Skip to main content

Developing Custom Components

projen offers a number of useful components in the projen package. However, you may want to develop your own components to encapsulate common patterns in your organization. This page describes how to develop custom components.

Extending SampleFile

The SampleFile component is a low-level component that produces a file with specific contents, but only once if the file doesn't exist. This is useful for files that you don't want to place under projen management, but that you want projen to create when the project is initialized.

Examples include:

  • Example config files that will be updated and maintained by the user

projen does not create a .gitignore file as a SampleFile because projen manages the contents of .gitignore in most projects. However, if you want to create a .gitignore file as a sample and then let teams manage them how they see fit, you can use the SampleFile component to do so.


Let's look at as an example.

import { SampleFile } from "projen";

export class ContributingFile extends SampleFile {
constructor(scope: Project) {
super(scope, "", {
contents: ["# Contributing", "", "..."].join("\n"),

This is a very basic component that creates a file with some contents. The SampleFile component will only create the file if it doesn't already exist. If the file exists, it will not be modified.

One way to make this component more useful is to allow users to specify some of the file contents. If, for example, you have boilerplate contents but you want to make sure it has things such as the project's name, author, and repository URL, you can do so by passing those values as props to the component.

import { Project, SampleFile } from "projen";

export interface ContributingFileProps {
readonly projectName: string;
readonly author: string;
readonly repository: string;

export class ContributingFile extends SampleFile {
constructor(scope: Project, props: ContributingFileProps) {
super(scope, "", {
contents: `# Contributing to [${props.projectName}](${props.repository})

On behalf of the ${props.projectName} team, welcome!


Note that in this second example, we're using JavaScript template literals to create the contents of the file instead of joining an array of strings. One of the benefits of using something like projen is that you have the full power of your programming language at your disposal. You can use any language feature you want!

Now when you create a new ContributingFile component, you can pass in the project name, author, and repository URL, which are usually required props for projen projects.

import { ContributingFile } from "./contributing-file";

new ContributingFile(this, {
projectName: "my-project",
author: "John Doe <>",
repository: "",

Extending FileBase

FileBase is projen's low-level managed file component. It will add a projen marker to the file, mark it as being projen-managed in .projen/files.json, and will update the file's contents when the project is synthesized.

Examples include:

  • .gitignore
  • Makefile


Let's look at an example of a file that is managed by projen. The use case here may be that the cybersecurity team wants to ensure that projects have a file with some basic contents. Those contents may change over time but will always be centrally controlled. Rather than copy/pasting them into every project, you can use a FileBase component to manage the file.

FileBase is considered an abstract class. It cannot be extended without implementing its abstract members. For FileBase, that means implementing the synthesizeContent method.

import { FileBase } from "projen";

export class SecurityFile extends FileBase {
public constructor(scope: IConstruct) {
super(scope, "", {
readonly: true,
executable: false,
protected synthesizeContent(_: IResolver): string | undefined {
return [
"# Security",
"## Reporting a Vulnerability",
"Please report security vulnerabilities to ...",

FileBase defaults to adding a projen marker to every file it manages. In this case, since is a public-facing file where a text marker would look out of place, we simply do not add this.marker to our synthesizeContent method return. We also want to discourage manual updates to the file, so set readonly: true as well. Finally, this is not executable, so we set executable: false.

Extending Component

Component is the base class for all projen objects. It is the most flexible component type and is used to create most of the components in the projen package.

Since a Component can be any part of projen, let's look at what needs to be implemented to create a new component. Anything else is entirely up to your needs.

export class ExampleComponent extends Component {
constructor(project: Project, id: string) {
super(project, id);

This ExampleComponent is a very basic component that does nothing. It simply extends Component and calls super in its constructor. It is part of a project, not a project itself, and requires an ID to be created.

A Component can be anything at all that you want. It can be a file, a directory, a script, or a task. It can install Doom on your refrigerator, as long as your refrigerator has a screen and you write the code to do so. It can glob through the entire contents of your project source code and send it to the OpenAI API to rewrite in a different language (please check with your company's Cybersecurity team before implementing this Component). The sky is the limit!


As an example, let's review the source code for the SampleFile component. We reviewed how to extend and use this component above, so let's see how it works.

import { writeFile } from "fs-extra";

export class SampleFile extends Component {
private readonly filePath: string;
private readonly options: SampleFileOptions;

* Creates a new SampleFile object
* @param project - the project to tie this file to.
* @param filePath - the relative path in the project to put the file
* @param options - the options for the file.
constructor(project: Project, filePath: string, options: SampleFileOptions) {

if (options.contents && options.sourcePath) {
throw new Error("Cannot specify both 'contents' and 'source' fields.");
if (!options.contents && !options.sourcePath) {
throw new Error("Must specify at least one of 'contents' or 'source'.");
this.filePath = filePath;
this.options = options;

public synthesize() {
let contents;
if (this.options.contents) {
contents = this.options.contents;
} else if (this.options.sourcePath) {
contents = fs.readFileSync(this.options.sourcePath);
contents ?? ""

* A helper function that will write the file once and return if it was written or not.
* @param dir - the directory for the new file
* @param filename - the filename for the new file
* @param contents - the contents of the file to write
* @return boolean - whether a new file was written or not.
* @private
private writeOnceFileContents(dir: string, filename: string, contents: any) {
const fullFilename = path.join(dir, filename);
if (fs.existsSync(fullFilename)) {
writeFile(fullFilename, contents, { readonly: false });

This component is a bit more complex than the ExampleComponent above, but it's still a relatively simple component. It extends Component and calls super in its constructor, only passing the project to its base class. It also has a synthesize method that is called when the project is synthesized. This method is responsible for writing the file to disk using the private writeOnceFileContents method at the end of the code block. This method will only write the file if it doesn't already exist.

The SampleFile component also has filePath and options properties. These are used to determine where the file should be written and what its contents should be. The filePath is the relative path to the file in the project. The options are passed in as a prop to the component and are used to determine the contents of the file. The options can either be a string of contents or a path to a file that contains the contents, but not both. This is enforced in the constructor.