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Developing extensions


To set up an development environment, follow the instructions under local installation to create a local copy or fork of the quickstart repository. As an IDE, we recommend to use VSCode with the Postman, ESLint, Prettier, Tailwind, and Vue extensions.


The repository is structured as follows:

  • collectivo - Your custom extension of Collectivo
  • directus - Database & data studio
  • keycloak - Identity & access management

For more information on the directory structure within /collectivo, check out Nuxt.


The collectivo/server/ directory can be used to register your extension, define database schemas, and create API endpoints. For more information, see Nuxt server/ directory.

Register your extension

To register an extension within Collectivo, use registerExtension(). Here, you can also add database schemas and example data.

import pkg from "../../package.json";
import examples from "../examples/examples";
import mySchema from "../schemas/mySchema";

export default defineNitroPlugin(() => {
        name: "myExtension",
        description: pkg.description,
        version: pkg.version,
        schemas: [mySchema],
        examples: examples,

The extension name hast to be unique and will be used by database. It should not include any underscores (_) and it is not possible to register to extensions with the same name.

Understand migrations

Migrations between schemas can be run via the Nuxt API endpoint /api/migrate/. Extensions can define a schema for each version. E.g. a schema can be for version 0.0.1 of the core extension collectivo. A migration script can be run both before and after applying each schema version.

Migration flow

Migration requests must be authorized with the COLLECTIVO_API_TOKEN from .env.

The following parameters can be passed:

  • extension (string) - Apply migrations of a specific extension. If not given, all extensions will be migrated.
  • version (string) - Apply schemas towards specified version. If not given, migration will run up to the latest version.
  • examples (boolean) - Create example data (default false).
  • isolated (boolean) - Apply only the specified schema (if version is passed) or example data (if no version passed).

Here is an example to prepare a new system for local development (the same code is run by pnpm seed):

curl --header "Authorization: badToken" --request POST "http://localhost:3000/api/migrate/?examples=true"

This cURL command can also be imported with an HTTP client like the VSCode Postman extension.

Create a database schema

An extension can define collections and fields for the database.

Create a new schema file in collectivo/server/schemas and use initschema() to create a new ExtensionSchema. Set the name and version for your schema to the name and current version of your extension in package.json.

const schema = initSchema("myExtension", "0.0.1");

schema.collections = [
        collection: "example_collection",
        schema: { name: "example_collection" },

schema.fields = [
        collection: "example_collection",
        field: "example_field",
        type: "string",
        schema: {},
        meta: {},


  • The types for the schema follow the Directus SDK
  • Database collections and fields should start with the name of the extension followed by an underscore to avoid name conflicts with other extensions. E.g. myExtension_myCollection and myExtension_myField.
  • You can also add fields to collections that are not part of your extensions, like directus_users.

Create example data

This function can be used to create example data for your extension:

import { createItem, deleteItems } from "@directus/sdk";

export default async function examples() {
    const directus = await useDirectusAdmin();

    await directus.request(deleteItems("example_collection", { limit: 1000 }));

    await directus.request(
        createItem("example_collection", {
            example_field: "example_value",

Create hooks

A hook is an automated workflow that can be used to trigger a Nuxt endpoint when a certain database event occures.

To set up a hook, add a directus flow trigger to your schema:

const schema = initSchema("example", "0.0.1");
        name: "example_flow",
        status: "active",
        accountability: "all",
        trigger: "event",
        options: {
            type: "action",
            scope: ["items.update"],
            collections: ["example_collection"],

The following flow will call the api/example script whenever an item in the example_collection is updated.

For more information on directus flows, see Directus Flows.

Then, create a correspondig Nuxt endpoint:

export default defineEventHandler(async (event) => {
    // Protect this route with the .env variable COLLECTIVO_API_TOKEN
    // Run your script here

For more information on nuxt endpoints, see Nuxt API.

If Directus cannot reach Nuxt in development mode, make sure that the Nuxt dev server is called with dev --host.


Adjust the theme

Collectivo uses tailwindcss and nuxt-ui for styling and components. The theme can be adapted in tailwind.config.ts and app.config.ts. The main layout can be overwritten by creating a file collectivo/layouts/default (see Nuxt layouts).

Use icons

Collectivo uses UIcon and Iconify to load icons. They have to be defined as i-{collection_name}-{icon_name}. By default, Collectivo uses the HeroIcons library. Additional libraries can be defined in nuxt.config.ts.

Add a page

You can add custom pages in collectivo/pages/. It is recommended to use a namespace for your extension, such as collectivo/pages/myextension/mypage. This page will then be reachable under http://localhost:3000/myextension/mypage. For more information, see Nuxt pages.

To only allow authenticated users on a page, add the following middleware to the setup script. If Keycloak is used, this will forward people directly to Keycloak, using Directus' Seamless SSO feature.

    middleware: ["auth"],

To change the title on your page, use setCollectivoTitle():


Add a menu item

Use useCollectivoMenus() to add menu items. Use a [Nuxt plugin] to register the menu item when the app is initialized.

export default defineNuxtPlugin(() => {
  const menu = useCollectivoMenus();
    label: "My menu item",
    icon: "i-heroicons-star",
    to: "/myextension/mypage",
    order: 100

There are two menus by default:

  • main: Shown for authenticated users.
  • public: Shown for unauthenticated users.

Create a dashboard tile

Tiles are defined in the database collection collectivo_tiles. If you want your tile to just display text, you can simply create a new dashboard tile in the database. You can also create dynamic components that can be displayed inside a dashboard tile. To do so, create a new component file components/global/. Then, add a new dashboard tile to your database and set the field Component to the name of your tile.

Further topics

Add database types

To add types of your database schema to the directus client, corresponding to your database schema on the backend:

declare global {
    interface CollectivoSchema {
        example_collection: ExampleCollection[];

    interface ExampleCollection {
        id: number;
        example_field: string;

export {};

You can then enjoy type checking when using directus:

const directus = useDirectus();
const data = await directus.request(readItems("example_collection"));

Typescript will then know that data is a ExampleCollection[] and that data[0].example_field is a string.

Publish your extension as a package

You can share your custom functionality with others by creating an extension of Collectivo as an npm package. The code within /collectivo will then be packaged as a Layer that can be installed as an extension by other users of Collectivo.

To do so, configure the name, version, author, and license in collectivo/package.json and set private:false.

It is recommended to start the package name with collectivo- to make it easier to find by others users of Collectivo, e.g.: collectivo-my-extension.

Then, publish your extension on npm.

pnpm publish -r --access=public

Format your code

Run the following commands to ensure a consistent style in your code. You can install the Prettier and ESLint extensions in VSCode to do this automatically.

  • To run linting checks, use: pnpm lint
  • To apply linting to all files, use: pnpm lint:fix
  • To run formatting checks, use: pnpm format
  • To apply formatting to all files, use: pnpm format:fix