How to Make a ChatGPT Plugin With Elixir and Phoenix

Sean Moriarity
#openai#chatgpt#elixir#phoenix#chatgpt plugins

ChatGPT plugins provide a new medium for developers to take advantage of OpenAI’s powerful GPT-4 model. plugins give ChatGPT access to tools via a REST API. When a plugin is installed in a user’s ChatGPT session, the model may decide to use the plugin as a part of it’s response.

You can develop plugins that enable ChatGPT to plan travel, go shopping, or do complex mathematics. In this tutorial, you’ll learn the basics of developing a ChatGPT plugin using Elixir and Phoenix.

This tutorial assumes you have Elixir and Phoenix installed. For information about how to create a plugin in other languages, see:

Step 1: Set up the Phoenix project

Create a new Phoenix project by running:

mix phx.new elixir_chatgpt_plugin --no-html --no-live --no-assets

This example excludes front-end specific assets because ChatGPT plugins are API-only. You can omit these flags from the generation if you plan to have a frontend for your application. This will create a new Phoenix project.

By default, Phoenix ships with a Postgres database. This example won’t require the use of a database, but you should set it up before running your server to avoid errors:

mix ecto.setup

You can confirm your Phoenix application is setup properly by running iex -S mix phx.server and navigating to the /dev/dashboard:

phoenix live dashboard

Now you’re ready to create the plugin API!

Step 2: Create the plugin API

ChatGPT interacts with plugins via a defined REST API. To start defining your REST API, create a new route in lib/elixir_plugin_web/router.ex inside the /api scope:

  scope "/api", ElixirChatgptPluginWeb do
    pipe_through :api

    get "/hello", ChatGPTController, :hello

This will create a new route at /api/hello which dispatches to the ChatGPTController.hello/2 method. Next, create lib/elixir_plugin_web/controllers/chat_gpt_controller.ex and define a new controller:

defmodule ElixirChatgptPluginWeb.ChatGPTController do
  use ElixirChatgptPluginWeb, :controller

Next, define the hello/2 method:

  def hello(conn, _params) do
    json(conn, %{"message": "Hello from the plugin!"})

This will return a JSON response from the server with the message Hello from the plugin!. Your entire controller will look like this:

defmodule ElixirChatgptPluginWeb.ChatGPTController do
  use ElixirChatgptPluginWeb, :controller

  def hello(conn, _params) do
    json(conn, %{"message": "Hello from the plugin!"})

With your API defined, you need to define an OpenAPI Spec. Phoenix doesn’t automatically generate OpenAPI specs, so you need to generate them yourself.

Step 3: Create the OpenAPI Spec

The OpenAPI Spec is how your ChatGPT plugin knows which endpoints are available to interact with. ChatGPT will use your OpenAPI spec to structure its requests and parse the responses from your plugin. For your Elixir plugin, create a new folder priv/static and add a new openapi.yaml file to the directory. Open up openapi.yaml and add the following:

openapi: 3.0.0
  title: Elixir ChatGPT Plugin
  version: 1.0.0
  - url: http://localhost:4000/api
      summary: Say hello
      description: Says hello from the plugin
          description: OK
                type: object
                    type: string
      operationId: sayHello

This spec defines your single /hello endpoint which is available from the url http://localhost:4000/api/hello. Now you’re ready to define the ai-plugin.json for your Elixir plugin.

Step 4: Create the plugin manifest

Every ChatGPT plugin must ship with a plugin manifest hosted on the same domain as the API. ChatGPT looks for the plugin specifically at the path /.well-known/ai-plugin.json. You can read more about the specifics of the plugin manifest in our What is the ChatGPT plugin manifest? post.

For your plugin, start by creating a new directory priv/static/.well-known. Next, create a new file in that directory called ai-plugin.json. Then, add the following to ai-plugin.json:

  "schema_version": "v1",
  "name_for_human": "My First plugin",
  "name_for_model": "elixir_plugin",
  "description_for_human": "My first ChatGPT plugin",
  "description_for_model": "plugin which says hello.",
  "auth": {
    "type": "none"
  "api": {
    "type": "openapi",
    "url": "http://localhost:4000/openapi.yaml",
    "is_user_authenticated": false
  "logo_url": "http://localhost:4000/logo.png",
  "contact_email": "support@example.com",
  "legal_info_url": "http://www.example.com/legal"

In this example, the “auth” field is set to “none” because this plugin doesn’t require authentication. However, depending on your use case, you might need your plugin to handle authentication. For more information about how to implement authentication in a ChatGPT plugin, you can refer to our ChatGPT Plugin Authentication Guide.

Now you need to set your application up to serve the static openapi.yaml and .well-known/ai-plugin.json. You can do so by navigating to lib/elixir_chatgpt_plugin.ex and adding both to the static_paths/0 function:

  def static_paths, do: ~w(.well-known openapi.yaml assets fonts images favicon.ico robots.txt)

And that’s all you need! You can verify it worked by starting your server and accessing both files from the browser.

Step 5: Set up CORS for development

In order to test your plugin locally before deploying to production, you need to configure your application to allow Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) from the ChatGPT website. CORS enables ChatGPT to request access to resources from your locally running webserver. To setup CORS with Elixir and Phoenix, you can use a CORS Plug. First, install the cors_plug package by adding it to your application’s dependencies:

  defp deps do
      # ... other deps here ...
      {:plug_cowboy, "~> 2.5"},
      {:cors_plug, "~> 3.0"}

Then run mix deps.get to install your new dependencies. Finally, add the following line to lib/elixir_chatgpt_plugin_web/endpoint.ex:

  # CORS Config for local development
  plug CORSPlug,
    origin: ["http://localhost:4000", https://chat.openai.com"],
    methods: ["GET", "POST"],
    headers: ["*"]

This will configure CORS correctly in your application for local development. Now you’re all set for testing!

Step 5: Install and test your plugin

First, start your plugin server locally by running:

iex -S mix phx.server

You can verify it worked by navigating to http://localhost:4000/dev/dashboard in your browser:

phoenix live dashboard

Next, navigate to the ChatGPT UI and select the plugin model:

Selecting the plugin model

Then, you’ll want to select the plugins dropdown, navigate to the plugin store, and click “Develop your own plugin” in the bottom right:

Selecting develop your own plugin

Finally, type your localhost URL into the plugin form:

Typing the address of your plugin

After awhile, you’ll see the following:

Successfully adding your plugin

Click “Install localhost plugin” to continue. With your plugin enabled, you can start to interact with it using ChatGPT. For example, try typing in “Say hello from my plugin” into the chat window:

Successfully using the plugin

Congratulations! You’ve successfully made your first ChatGPT plugin with Elixir and Phoenix and confirmed it works locally. Next, check out our deployment and hosting guide to learn about deploying your plugin to production.

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