Figma Support Forum

Choosing between plugin and using REST API

Beside the REST API limits, what are the other limitations of using a plugin vs REST API?

One really big disadvantage for a plugin is it must go through Figma’s review process before being published to the plugin store. As a developer, if you have a bug, all your users will be stuck until Figma approves the new version.

But the more important question is in terms of the capabilities of plugin API vs REST API. Can a plugin do more than the REST API in terms of the data it can read from the design file? Is there some data\properties not available though the REST API?

Plugin API:

  • Review is necessary only for the initial submission, all subsequent versions are delivered to users instantly.
  • You can read and write data to the file.
  • Needs user interaction (can’t work in the background, auto-open).

REST API:

  • Can only read the data from the file, can’t write to the file. The available properties are roughly the same as in the plugins API (I don’t know of specific differences).
  • Can work with comments (plugins don’t have access to comments).
  • Can access multiple files at the same time (if team key is provided).
  • Can access the file at any time independent of user interaction.
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The fact that all subsequent versions of a plugin are delivered to users instantly, without reviewing, is a big win. Thank you so much for clarifying that!

Just to clarify, I’m interested only from the perspective of reading from the Figma design file.

The available properties are roughly the same as in the plugins API (I don’t know of specific differences).

Would be very very useful to know the exact differences in regards to what’s available in the plugin API vs REST API. I’m sure many people wonder the same thing.