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Version: 2.0-deprecated


We use extensions to help us isolate and package groups of related features. Extensions provide functionality, ui components, and new behaviors. Ideally, they're built in a way that allows them to extend entirely different implementations of the @ohif/viewer project.


The @ohif/viewer's application level configuration gives us the ability to add and configure extensions. When the application starts, extensions are registered with the ExtensionManager. Different portions of the @ohif/viewer project will use registered extensions to influence application behavior.

Extensions allow us to:

  • Wrap and integrate functionality of 3rd party dependencies in a reusable way
  • Change how application data is mapped and transformed
  • Display a consistent/cohesive UI
  • Inject custom components to override built-in components

Practical examples of extensions include:


Extension Skeleton

An extension is a plain JavaScript object that has an id property, and one or more modules and/or lifecycle hooks.

// prettier-ignore
export default {
* Only required property. Should be a unique value across all extensions.
id: 'example-extension',

// Lifecycle
preRegistration() { /* */ },
// Modules
getCommandsModule() { /* */ },
getToolbarModule() { /* */ },
getPanelModule() { /* */ },
getSopClassHandler() { /* */ },
getViewportModule() { /* */ },

Registering an Extension

There are two different ways to register and configure extensions: At runtime and at build time.

You can leverage one or both strategies. Which one(s) you choose depend on your application's requirements. Each module defined by the extension becomes available to the core application via the ExtensionManager.

Registering at Runtime

The @ohif/viewer uses a configuration file at startup. The schema for that file includes an Extensions key that supports an array of extensions to register.

// prettier-ignore
const config = {
extensions: [
{ /* MySecondExtensions Configuration */ },

Registering at Build Time

The @ohif/viewer works best when built as a "Progressive Web Application" (PWA). If you know the extensions your application will need, you can specify them at "build time" to leverage advantages afforded to us by modern tooling:

  • Code Splitting (dynamic imports)
  • Tree Shaking
  • Dependency deduplication

You can update the list of bundled extensions by:

  1. Having your @ohif/viewer project depend on the extension
  2. Importing and adding it to the list of extensions in the <repo-root>/platform/src/index.js entrypoint.

Lifecycle Hooks

Currently, there is only a single lifecycle hook for extensions: preRegistration

If an extension defines the preRegistration lifecycle hook, it is called before any modules are registered in the ExtensionManager. It's most commonly used to wire up extensions to services and commands, and to bootstrap 3rd party libraries.


Modules are the meat of extensions. They provide "definitions", components, and filtering/mapping logic that are then made available by various managers and services.

Each module type has a special purpose, and is consumed by our viewer differently.

CommandsAdds named commands, scoped to a context, to the CommandsManagersetToolActive(), nextSeries()
PanelAdds left or right hand side panels<ThumbnailList />, <MeasurementsTable />
SOPClassHandlerDetermines how retrieved study data is split into "DisplaySets"getDisplaySetFromSeries()
ToolbarAdds buttons or custom components to the toolbarToolbar button, nested buttons, custom
ViewportAdds a component responsible for rendering a "DisplaySet"<CornerstoneViewport />, <DicomPdfViewport />
Tbl. Module types with abridged descriptions and examples. Each module links to a dedicated documentation page.


The @ohif/viewer tracks "active contexts" that extensions can use to scope their functionality. Some example contexts being:


An extension module can use these to say "Only show this Toolbar Button if the active viewport is a Cornerstone viewport." This helps us use the appropriate UI and behaviors depending on the current contexts.

For example, if we have hotkey that "rotates the active viewport", each Viewport module that supports this behavior can add a command with the same name, scoped to the appropriate context. When the command is fired, the "active contexts" are used to determine the appropriate implementation of the rotate behavior.

Consuming Extensions

We consume extensions, via the ExtensionManager, in our @ohif/viewer project.

const extensionManager = new ExtensionManager({

// prettier-ignore
extensionManager.registerExtensions([ /** **/ ]);

The @ohif/viewer project handles data fetching, basic routing, wires up UI services, and is the home to the more bespoke application logic that doesn't make as much sense to make reusable.

Long-term, replacing the @ohif/viewer application and consuming extensions (and the ExtensionManager) in your own project is the ideal path for applications requiring a high degree of customization that can't be achieved with current theming, configuration, extension, and services support.

If you're not sure how to achieve your goals with the extensibility available today, create a GitHub issue!


The ExtensionManager is a class made available to us via the @ohif/core project (platform/core). Our application instantiates a single instance of it, and provides a ServicesManager and CommandsManager along with the application's configuration through the appConfig key (optional).

const commandsManager = new CommandsManager();
const servicesManager = new ServicesManager();
const extensionManager = new ExtensionManager({

The ExtensionManager only has a few public members:

  • registerExtension - Registers a single extension
  • registerExtensions - Registers an array of extensions
  • modules - An object containing registered extensions by MODULE_TYPE

During registration, lifecycle hooks and modules have access to the extension's config, the application's config and ExtensionManager's ServicesManager and CommandsManager instances.

Our @ohif/viewer uses the modules member to access registered extensions at appropriate places in our application.

Maintained Extensions

A small number of powerful extensions for popular use cases are maintained by OHIF. They're co-located in the OHIF/Viewers repository, in the top level extensions/ directory.

CornerstoneA viewport powered by cornerstone.js. Adds support for 2D DICOM rendering and manipulation, as well as support for the tools features in cornerstone-tools. Also adds "CINE Dialog" to the Toolbar.Viewport, Toolbar
VTK.jsA viewport powered by vtk.js. Adds support for volume renderings and advanced features like MPR. Also adds "3D Rotate" to the Toolbar.Viewport, Toolbar
DICOM HTMLRenders text and HTML content for specific SopClassUIDs.Viewport, SopClassHandler
DICOM PDFRenders PDFs for a specific SopClassUID.Viewport, SopClassHandler
DICOM MicroscopyRenders Microscopy images for a specific SopClassUID.Viewport, SopClassHandler
DICOM SegmentationRenders segmentation images for a specific SopClassUID.Panel, Toolbar