Elite: Dangerous Community Developers

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This guide will help you in understanding how most of the 3rd party tools of Elite Dangerous works. You need no previous knowledge to follow this guide. So, let's dive into it.

What is this guide about?

Elite Dangerous is a vast and complex game and there are many different moving parts in the game. Although in-game tools have improved over the years, it still becomes very difficult to progress in the game by only using them. As such, many players of the game have created their own tools available outside the game which greatly enhances the ease of playing Elite Dangerous. These tools are not the official tools of Elite Dangerous and their developers have no affiliation to Frontier Developments.

Please keep in mind that these tools are created and maintained by developers for free in their free time at a best effort basis. Some of these developers can be supported via various channels. If possible, please support their efforts. Links would be available in the respective locations of the tools.

What are these tools and where can I find them?

You can find links to some of these tools in the homepage. You can find more at Elite:Dangerous Codex. There are a vast number of tools that you might discover but these should be enough to get you started.

What am I supposed to do with these tools?

Like all great questions, the answer is; it depends. There are broadly 2 types of tools:

  1. Client tools, running on your PC.
  2. Browser based tools, running on some remote server and accessed using your web browser.

Client tools would need to be downloaded and run from your system. Most of the tools need to be run on the same system that Elite Dangerous is running on although some tools might not need so.

The available tools can be used for anything from tracking and logging your activities, keeping track of your resources and credits, to giving advice for how to build that perfect ship you are looking for.

How do these tools get their data?

There are 3 ways tools get their data:

  1. From journal files generated by Elite Dangerous. Some use the data of these files sent through EDDN.
  2. From CAPI once you authenticate your Frontier account with the tools.
  3. From manual user input

What are journal files, EDDN and CAPI?

Journal Files

When you start Elite Dangerous and do activities in it, the game writes some particular files in the system you are playing on. These files keep track of your activities by writing JSON data. These files are called the Journal files. By default you can find these files at C:\Users\%userprofile%\Saved Games\Frontier Developments\Elite Dangerous (Please note that depending on your setup, the location might be different).

The files in this folder can track back years if you haven't changed your system. That means these files do not carry over when you switch PCs. One way to carry them over is to manually copy from the old system and paste them in the new system.

Elite Dangerous Data Network (EDDN)

Elite Dangerous Data Network (EDDN) is a community run message broker used by browser based tools. Client tools send data to EDDN and browser based tools get the data from EDDN. EDDN itself doesn't store any data. It just passes along data.

Please note that EDDN doesn't accept all data that is generated from the journal files to protect the users privacy.

Companion API (CAPI)

The Companion API (CAPI) is an API provided by the game itself using which tools can fetch data on your behalf. Sometimes, the CAPI can fetch more data than provided by the journal files.

How do these all fit together?

Most tools running on your computer will read the journal files. Some of these tools will use the data from the journal to show you output in the tool itself. Most of these tools will also have an option to send the data to EDDN.

Most browser based tools are running on some servers of some kind. These browser based tools listens to EDDN and when EDDN receives new data from the tools running on the players computers, these browser based tools get that data. Think of EDDN as a cable TV operator and the client running on your PC as the broadcaster. You, the viewer would be the browser based tools in this case.

Some client based tools and some browser based tools use the CAPI to get additional data too. In order for these tools to get data from CAPI you will need to authenticate yourself with your Frontier account.

Is there something else I should know?


Many client applications support plugins to extend their functionality. Some plugins allows one to send extra data to browser based tools that they can't send over EDDN due to the privacy restrictions.