I wrote this post after finishing my first ST package, a simple chunk of code that sorts comma-separted lists.

Writing the Package

A Sublime Text package consists of, at the very least, a Python module with a class that inherits from one of the sublime_plugin classes, like TextCommand.


If you want to expose settings that the user can modify, you will need a .sublime-settings file. The convention is to name it <package_name>.sublime-settings. Users can override it by simply placing a file with the same name in their Packages/User directory.

// SortList.sublime-settings
  "start_list_chars": "[{(<",
  "end_list_chars": "]})>"


If your package is interactive in any way, it’s advisable to include a Default.sublime-commands file, so that users can discover how to use your package via the Command Palette. A common way to name captions for your commands is <package_name>: <command_description>.

// Default.sublime-commands
  { "caption": "SortList: Sort List", "command": "sort_list" }

The value of the command key is derived from the name of one your package’s commands, i.e. a class that inherits from ApplicationCommand, WindowCommand or TextCommand.

Key Bindings

If you want to include default key bindings to commands provided by your package, you need to include Default.sublime-keymap.

// Default.sublime-keymap
  { "keys": ["ctrl+alt+shift+s"], "command": "sort_list" },

If you want platform-specific key bindings, you can override Default.sublime-keymap with Default (OSX|Linux|Windows).sublime-keymap, for example to use the super key on OSX.

NOTE: Make sure your key bindings don’t override any of the default key bindings on any platform. If they do your package will be rejected. On OSX, you can find these key bindings in the these files: ~/Library/Application Support/Sublime Text 3/Packages/Default/Default (OSX|Linux|Windows).sublime-keymap.


Here’s what the project directory for SortList looks like. The class SortListCommand, which inherits from sublime_plugin.TextCommand, is defined in sort_list.py. It’s picked up automatically by ST because it’s in the root of the package.

├── Default.sublime-keymap
├── Main.sublime-commands
├── README.md
├── demo
│   └── sort.gif
├── sort_list.py
├── SortList.sublime-settings
├── sorted_string.py
└── tests
    ├── __init__.py
    └── test_sorted_string.py

Distribution via Package Control

Most of the info in this section comes from the Package Control docs, which are excellent. This is less general and based on my experience.

To make your package downloadable via Package Control, fork package_control_channel, and add the following to repository/<letter>.json, where <letter> is the first letter in the name of your package:

// repository/s.json
    "name": "SortList",
    "details": "https://github.com/kylebebak/sublime_sort_list",
    "releases": [
            "sublime_text": "*",
            "tags": true
// ...

The above config indicates your package works for all platforms and all versions of Sublime Text. The details field must point to your package’s GitHub repo. The name field will be the name of your package on Package Control, regardless of the name of your GitHub repo or the top-level module that runs your package.

Naming your Package

Package Control recommends you use camel case or underscores in your package name. Because you can name your package’s GitHub repo anything, you might choose to give it a name that alludes to the fact it’s a Sublime Text package, like sublime-<package_name>, but don’t include any variation of “sublime” in your actual package name. All Sublime Text packages are obviously, well, Sublime Text packages. Including “sublime” in the package name adds noise and makes it less likely that people will think you are a h4x0r.

ChannelRepositoryTools and package_reviewer

To make sure you pull requests for package_control_channel is valid, install the ChannelRepositoryTools package. Open package_control_channel in Sublime Text and run ChannelRepositoryTools: Test Default Channel from the command palette.

Also, be aware that a tool called package_reviewer will be run against your package. If it raises any errors, your package will be rejected. You can download and run this tool yourself, or you see a list of such errors in the package_reviewer wiki.

Release a Version

Before you submit your pull request to package_control_channel, make sure you have pushed at least one semver compliant tag to your package’s repo. When someone searches for your package by invoking Package Control: Install Package, the description will be pulled from your repo, so make sure to give your repo a sensible, succinct description.

Now, submit your pull request. The Package Control maintainers will vet your package and give you feedback. Once you’ve worked through any issues your package may have, and everything looks good to the maintainers, they will merge your pull request, and your package will be available on Package Control.

If you need to update your package, push another tag to your package’s repo to create a new release. People searching for your package will see the latest release.

Fancier Packages

Update: I recently wrote Requester, an HTTP client built on top of Requests. Checking out this package is a good way to learn more about ST’s developer API.

If you want to get really serious, check out GitSavvy, one of the best packages for ST3. It’s a monument to engineering, and it incorporates almost everything in the API.