Extensions Platform Beta Release

Today the extensions platform becomes generally available in the development version of Blender, and is on track to be officially available in the upcoming Blender 4.2 LTS, to be released in July.

When opening Blender’s preferences, the “Add-ons” section has been replaced by “Extensions”. After explicit authorization to connect to the extensions.blender.org server, a listing of add-ons and themes will be available. It is now possible to install, enable and update them directly from this interface.

Add-ons and themes that shipped with Blender have been moved to the online platform and their source code is now hosted at projects.blender.org. Authors of those add-ons and themes are encouraged to claim ownership by reaching on the DevTalk forum.

Blender Extensions

Extensions are add-ons, themes, and potentially anything else that can extend Blender’s native functionality (e.g. key maps, assets). An extension is an archive (.zip) containing the files and a manifest with metadata such as license, copyright, permissions, useful links, etc. An extension can be manually installed in Blender through the preferences interface, using drag-and-drop or via extension repositories (see below).

Creating a new extension, or converting an existing add-on or theme is simple and well documented at docs.blender.org.

Extensions introduce the concept of permissions for add-ons, with the goal of making users more aware of the behavior of an add-on which might require file system or internet access. This is not a security-oriented feature, rather a way for developers to be more transparent about their intentions.

Repositories

Repositories are how extensions are made available in Blender. By default, Blender offers a local repository (to manage and install extensions without any online connectivity, similar to previous Blender versions) and an online repository (extensions.blender.org). Staying true to the principle that Blender won’t connect to the Internet by default, this repository must be manually enabled the first time in order to be used.

Extensions manager in the Blender user preferences

More repositories can be added via the Repositories popover. Developers interested in setting up their own repository (for example to offer commercial add-ons) can check the extensions platform source code, as well as the specs for the listing API are available in the developer docs. Optionally they can host a single JSON file listing all the packages of the repository.

Interface to manage extension repositories within Blender

The Extensions Platform

The reference implementation for extension repositories is the official extensions.blender.org website. Besides hosting the add-ons and themes available in Blender’s previous releases, its goal is to host free community-maintained extensions.

This is a community platform, which relies on a public review and approval process. Reviewers are welcome to check out the Approval Queue, join the extension-moderators chat and test and validate extensions.

Credits

A bit of history: after the initial announcement and proof of concept from 2022, design and development has been prioritized since the beginning of 2024. While the initial goal was to provide an online platform hosting Blender add-ons, themes and key maps, the scope of the project was expanded to integrate the platform in Blender itself, providing a better user experience.

Thanks to the key contributors to this project, in order of appearance:

  • Anna Sirota
  • Pablo Vazquez
  • Dalai Felinto
  • Campbell Barton
  • Oleg Komarov
  • Márton Lente
  • Nika Kutsniashvili
  • Victor Chedeville

Special thanks to the whole Blender developers community and early contributors for helping to reach this major milestone.

12 comments
  1. Please create a package of all the old 4.1 addons.
    So that it can be downloaded and connected as a local repository.

  2. Does the extensions platform support several recent versions of the addon for different versions of Blender?

    For example:
    1. There is an addon version 2.5.1 for Blender 4.2 LTS, and version 2.6.5 for Blender 4.5.
    2. I fixed a bug and created version 2.5.2 for Blender 4.2 LTS, and version 2.6.6 for Blender 4.5.

    Will it be possible to upload these two versions (2.5.2 and 2.6.6) to the extensions platform or only the latest one (2.6.6)?
    Will Blender 4.2 LTS download the latest version for itself (2.5.2) or the global latest (2.6.6)?

  3. Since the Blender team now decides which add-ons get turned into core and shipped with the software, I assume such features can no longer be disabled/hidden from the UI.

    How do you plan to avoid bloating the user interface with features deemed core that some users would prefer to disable or hide? A prime example would be VR.

  4. How does this coexist with the philosophy of blender about not requiring internet access, addons could access internet but just after user specify it.
    This extension platform as an addon its a great idea but as a build in feature, im not sure how to feel about.

    https://www.blender.org/about/license/
    “no connection to the internet is made if you decide to install and use Blender”
    “Some add-ons bundled with Blender may access the internet for additional services. These add-ons are not enabled on installing Blender. These add-ons are not required to be enabled for proper functioning of the software, nor will any Blender function ask for enabling such add-ons.”

    • By default, Blender still does not require any internet connectivity. Online repository have to be explicitly enabled by the user. The text might need to be tweaked (to reflect that add-ons do not ship with Blender by default), but the core message is still true. You can also check out the Extensions platform terms of service here: https://extensions.blender.org/terms-of-service/.

  5. Will the addons that previously shipped with Blender (although not enabled, yet) still be included in the application, or will an internet connection be required to download say, Node Wrangler, or other basic utilities?

  6. Do you have any plans to make an online Asset Library?
    For Materials, Textures, GN Modifiers, GN Tools, MatCap, HDRI, Brushes, and others.

    • Yes, the topic of remote asset libraries has been taken into account when developing extension repositories. Updates on this are coming later.

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