Getting started

The Zendesk Apps framework (ZAF) v2 lets you add features to, or build integrations with, a Zendesk product. Because the apps run in iframes in the product, you can build apps with any technology you like, including server-side technologies. The framework also gives your apps access to various product resources using consistent APIs across supported Zendesk products.

How does it work?

All apps have a manifest.json file that specifies one or more locations in the product, such as the ticket sidebar or the nav bar. The locations are where iframes can appear in the product. You specify the page to display in the iframe at the specified location. Example:

  "location": {
    "support": {
      "ticket_sidebar":  "assets/start.html"

You can then build the app using any client-side or server-side technology you like. If you only use client-side technologies like HTML, JavaScript, and CSS, you can let Zendesk host the app. If you prefer using server-side technologies, you can host the app on a remote server.

If you want a page in your app to interact with framework APIs, import the ZAF SDK. Example:

<script src=""></script>

With the SDK in place, you can create a ZAFClient object that lets you communicate with the host Zendesk product:

var client = ZAFClient.init();
client.get('').then(function(data) {
  console.log(data); // { "": "Mikkel Svane" }

To learn more, see Working with framework APIs.


For reference documentation, see:

Zendesk App Tools

The Zendesk App Tools (ZAT) are a collection of local development tools that simplify building and deploying Zendesk apps. The tools lets you create, test, validate, and package your apps.

ZAT is a Ruby gem -- a self-contained package of Ruby code that extends Ruby. You don't need to know Ruby to use the tools but you do need to install Ruby to install the gem.

To install the tools, see Installing and using the Zendesk apps tools. See the known issues if you run into any problems installing or using the tools.

To update your tools to the latest version, run $ gem update zendesk_apps_tools.

The tools consist of the following commands.


Creates all the files necessary to start building a Zendesk app.

$ zat new

Runs a suite of validation tests against your app. Because the same tests are run when you upload the app, you probably won't be able to upload the app until your app passes the validate tests.

$ zat validate

Starts a local HTTP server that lets you run and test your apps locally.

$ zat server

Run the command in the app's local root folder. Switch to the product interface and append ?zat=true to the page URL. Finally, allow mixed content (http and https) in your browser by clicking the shield icon on the right (Chrome) or lock icon on the left (Firefox).

For details, see Testing an app locally.

You can also test apps with secure settings locally. See Testing an app with secure settings locally.

To stop the server, switch to your command-line interface and press Control+C.


Creates a zip file that you can upload and install.

$ zat package

The command saves the zip file in a folder named tmp.


Removes the zip files in the tmp folder that's created when you package the app.

$ zat clean

Updates an installed private app.

$ zat update

A file named .zat with the following content must exist in the app's local root directory:

  "subdomain": "your_subdomain",
  "username": "your_username",
  "app_id": 1234

The username value is the email address you use to sign in.

You can obtain the app_id by signing in to Zendesk Support as an admin and opening the following page in the same browser, replacing your_subdomain with your own:

For details, see Updating an installed app.