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Version: Version 3.0 🚧


We have re-designed the architecture of the OHIF-v3 to enable building applications that are easily extensible to various use cases (modes) that behind the scene would utilize desired functionalities (extensions) to reach the goal of the use case.

Previously, extensions were “additive” and could not easily be mixed and matched within the same viewer for different use cases. Previous OHIF-v2 architecture meant that any minor extension alteration usually would require the user to hard fork. E.g. removing some of the tools from the toolbar of the cornerstone extension meant you had to hard fork it, which was frustrating if the implementation was otherwise the same as master.

  • Developers should make packages of reusable functionality as extensions, and can consume publicly available extensions.
  • Any conceivable radiological workflow or viewer setup will be able to be built with the platform through modes.

Practical examples of extensions include:

Diagram showing how extensions are configured and accessed.

Extension Skeleton#

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

// prettier-ignoreexport default {  /**   * Only required property. Should be a unique value across all extensions.   */  id: 'example-extension',
  // Lifecyle  preRegistration() { /* */ },  onModeEnter() { /* */ },  onModeExit() { /* */ },  // Modules  getLayoutTemplateModule() { /* */ },  getDataSourcesModule() { /* */ },  getSopClassHandlerModule() { /* */ },  getPanelModule() { /* */ },  getViewportModule() { /* */ },  getCommandsModule() { /* */ },  getContextModule() { /* */ },  getToolbarModule() { /* */ },  getHangingProtocolModule() { /* */ },}

OHIF-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.

DefaultDefault extension provides default viewer layout, a study/series browser, and a datasource that maps to a DICOMWeb compliant backendcommandsModule, ContextModule, DataSourceModule, HangingProtocolModule, LayoutTemplateModule, PanelModule, SOPClassHandlerModule, ToolbarModule
CornerstoneProvides rendering functionalities for 2D images.ViewportModule, CommandsModule
DICOM PDFRenders PDFs for a specific SopClassUID.Viewport, SopClassHandler
DICOM SRMaintained extensions for cornerstone and visualization of DICOM Structured ReportsViewportModule, CommandsModule, SOPClassHandlerModule
Measurement trackingTracking measurements in the measurement panel ContextModule,PanelModule,ViewportModule,CommandsModule

Registering an Extension#

Extensions are building blocks that need to be registered. 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 modes via the ExtensionManager by requesting it via its id. Read more about Extension Manager

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.

import MyFirstExtension from '@ohif/extension-first';import MySecondExtension from '@ohif/extension-second';
const extensionConfig = {  /* extension configuration */};
const config = {  routerBasename: '/',  extensions: [MyFirstExtension, [MySecondExtension, extensionConfig]],  modes: [    /* modes */  ],  showStudyList: true,  dataSources: [    /* data source config */  ],};

Then, behind the scene, the runtime-added extensions will get merged with the default app extensions (note: default app extensions include: OHIFDefaultExtension, OHIFCornerstoneExtension, OHIFDICOMSRExtension, OHIFMeasurementTrackingExtension)

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 entrypoint:
import OHIFDefaultExtension from '@ohif/extension-default';import OHIFCornerstoneExtension from '@ohif/extension-cornerstone';import OHIFMeasurementTrackingExtension from '@ohif/extension-measurement-tracking';import OHIFDICOMSRExtension from '@ohif/extension-dicom-sr';import MyFirstExtension from '@ohif/extension-first';
/** Combine our appConfiguration and "baked-in" extensions */const appProps = {  config: window ? window.config : {},  defaultExtensions: [    OHIFDefaultExtension,    OHIFCornerstoneExtension,    OHIFMeasurementTrackingExtension,    OHIFDICOMSRExtension,    MyFirstExtension,  ],};

Lifecycle Hooks#

Currently, there are three lifecycle hook for extensions:

preRegistration This hook is called once on initialization of the entire viewer application, used to initialize the extensions state, and consume user defined extension configuration. 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.

onModeEnter: This hook is called whenever a new mode is entered, or a mode’s data or datasource is switched. This hook can be used to initialize data.

onModeExit: Similarly to onModeEnter, this hook is called when navigating away from a mode, or before a mode’s data or datasource is changed. This can be used to clean up data (e.g. remove annotations that do not need to be persisted)


Modules are the meat of extensions, the blocks that we have been talking about a lot. They provide "definitions", components, and filtering/mapping logic that are then made available to modes and services.

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

LayoutTemplate (NEW)Control Layout of a route
DataSource (NEW)Control the mapping from DICOM metadata to OHIF-metadata
SOPClassHandlerDetermines how retrieved study data is split into "DisplaySets"
PanelAdds left or right hand side panels
ViewportAdds a component responsible for rendering a "DisplaySet"
CommandsAdds named commands, scoped to a context, to the CommandsManager
ToolbarAdds buttons or custom components to the toolbar
ContextShared state for a workflow or set of extension module definitions
HangingProtocolAdds hanging protocol rules
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.