HIPE Plug-in User Manual

This is the user manual for HIPE Plug-ins. It describes what plug-ins are, where to get them, how to install them, and how to get rid of them.

If you are interested in creating plug-ins yourself, please refer to the Plug-in Developer's Manual. For the motivation behind design choices made when building the Plug-in Framework for HIPE, see the Design Document.

Introduction: What's a plug-in and what's it for

Plug-ins are intended to make it easy to share software (written in Java and/or Jython) and to share data in the form of LocalStores. A secondary purpose is to allow existing applications to be "plugged into HIPE": A plug-in for an existing application can add menus and menu items to HIPE. The user can then use those menus to use the application, within HIPE.

A plug-in contains scripts that are to be run at start-up, for example scripts that define Tasks. Such scripts are also run at the start-up of jylaunch, so that you can also use (for example) Tasks or data pools from plug-ins. You still need HIPE to install the plug-ins, and jylaunch loads the plug-ins from the same directories as HIPE.

The plug-in framework was designed to make it very easy for users to install and use plug-ins, while at the same time making it simple for creators of plug-ins to produce the plug-ins. In most cases, creating a plug-in is a matter of zipping or jarring whatever it is you want to share, and putting it on-line. The user gets the URL of the plug-in, puts it into HIPE and hits install. In many case (nearly all, I hope), this will be enough. Clearly, it will require more work to create a plug-in that adds menus, Views, Perspectives, and so on, but for the user this doesn't make a difference. Installation is one-click in principle. A plug-in developer may construct a custom installer for a plug-in allowing more configuration, but requiring more clicks from the user.

Below is a quick introduction on how to create a simple plug-in with some scripts. It's easier than you think!

How to get plug-ins

Anyone can put a plug-in on-line anywhere, but we have created a Wiki page that is intended as a repository, or at least a starting point for finding the plug-ins. The Wiki is DpHipePlugins. It is not necessary to bookmark or remember the address of this page. If you select Plug-ins from the Tools menu in HIPE, the Plug-ins panel opens. This panel shows the currently installed plug-ins and has two links at the top: One for finding new plug-ins and one for installing new plug-ins. Clicking the "find new plug-ins" link opens a web-browser and navigates to the DpHipePlugins Wiki.

Using the URL where a plug-in is offered (the plug-in download URL, so to speak), you can install the plug-in. In the Plug-ins panel click the link to Install a new plug-in. Enter the URL in the URL field and click Install. That's all!

The "download URL" for a plug-in may be HTTP, HTTPS, FTP or even a file: URL pointing at a regular file. If you have a plug-in downloaded onto your disk though, you will probably find it easier to browse to point it out. For this, click the Browse button next to the URL field.

Plug-ins on your system

After installing a plug-in, you can see the file as they are installed by selecting the plug-in in the Plug-ins panel and clicking Browse. As you will see, by default the plug-ins are installed in $HOME/.hcss/apps/hipe/plugins. This directory is independent of the HIPE version. This means that if you upgrade to a new version of HIPE, it won't be necessary to reinstall your plug-ins. They will be kept and show up in the next version of HIPE automatically.

This means that your plug-ins are shared between your HIPE versions if you have multiple version of HIPE installed. Each plug-in should indicate the versions of HIPE it is compatible with. If a plug-in does this, HIPE will automatically enable/disable the plug-in depending on the compatibility of the HIPE version running at that moment. This also works as expected if you run two different HIPE versions at the same time (a plug-in could be enabled in one version and disabled in the other).

Disabling plug-ins from the command line

It is theoretically possible that a plug-in causes a major problem during HIPE start-up, causing HIPE to fail before you get the chance to access the Plug-ins panel (under the Tools menu). Or it might be that you see HIPE failing at start-up and you want to disable the plug-ins, just to be sure that the problem lies elsewhere. For these cases we provide a script to disable plug-ins, that can be run from the command line, without starting HIPE. The script is called disable_plugins (disable_plugins.bat on Windows) and lives in the bin directory of the build (same directory as hipe). Running it with no arguments will disable all plug-ins. Running it with one or more arguments will disable those plugins whose name matches one of the arguments:

  • To disable all plug-ins: disable_plugins
  • To disable selected plug-ins: disable_plugins myplugin yourplugin ourplugin

After disabling the plug-ins, you can use the Plug-ins panel to enable them again.

Warning, important disable_plugins is available starting HIPE v8.0.

-- PaulBalm - 09 Jun 2011

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Topic revision: r7 - 2012-10-19 - DavideRizzo
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