The BSB is extensively extendible. While most smaller things such as a new placement or connectivity strategy can be used simply by importing or dynamic configuration, larger components such as new storage engines, configuration parsers or simulation backends are added into the BSB through its plugin system.

Creating a plugin#

The plugin system detects pip packages that define entry_points of the plugin category. Entry points can be specified in your package’s setup using the entry_point argument. See the setuptools documentation for a full explanation. Here are some plugins the BSB itself registers:

    "bsb.adapters": [
        "nest = bsb.simulators.nest",
        "neuron = bsb.simulators.neuron",
    "bsb.engines": ["hdf5 ="],
    "bsb.config.parsers": ["json = bsb.config.parsers.json"],

The keys of this dictionary are the plugin category that determine where the plugin will be used while the strings that it lists follow the entry_point syntax:

  • The string before the = will be used as the plugin name.

  • Dotted strings indicate the module path.

  • An optional : followed by a function name can be used to specify a function in the module.

What exactly should be returned from each entry_point depends highly on the plugin category but there are some general rules that will be applied to the advertised object:

  • The object will be checked for a __plugin__ attribute, if present it will be used instead.

  • If the object is a function (strictly a function, other callables are ignored), it will be called and the return value will be used instead.

This means that you can specify just the module of the plugin and inside the module set the plugin object with __plugin__ or define a function __plugin__ that returns it. Or if you’d like to register multiple plugins in the same module you can explicitly specify different functions in the different entry points.


In Python:

# my_pkg.plugin1 module
__plugin__ = my_plugin
# my_pkg.plugin2 module
def __plugin__():
    return my_awesome_adapter
# my_pkg.plugins
def parser_plugin():
    return my_parser

def storage_plugin():
    return my_storage

In setup:

    "bsb.adapters": ["awesome_sim = my_pkg.plugin2"],
    "bsb.config.parsers": [
        "plugin1 = my_pkg.plugin1",
        "parser = my_pkg.plugins:parser_plugin"
    "bsb.engines": ["my_pkg.plugins:storage_plugin"]


Configuration parsers#

Category: bsb.config.parsers

Inherit from config.parsers.Parser. When installed a from_<plugin-name> parser function is added to the bsb.config module. You can set the class variable data_description to describe what kind of data this parser parses to users. You can also set data_extensions to a sequence of extensions that this parser will be considered first for when parsing files of unknown content.

Storage engines#

Category: bsb.engines

Simulator adapters#

Category: bsb.adapters