Developing a GH Component

The COMPAS ecosystem offers excellent integration with Grasshopper. Thanks to the GHPython Componentizer it is possible to write Grasshopper components in Python, in a git friendly way, including the components’ code in the same repository as the rest of your project.


To develop GH components using the GHPython Componentizer, you would need a development setup of COMPAS. See Development Setup for more information.

GHPython Componentizer

To use the Componentizer, it is recommended that your project’s repository be made from the cookiecutter template for COMPAS packages. This takes care of a lot of the boilerplate code, and makes compiling and installing the components so much easier.

The ghuser section in the file of your project tell the Componentizer where to find the source code of your components, and where to put the generated components.

By default, the components’ code is expected in src/{your_package_name}/components folder of your project.

        "ghuser": {
            "source_dir": "src/compas_bananas/components",
            "target_dir": "src/compas_bananas/components/ghuser",
            "prefix": "(COMPAS_BANANAS)",

Creating a component

Inside the source_dir folder, each component shall have its own folder with the following three files:

  1. - this is where our component’s code goes

  2. metadata.json - this is where we let the Componentizer know about different settings of our component

  3. icon.png - this icon will appear in GH. It must be exactly 24x24 pixels.


By convension, we name the component folders with a two letter prefix, followed by an underscore, followed by the name of the component. For example, Cb_ExampleComponent.

├── icon.png
└── metadata.json


A typical metadata.json file has the following structure:

    "name": "Example Component",
    "nickname": "Example",
    "category": "COMPAS Bananas",
    "subcategory": "Example",
    "description": "This is an example component.",
    "exposure": 4,
    "ghpython": {
        "isAdvancedMode": true,
        "iconDisplay": 0,
        "inputParameters": [
                "name": "Arg1",
                "description": "First example argument.",
                "typeHintID": "none",
                "scriptParamAccess": 1
                "name": "Arg2",
                "description": "Second example argument.",
                "typeHintID": "bool",
                "scriptParamAccess": 0
        "outputParameters": [
                "name": "Output1",
                "description": "First output."
                "name": "Output2",
                "description": "Second output."

For more information about the required fields and their possible values please visit GHPython Componentizer.


The GHPython Componentizer only supports GHPython components in advanced mode. This means each component must inherit from the ghpythonlib.component class and implement the RunScript() method.

A typical code file might look like this:

from ghpythonlib.componentbase import executingcomponent as component

class ExampleComponent(component):

    def RunScript(self, Input1, Input2):
        # do the work here
        Output1 = None
        Output2 = None
        return Output1, Output2

Please not that the inputs to the RunScript() method must match the ones defined in the metadata.json file by name and number. The outputs must also match the ones defined in the metadata.json file by name and number.


Finally, the component’s folder must include an icon used to represent the component in GH. The icon must be a 24x24 pixel PNG file named icon.png.

Compiling the components


IronPython 2.7 must be installed on your system in order to run the Componentizer. You can download it from here

In order to run the Componentizer make sure your dev virtual environment is activated and run

invoke build-ghuser-components

If everything went well, you should see at least the following output:

Processing component bundles:
[x] Cb_ExampleComponent => C:\Users\path_to_repo\src\project_slug\ghpython\components\ghuser\Cb_ExampleComponent.ghuser

If any error occurs, the Componentizer will let you know what went wrong.

Installing the components to Rhino

Once the components are compiled, and are in the target_dir folder, you can install them to Rhino by running

python -m compas_rhino.install -v 7.0
You should then see

Installing COMPAS packages to Rhino 7.0 scripts folder:

compas               OK
compas_ghpython      OK
compas_rhino         OK
compas_bananas       OK

Running post-installation steps...

compas_bananas           OK: Installed 1 GH User Objects

You component should now appear in Grasshopper