The c-lightning Plugin Series
A showcase of notable c-lightning plugins for application development on the Lightning Network
Lightning Network

The c-lightning Plugin Series

Rusty Russell

Plugin Series So Far

The list below will be updated as new articles are released.

  1. Summary: Your c-lightning node at a glance
  2. Probe: Analysis of the Lightning Network’s performance
  3. Prometheus: Powering stats for c-lightning
  4. listpayments: How to use plugins to create simple aliases
  5. Probe Results: A follow up to our Probe Plugin article

A Solid Foundation

Financial software has to be robust: solid, reliable, and well, boring. But user software has to be flashy: featureful, innovative and exciting.

The way the c-lightning team tries to square this circle is to create a solid core in a high-performance language (C) with robust, well-tested and stable APIs. Then we allow a thousand flowers to bloom around it by introducing “plugins” which work in cooperation with the c-lightning’s “lightningd”.

Users can write these plugins in whatever language they’re most comfortable with, and implement whatever #reckless ideas they can imagine.

Growing Lightning Plugin Ecosystem

The Blockstream c-lightning team have already built a tonne of plugins: the first ones are in the main source tree, but more are available in our curated repository, performing tasks such as helping with node bootstrap and probing the network. The broader Lightning community have been busy too, building cool plugins doing things such as a rebalancing plugin and an autopilot plugin.

Early pioneers of plugin development have provided feedback to us which have driven successive releases of c-lightning to add more power for plugins. In turn, plugins have become more ambitious and sophisticated. We thought it was about time to showcase some of the best, to give users an idea of what’s out there already, and inspire developers to see what’s possible!

Get Started on Developing Lightning Plugins

Blockstream developer Christian Decker will be providing a top-class primer on plugin development later today (Wed, September 4, 2019, 3:00 PM UTC) in an interactive webinar. Get registered now.

For anyone that can’t make it, a video will be released soon after on our Youtube channel.

Developer documentation for writing c-lightning plugins can also be found here.

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