (application agnostic).

Please note that there may be other handler’s that implement the IExtension interface. The documentation below only references usage based on the interface and not the full capabilities of the implementation.

The following extension handlers are included and maintained with Cement:

Please reference the IExtension interface documentation for writing your own extension handler. Additionally, more information on available extensions and their use can be found in the Cement API Documentation

Important Note: As of Cement 2.1.3, optional extensions with external dependencies are now being shipped along with mainline sources. This means, that Cement Core continues to maintain a 100% zero dependency policy, however Framework Extensions can rely on external deps. It is the responsibility of the application developer to include these dependencies in their application (as the Cement package does not include these dependencies).

Extension Configuration Settings

The following Meta settings are honored under the CementApp:

A handler class that implements the IExtension interface. This can be a string (label of a registered handler), an uninstantiated class, or an instantiated class object. Default: CementExtensionHandler.
List of Cement core extensions. These are generally required by Cement and should only be modified if you know what you’re doing. Use extensions to add to this list, rather than overriding core extensions. That said if you want to prune down your application, you can remove core extensions if they are not necessary (for example if using your own log handler extension you likely don’t want/need LoggingLogHandler to be registered, but removing it really doesn’t buy you much).
List of additional framework extensions to load.

The following example shows how to alter these settings for your application:

from import CementApp
from cement.core.ext import CementExtensionHandler

class MyExtensionHandler(CementExtensionHandler):

class MyApp(CementApp):
    class Meta:
        label = 'myapp'
        extension_handler = MyExtensionHandler
        extensions = ['myapp.ext.ext_something_fancy']

with MyApp() as app:

Creating an Extension

The extension system is a mechanism for dynamically loading code to extend the functionality of the framework. In general, this includes the registration of interfaces, handlers, and/or hooks.

The following is an example extension that provides an Output Handler. We will assume this extension is part of our myapp application, and the extension module will be myapp.ext.ext_myoutput (or whatever you want to call it).

from cement.core import handler, output
from cement.utils.misc import minimal_logger

LOG = minimal_logger(__name__)

class MyOutputHandler(output.CementOutputHandler):
    class Meta:
        label = 'myoutput'

    def render(self, data_dict, template=None):
        LOG.debug("Rendering output via MyAppOutputHandler")
        for key in data_dict.keys():
            print "%s => %s" % (key, data_dict[key])

def load(app):

Take note of two things. One is, the LOG we are using is from cement.utils.misc.minimal_logger(__name__). Framework extensions do not use the application log handler, ever. Use the minimal_logger(), and only log to ‘DEBUG’ (recommended).

Secondly, in our extension file we need to define any interfaces, and register handlers and/or hooks if necessary. In this example we only needed to register our output handler (which happens when the extension is loaded by the application).

Last, notice that all bootstrapping code goes in a load() function. This is where registration of handlers/hooks should happen. For convenience, and certain edge cases, the app object is passed here in its current state at the time that load() is called.

You will notice that extensions are essentially the same as application plugins, however the difference is both when/how the code is loaded, as well as the purpose of that code. Framework extensions add functionality to the framework for the application to utilize, where application plugins extend the functionality of the application itself.

Loading an Extension

Extensions are loaded when setup() is called on an application. Cement automatically loads all extensions listed under the applications core_extensions and extensions meta options.

To load the above example into our application, we just add it to the list of extensions (not core extensions). Lets assume the extension code lives in myapp/ext/

from import CementApp

class MyApp(CementApp):
    class Meta:
        label = 'myapp'
        extensions = ['myapp.ext.ext_something_fancy']

with MyApp() as app:

Note that Cement provides a shortcut for Cement extensions. For example, the following:

CementApp('myapp', extensions=['json', 'daemon'])

Is equivalent to:


For non-cement extensions you need to use the full python ‘dotted’ module path.

Loading Extensions Via a Configuration File

Some use cases require that end-users are able to modify what framework extensions are loaded via a configuration file. The following gives an example of how an application can support an optional extensions configuration setting that will append extensions to CementApp.Meta.extensions.

Note that extensions loaded in this way will happen after the config handler is setup. Normally, extensions are loaded just before the configuration files are read. Therefore, some extensions may not be compatible with this method if they attempt to perform any actions before app.setup() completes (such as in early framework hooks before configuration files are loaded).

from import CementApp

class MyApp(CementApp):
    class Meta:
        label = 'myapp'
        config_files = [

def main():
    with MyApp() as app:

if __name__ == '__main__':


extensions = json, yaml

Which looks like:

$ python --help
usage: (sub-commands ...) [options ...] {arguments ...}

MyApp Does Amazing Things

optional arguments:
  -h, --help     show this help message and exit
  --debug        toggle debug output
  --quiet        suppress all output
  -o {json,yaml} output format

Note the -o command line option that are provided by Cement allowing the end user to override the output handler with the available/loaded extensions (that support this feature).