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New SDR# Plugin - The "Pluginizer"

Posted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:44 am
by EddieMac74
Hello All,

Just wanted to give some advance notice. I have created a new plugin called the "Pluginizer"

It gives you the ability to dynamically add, remove, change the order of installed plugins in SDR#.

Here is a screen shot of the working plugin...
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Some features include:

-Add and remove plugins at run time in SDR#
-Change plugin position in SDR#, move up or down in the panel
-Ability to add plugins with multiple plugins in their DLL files.
-Add a plugin by browsing to the plugin file - anywhere on the computer - and Pluginizer copies the DLL file to SDR# directory for you and adds the Magic Line.
-Shows information about each plugin - such as version number, name, author...etc.
-Can automatically restart SDR# after edits for you.
-Ability to browse into ZIP files and add plugins automatically without unzipping the file
-Create and restore backups or import plugin config file from an older install of SDR#
-Built in checking to ensure plugin version is compatible with your version of SDR#
-Can help you fix a corrupted plugin config file
-Can restore the plugin config file to virgin copy
-and more...

If there are any features you would like in the plugin, let me know and see what I can do to add them.

The best part of this plugin is NO MORE ADDING MAGIC LINES!



I have still to code a few things on the plugin. After that I will send it for beta testing, when that is done I will release it.

Re: New SDR# Plugin - The "Pluginizer"

Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:05 pm
by BackHive
Nice work Eddie, much appreciated.

Re: New SDR# Plugin - The "Pluginizer"

Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 6:27 pm
by tudor-v
This is awesome. Managing plugins can be a headache in SDR#. Can’t wait to try it. Thanks!

Re: New SDR# Plugin - The "Pluginizer"

Posted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:52 am
by EddieMac74
Thanks for your interest.

I am almost finished the programming. Everything seems to be working fine.

I have implemented code to check for duplicates when adding plugins. If it is a duplicate then it checks the version of the plugin your trying to install against the version that is currently installed , it then will allow you to choose to install the newer one, overwrite it with old one or to cancel the install.

I have fully implemented the code for plugins that are in Zip format. You simply select the Zip file and it adds any plugins it finds into the config file and copies the required files from the Zip into your SDR# directory for you. No more unzipping files to get to the plugins. It's automatic now.

The interface has evolved a little bit to make it easier to understand. I added menus for easier access to it's functions.
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I am going to keep plugging away at it for the next few days. Anyone who wants to beta test it, just email me and let me know. I will send you a download link for the beta when it's ready.



Re: New SDR# Plugin - The "Pluginizer"

Posted: Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:49 am
by rtlsdrblog
Very nice. I wonder, would it be difficult to create a user submittable list of plugins, which people could download from within the Pluginizer with a click of a button?

Something like our list, but within the plugin itself.

Re: New SDR# Plugin - The "Pluginizer"

Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:51 pm
by EddieMac74
rtlsdrblog wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:49 am
Very nice. I wonder, would it be difficult to create a user submittable list of plugins, which people could download from within the Pluginizer with a click of a button?

Something like our list, but within the plugin itself.
Absolutely. inside of the app already you can actually browse to a Zip download link with the file open dialog in Windows and it will install the plugin directly from the web link for you; however if someone were to host a structured file or directory of some type with the link to the zip file of DLL, or an FTP or something containing the actual file(s)itself, this would be ideal and I surely could implement code to install the plugins automatically with no fuss.

I already added links to RTL-SDR blog, and other plugin repositories from within the 'Help' Menu item in my app, but your suggestion would be ideal.

Is that something along the lines or what you mean?



Re: New SDR# Plugin - The "Pluginizer"

Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:57 pm
by EddieMac74
OK, I think I have figured out how to resolve this this and create a repository like this:

Create an XML file with values inside for 'Plugin Name' and 'Plugin URL' (Other info if desired, such as description version number, author, copyright, web site)

My app connects to the site of the hosted file and reads the contents of the file..

After it reads the contents of the file, it can display a list of the available plugins.

