Push the plug-in

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Push the plug-in

Published by on January 22nd 2009.

The time has come to leverage the plug-in based nature of RealWorld Designer applications. While the plug-in architecture can help to cut development times of larger projects, its true strength lays in allowing people to make their own plug-ins. Applications released in 2009 will be much more plug-in-friendly :-).

Simplifying it for users

While all RW applications can use plug-ins right now, it is a long and painful procedure to install them. They must be downloaded, installed and registered, enabled for the given application, and manually added to menu or toolbar.

Future versions will be able to detect plug-ins in .dll files placed in the application folder. This simplifies the first part of the installation.

The second part is a bit harder, GUI layout configuration is controlling the whole user interface. It cannot be handed out to plug-ins without compromising the whole system.

That said, there are still ways to simplify the whole thing for some kind of plug-ins. It is likely that there will be insertion points in menu and toolbars and where plug-ins will be able to put themselves.

What about plug-in developers?

A plug-in will be required to export one more function to allow enumeration of COM classes and their categories in a dll. If this function is not present, the plug-in can still be used, but only via the painful procedure described above.

An updated SDK will be released in 2009. The SDK will contain templates for image processing plug-ins with and without ATL. All will be focused on good old unmanaged C++. Support for other language and possibly managed might be introduced later.

Interested in developing a plug-in?

If you would you like to make your own plug-in for any of the RW applications and you have the basic knowledge of C++, send me an email to info@rw-designer.com

While the SDK and the changes described above are not ready yet, I’ll contact you when they are.

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