Extending KIWI with Custom Operations



Users building images with KIWI need to implement their own infrastructure if the image description does not provide a way to embed custom information which is outside of the scope of the general schema as it is provided by KIWI today.

This document describes how to create an extension plugin for the KIWI schema to add and validate additional information in the KIWI image description.

Such a schema extension can be used in an additional KIWI task plugin to provide a new subcommand for KIWI. As of today there is no other plugin interface except for providing additional KIWI commands implemented.

Depending on the demand for custom plugins, the interface to hook in code into other parts of the KIWI processing needs to be extended.

This description applies for version 9.4.3.

The <extension> Section

The main KIWI schema supports an extension section which allows to specify any XML structure and attributes as long as they are connected to a namespace. According to this any custom XML structure can be implemented like the following example shows:

    <extension xmlns:my_plugin="http://www.my_plugin.com">
            <my_plugin:title name="cool stuff"/>
  • Any toplevel namespace must exist only once
  • Multiple different toplevel namespaces are allowed, e.g my_plugin_a, my_plugin_b

RELAX NG Schema for the Extension

If an extension section is found, KIWI looks up its namespace and asks the main XML catalog for the schema file to validate the extension data. The schema file must be a RELAX NG schema in the .rng format. We recommend to place the schema as /usr/share/xml/kiwi/my_plugin.rng

For the above example the RELAX NG Schema in the compressed format my_plugin.rnc would look like this:

namespace my_plugin = "http://www.my_plugin.com"

start =

div {
    k.my_feature.attlist = empty
    k.my_feature =
        element my_plugin:my_feature {
            k.my_feature.attlist &

div {
    k.title.name.attribute =
        attribute name { text }
    k.title.attlist = k.title.name.attribute
    k.title =
        element my_plugin:title {

In order to convert this schema to the .rng format just call:

$ trang -I rnc -O rng my_plugin.rnc /usr/share/xml/kiwi/my_plugin.rng

Extension Schema in XML catalog

As mentioned above the mapping from the extension namespace to the correct RELAX NG schema file is handled by a XML catalog file. The XML catalog for the example use here looks like this:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<catalog xmlns="urn:oasis:names:tc:entity:xmlns:xml:catalog">

For resolving the catalog KIWI uses the xmlcatalog command and the main XML catalog from the system which is /etc/xml/catalog.


It depends on the distribution and its version how the main catalog gets informed about the existence of the KIWI extension catalog file. Please consult the distribution manual about adding XML catalogs.

If the following command provides the information to the correct RELAX NG schema file you are ready for a first test:

$ xmlcatalog /etc/xml/catalog http://www.my_plugin.com

Using the Extension

In order to test your extension place the example extension section from the beginning of this document into one of your image description’s config.xml file

The following example will read the name attribute from the title section of the my_feature root element and prints it:

import logging

from kiwi.xml_description import XMLDescription

description = XMLDescription('path/to/kiwi/XML/config.xml')

my_plugin = description.get_extension_xml_data('my_plugin')