Skip to main content

Extending The Wing Compiler: Plugin Design and Hooks

Compiler plugins are used to extend the Wing compiler. They can be used to customize to the compilation output such as infrastructure definitions. For example, you can use a compiler plugin to enforce a tagging convention on all resources in the resulting infrastructure.

Plugin design

A compiler plugin is a JavaScript file that exports multiple functions (called hooks). These hooks are called by the compiler at various points during compilation.

Each hook is provided some context object that allows the plugin to hook into the compilation process and apply customizations.

A single plugin can implement any number of hooks. However, it is recommended to only implement the hooks that are needed.

Compilation hooks

The compiler offers hooks that can be used to customize its behavior at various points during the compilation process.

preSynth hook

API Reference

preSynth(app: Construct): void;

This hook is called before the compiler begins to synthesize. In the context of a Terraform-based target like tf-aws, this hook will have access to the root node of the construct tree. This allows the plugin to add or change CDK for Terraform constructs before the tree is synthesized.

The following example adds a bucket to the root node (note this plugin is intended to be used with the tf-aws target).

const s3_bucket = require("@cdktf/provider-aws/lib/s3-bucket");

// exports the preSynth function
exports.preSynth = function(app) {
// app is the root node of the construct tree
new s3_bucket.S3Bucket(app, "MyPluginBucket", {
bucket: "my-plugin-bucket",

postSynth hook

API Reference

postSynth(config: any): any;

This hook runs after artifacts were synthesized. When compiling to a Terraform-based target like tf-aws, the hook will have access to the raw Terraform JSON configuration, allowing for manipulation of the JSON that is written to the compiled output directory.

This hook is useful for adding customizations that can not be applied in the context of the preSynth hook. Its worth noting that this is not meant as a validation phase since the config is still mutable by subsequent plugins.

The following example manipulates the Terraform configuration to use a S3 backend. For brevity, the example uses hard coded values. In practice these could be configured through environment variables, class constructors, configuration files, etc.

// exports the postSynth function
exports.postSynth = function(config) {
config.terraform.backend = {
s3: {
bucket: "my-wing-state-bucket",
key: "plugins-rock.tfstate",
region: "us-east-1",
return config;

validate hook

API Reference

validate(config: any): void;

This hook is called right after the postSynth hook and provided the same context object. In the context of a Terraform-based target like tf-aws, this is the same Terraform JSON configuration. However, does not allow configuration to be mutated, which allows plugins to validate the configuration without worrying about another plugin mutating after the fact.

The following example validates that buckets all have versioning enabled and throw an error during compilation if they don't.

// exports the validate function
exports.validate = function(config) {
for (const bucketEntry of Object.keys(config.resource.aws_s3_bucket)) {
const bucket = config.resource.aws_s3_bucket[bucketEntry];
if (!bucket.versioning.enabled) {
throw new Error(`Bucket ${bucketEntry} does not have versioning enabled`);

Plugin names

Another optional feature of plugins is the ability to specify a name. By default the compiler will use the absolute path of a plugin when displaying diagnostic messages. Take for example the following plugin:

exports.preSynth = function(app) {
// something went oops here
throw new Error("oops");

this will result in the following error message:

preflight error: Plugin "/some/absolute/path/to/plugin/oops-plugin.js" failed, during "preSynth". cause: oops

In this case we could choose to export a name for the plugin that will be used in diagnostic messages. To export a name just add = 'my-oopsie-plugin';

Then the resulting error message would be:

preflight error: Plugin "my-oopsie-plugin" failed, during "preSynth". cause: oops