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Adding Live Templates to a Plugin

This tutorial illustrates how to add default Custom Live Templates to an Consulo plugin, and assign valid contexts for these templates based on the surrounding code and file type. In addition, the tutorial discusses how to export existing Live Templates, and bundle them within a plugin. Any Live Template that can be created and exported can be added to a plugin by following the Template Creation, Export, and Extension Point Registration processes.

This tutorial uses the SDK code sample live_templates.

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Template Creation

Get started by creating a new Live Template within the Consulo-based IDE: * Add a new Template Group, "Markdown" and create a new Live Template under this group. * Assign the template the abbreviation "{". * Assign the description "SDK: New link reference". * Paste the following snippet into the Template text field:


The variables $TEXT$ and $LINK$ may be further configured in the Edit variables dialogue to reorder their precedence and bind to functions that invoke auto-completion at the appropriate time. In the Edit variables dialog, set the Expression for the LINK to complete() using the combobox.

There are many other predefined functions that developers should become familiar with before implementing any unique functionality in a plugin.

TIP Consider iteratively testing the Live Template using the current editor and a markdown file to minimize debugging later.

Export the Live Template

Once the Live Template produces the expected result, export the Live Template. The export produces a file called Markdown.xml with the following contents:

<templateSet group="Markdown">
  <template name="{"
            description="SDK: New link reference"
    <variable name="TEXT" expression="" defaultValue="" alwaysStopAt="true" />
    <variable name="LINK" expression="complete()" defaultValue="" alwaysStopAt="true" />

The display name can also provide localized variants by specifying key and resource-bundle attributes additionally (2020.3 and later).

Copy this file into the plugin's resources folder.

Implement TemplateContextType

A TemplateContextType tells the Consulo where the Live Template is applicable: Markdown files. Every context must have a unique TemplateContextType defined for it, and many context types are defined by the Platform. The MarkdownContext class defines it for Markdown files. Ultimately, a file's extension determines the applicable Markdown context.

{% include /code_samples/live_templates/src/main/java/org/intellij/sdk/liveTemplates/}

NOTE Once the MarkdownContext is defined, be sure to add the new context type to the previously created Live Template settings file.

Within the <template>...</template> elements in the Markdown.xml Live Template definition file, add the following context elements:

      <option name="MARKDOWN" value="true"/>

It is not always necessary to define your own TemplateContextType, as there are many existing template contexts already defined in the Consulo. Consider reusing one of the many existing template context types that inherit from TemplateContextType if you are augmenting language support to an existing area.

Completing the Live Template Implementation

Depending on the version of the Consulo, different steps are used to complete the implementation of the feature.

Versions 2020.1 and Later

For 2020.1 and later, follow this section to register the extension points and then proceed to the Check Plugin section.

Register Extension Points

Using the com.intellij.defaultLiveTemplates and com.intellij.liveTemplateContext extension points, register the implementations with the Consulo. The file attribute in the defaultLiveTemplates element specifies path/filename under the src/main/resources folder.

  <extensions defaultExtensionNs="com.intellij">
    <defaultLiveTemplates file="/liveTemplates/Markdown.xml"/>
    <liveTemplateContext implementation="org.intellij.sdk.liveTemplates.MarkdownContext"/>

Now go to the Check Plugin section to test the template.

Versions 2019.3 and Earlier

For older versions of the Consulo follow this section to complete the implementation and register the extension points. Then proceed to the Check Plugin section.

Implement DefaultLiveTemplatesProvider

The MarkdownTemplateProvider tells the Platform where to find the Live Template settings file. Make sure to include the full path to the file, relative to the src/main/resources directory, excluding the file extension.

package org.intellij.sdk.liveTemplates;

import com.intellij.codeInsight.template.impl.DefaultLiveTemplatesProvider;
import org.jetbrains.annotations.Nullable;

public class MarkdownTemplateProvider implements DefaultLiveTemplatesProvider {
  public String[] getDefaultLiveTemplateFiles() {
    return new String[]{"liveTemplates/Markdown"};

  public String[] getHiddenLiveTemplateFiles() {
    return null;

Register Extension Points

Using the com.intellij.defaultLiveTemplatesProvider and com.intellij.liveTemplateContext extension points, register the implementations with the Consulo.

  <extensions defaultExtensionNs="com.intellij">
    <defaultLiveTemplatesProvider implementation="org.intellij.sdk.liveTemplates.MarkdownTemplateProvider"/>
    <liveTemplateContext implementation="org.intellij.sdk.liveTemplates.MarkdownContext"/>

Check Plugin

Now verify the plugin is working correctly. Run the plugin in a Development Instance and verify there is a new entry under Settings/Preferenes | Live Templates | Markdown | { (SDK: New link reference).

Finally, create a new file and confirm that the Live Template works by entering a { character and then pressing Tab.