User clicks on the desired item in the list - hey presto, it's installed.

Click "Restart SDR#" and your ready to go!

Who can maintain the list in an XML file? I'm a bit to occupied, but if someone were willing, I can implement the functionality into my app easily. As I mentioned, i already have the code implemented for remote zip package install, the rest of the code is cake.

Re: New SDR# Plugin - The "Pluginizer"

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:05 am
by rtlsdrblog
You could make it so that the XML file can be downloaded from any link, and just put a default download location for the most popular XML file.

I'll host one and keep it updated and in sync as possible with the plugin list on this blog, and if I don't have time to update it someone else might pick it up and host their own.

Re: New SDR# Plugin - The "Pluginizer"

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:54 am
by EddieMac74
OK that sounds fine to me. If you don't mind, when you do make the file, send me a link or a copy of the XML and i will build a reader into my plugin to read the file. After that if anyone wants to host one, they can just use your structure base as the standard.

I also include a simple installation engine in the Pluginizer plugin.

If people add a simple "install.xml" file into their plugin ZIp file, my app will read it, unzip the necessary files and install them...

I use simple verbs like:

<install>plug_in_name.dll</install> copy the file to SDR# folder

<directory>Directory_Name</Directory> create a directory in the SDR# folder

<ignore>MajicLine.txt</ignore> do not copy this file to SDR# directory

<execute>Some_Program.exe</execute> execute this program during install

I am going to re-package all my plugin zip files to have the file in it as well. should make plugin installs super easy.

Joe user could simply run the Pluginizer and create a package and send it to his buddy in another country. His buddy just clicks on the zip from inside Pluginizer and away they go. Plugins installed.



Re: New SDR# Plugin - The "Pluginizer"

Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 11:37 am
by EddieMac74
Hello All,

Just an update on the pluginizer plugin. I have devoted a lot of time into this plugin to make it a feature packed easy to manage your plugins in SDR#. It's almost complete and ready for Beta (should be released for beta in the next few days).

I have temporarily renamed the "Pluginizer" plugin to "Plugin Manager" because Jeff Knapp has a program which can install *some selected* plugins and although no where near the same same as mine his is named "Pluginator"

My chosen name is to close to his and I don't want them to be confused. So I will be choosing a name before public release. I may even run a contest to have you all submit names for it, who knows...

I have become a victim of feature creep and so, had to draw a line...
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Full Feature List:

Move plugins up/ down in the list
Add plugins by selecting the dll file
Automatically add plugins from downloaded Zip files (just select the zip file pluginizer does the rest)
Can find "Dead Plugins" (entries with no associated dll file) and remove them
Can rename plugin key values on the fly (handy for plugins like Aux VFO that support multiple copies of the plugin)
Backup / Restore / Load config files on the fly (easily change your plugin setup instantly)
Can install plugins from dll files or zips that have multiple plugins in them
Can create / restore / load plugin "packages" that can be compiled and sent to others to load or to use as a complete backup to transport to another computer or device. Each packages contains a config file and the associated plugins that can be merged or replaced into the existing config
Automatically skips over duplicate plugins during install and informs you of which ones were skipped / installed
Can automatically restart SDR# to apply changes
Can automatically save changes to configuration
Has a "Repository Browser" that can load "Repository Files" and provides a list of plugins available on the web. You can select one or more plugins from the presented list and the plugins will automatically install.
Repository browser can open any repository file. Comes with a default repository file, others can be downloaded from the net or sent to users by email
Provides a tool to create "Repository Files" for sending to others or placing on the net for download
Provide Plugins information such as plugin name, author, company, copyright, version, etc.
Has a built in online help link if you ever need help using the plugin
Has extensive error handling and tries to automatically recover from various error situations, shows a prompt with the error and an explanation if the error can not be resolved and why the error occurred.

I tried really hard to make this as user friendly as possible and to incorporate everything I could think of to do with plugin maintenance. I believe I have covered every possible situation.

More news in a couple of days when i send it to beta testers...