Choose a Registry-free or Registered UI Plugin

Once a plugin component has been built, it can be deployed to other computers for use by others. To do this, all of the appropriate files (the wsc and script file for Windows Script Components, and all relevant dll files for compiled components) built with the plugin must be copied to the other computer.

Registering a UI Plugin Options

There are two ways to add a UI Plugin to STK. Both methods require that the XML file be placed in the Plugins folder in either the STK install area, the user configuration area, or the ProgramData area.

In general, any installation needs to be able to clean up after itself and include an uninstall process. Since the list of the installed applications is kept in the registry, it would be logical to use registered plugins because your installation is already updating the registry. However, more and more users do not have administrator rights on their computers. Registry-free plugins are a solution to get around the security restrictions.

STK comes in both x32 bit and x64 bit configurations. The registered plugins have to be configured for a specific version of STK, which means that you might need to maintain two versions of your plugin. The registry-free plugins do not have this limitation. The registry free plugins do have a limitation of needing to know the full path to the plugin.

Installing a Registry-free UI Plugin (.NET)

If the plugin is a .NET UI plugin, the appropriate xml manifest file must be placed in a registration search folder, but the plugin does not need to be registered in Windows.

For instructions on automatically installing a registry-free UI Plugin, see Visual Studio UI Plugin Template.

For instructions on manually installing a .NET plugin, see .NET Managed (UI) Plugins.

Installing a Registered UI Plugin (COM)

If the plugin is a COM UI plugin, it must be registered in the Windows registry and an appropriate xml manifest file must be placed in a registration search folder. For registration instructions, see COM UI Plugins.

Note: When you build a plugin in Debug mode, rather than Release mode, the component runs using Microsoft debug dynamic link libraries that are supplied with Visual Studio .NET. The plugin will not be able to run on a machine that does not have those Debug libraries. (Debug libraries are not redistributable and are not part of the standard Windows operating system installation.) In most cases, you should build a plugin for deployment to other machines using Release mode.

Use Plugin Components

Once a plugin has been installed, a user can choose to use a plugin by selecting its ProgID or DisplayName from the user interface. The plugin may choose to declare certain parameters as being editable by the user. If so, then the user interface allows a user to edit these settings as well.

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STK 11.2.1 Programming Interface