App packaging

The purpose of this document is to teach you how to package an application for YunoHost.

This page is outdated and should be reworked


To package an application, here are the requirements:

  • An account on a Git server (e.g. GitHub) to publish the application;
  • Basic knowledge of Git, bash shell and other programming stuff;
  • A testing virtual machine or a distant server or VirtualBox, to package and test the package. Alternatively you can also use ynh-dev, it is meant for the core but can totally be used for developping apps, but be aware that for now the documentation on this part is lacking.


A YunoHost package is composed of:

  • A manifest.json file
  • A scripts directory, which contains five Shell scripts: install, remove, upgrade, backup and restore
  • Optional directories, containing sources or conf files
  • A LICENSE file containing the license of the package
  • A presentation page of your package in a file

feel free to use it as a framework.



Architecture and arguments

Since YunoHost has a unified architecture, you will be able to guess most of the settings you need. But if you need variable ones, like the domain or web path, you will have to ask the administrator at installation (see arguments section in the manifest above).

NGINX configuration



YunoHost provides a hook system, which is accessible via the packager's script callbacks in command line. The scripts have to be placed in the hooks repository at the root of the YunoHost package, and must be named priority-hook_name, for example: hooks/50-post_user_create will be executed after each user creation.

Note: priority is optional, default is 50.

Take a look at the Nextcloud package for a working example.


Test it!

In order to test your package, you can execute your script standalone as admin (do not forget to append required arguments):

su - admin -c "/bin/bash /path/to/my/script my_arg1 my_arg2"

Or you can use command line:

yunohost app install /path/to/my/app/package

Note that it also works with a Git URL:

yunohost app install

Packaging best practices

Here is a list of best practices for application install scripts:

  • scripts should use sudo cp -a ../sources/. $final_path instead of sudo cp -a ../sources/* $final_path;
  • install script must contain support in case of script errors to delete residuals files thanks to set -e and trap;
  • install script should use the command-line method instead of calls to curl through web install form;
  • install script should save install answers;
  • application sources should be checked with a control sum (sha256, sha1 or md5) or a PGP signature;
  • scripts should be tested on Debian Buster 32 bits, 64 bits and ARM architectures;
  • backup and restore scripts should be present and functional.

To be define the quality of a package, it'll obtained a level, determined according to somes criteria of installation and according to respect to package guidelines.

Package script checker

This Python script checks:

  • that the package is up to date wich last specifications
  • that all files are present
  • that the manifest doesn't have syntax errors
  • that scripts exit well before modifing the system during verification.

Continuous integration

A continuous integration server is available for packagers who want to test their apps.

Publish and ask for testing your application

  • Publishing a post on the Forum in the Discuss > Apps category, to ask for testing and feedback on your application.

  • If your application is released under a free software license, you may ask the YunoHost app team to integrate your application to the app repository (c.f. also the app list). You can add your application even if it is not stable or working yet : the current state can be specified to notworking, inprogress, or working.

  • If your application is not free software, then in the future, a non-official list might be created to handle them but is non-existent yet.

Officalization of an application

!! This section is obsolete as of 08/03/19 - The project's organization regarging this point is to be changed.

To become an official application, it must be tested well enough, be stable and should work on Debian Buster 64 bits, 32 bits and ARM architectures. If you think those conditions are met, ask for official integration of your application.

Found errors? Think you can improve this documentation? Simply click the Edit link at the top of the page, and then the icon on Github to suggest changes.