Working with Plugins#

The OpenMDAO plugin infrastructure provides a way for you to discover and use code that can extend the functionality of OpenMDAO.

Discovery of Plugins#

Before you can use a plugin, you have to know that it exists, There are a couple of places on the web where you might find OpenMDAO plugins. The first is github. Github repositories can have topics associated with them. These are basically like keywords. You can type a topic into the github search field at the top of the main page. If you choose All Github as your search scope, you should then see a page with a table showing different searching sub-scopes. Look for Topics in that table and select it. The topic will be displayed on the right along with the number of repositories found that match that topic. If you then click on that topic link you’ll be taken to a page containing a list of links to repositories that have that topic. The table below gives a list of openmdao-related topics and what type of plugin a repository labelled with that topic should contain:

Topic Search String

Repo Should Contain


anything openmdao related


















command line tool


report generator

The openmdao find_plugins command was created to make this process a little easier. To use the tool, just specify the type of plugin you’re looking for, or you can look for anything associated with openmdao by just specifying ‘openmdao’. The allowed plugin types are any of the topic search strings shown in the table above with the openmdao_ prefix removed, so for example, you could look for drivers using the following command:

openmdao find_plugins driver

The command will display the name and URL of any repositories that it finds. Depending upon the structure of a given repository, it may be possible to install the python package contained in that repository directly from github using only the URL. For example:

pip install git+

Even if it is possible to install the package directly from github, it’s still a good idea, now that you know the name of the package, to check to see if that package exists on the Python Package Index, also known as PyPI. If so, it may be safer to install it from there, since the git version may be in between releases and may not be as stable as the PyPI version.

As just mentioned, another place on the web where OpenMDAO plugins may be found is on PyPI. If you type openmdao into the search field, any python packages on PyPI with openmdao in their name or summary will be displayed.

Plugin Installation#

Since openmdao plugins are contained in python packages, you just install the python package and, assuming that the package author specified the necessary openmdao plugin entry points, any openmdao plugins contained in that python package will be properly registered with the framework.

Viewing Installed Plugins#

Once a package containing plugins has been installed in your python environment, you can list all of the registered openmdao plugins using the openmdao list_installed command .