Plugins are third party software that extend FileMaker's capabilities with features like extended e-mail, ftp, external containers, extended dialog boxes, html interactions, credit card processing, etc. They are an invaluable resource.
Prior to the FileMaker 12 series, installing plugins was always challenging and required the user to reboot FileMaker to activate the plugins, which interrupted their work flow.
With FileMaker version 12+, a new feature was added that allows the plug-in to be installed and activated directly from a FileMaker database file without forcing the user to quit and restart FileMaker. FileMaker provides some default suggestions on how to implement these new features. However, it falls a bit short when it comes to some of the more odd-ball plugins that have ununusal numbering systems. Their suggestions also do not take into account registering and activating the plugins.
What is FM Plugin Utility?
The FM Plugin Utility is a FileMaker solution I created that does most of the work for you. It uses one table, 1 layout, 1 script, and 6 custom functions. All you have to do is supply the plugin files and data to the plugins table and set up the registration keys in a custom function, and you will be all set. It allows you to perform the following tasks:
- Install missing plugins from the FileMaker file directly into the user's system and activate them.
- Check version of installed plugins vs. plugins held in the file and update to the new version if necessary.
- Automatically register the plugins when the main file is loaded during the startup routine.
A functional version of the utility along with complete documentation is available for download below. The only thing that is missing are legitimate registration keys for the included plug-ins because that would violate my terms of agreement with the plug-in creators. You will have to get your own keys.
There are instructions for making it backwards compatible with FM versions 12 and 13. Read the documentation for complete details. If you have any problems, feel free to contact me.
The FM Plugin Utility was originally instroduced/demoed at the June 2015 FMDiSC meeting.
FM Plugin Utility Version History
1.0 v1: Aug 04, 2015
- Initial Public Release