User Guide Plugins

The Plugin Manager Window is built on top of the Plugin API and provides a front end GUI for the Plugin Manager. It supports plugin management tasks such as plugin listing, installation, uninstallation, enabling and disabling as well as discovery of plugins available in a JAR file or Java class path.

A plugin is a feature or a piece of functionality which is pluggable to a binary release of T-Plan Robot Enterprise without having to rebuild the product or modify its code. Plugins must be written in Java or have at least a Java wrapper. Plugins are delivered in form of a JAR file (Java Archive) or a class path (directory structure) containing Java classes compiled into the byte code (.class format). Should you be interested in how to write plugins, refer to the T-Plan Robot Enterprise Plugin Framework document.

There are two types of plugins:

  1. Internal plugins (also called "built-in" or "default" plugins) are those that come bundled with the binary distribution of T-Plan Robot Enterprise. As a result of the open architecture most significant features were turned into plugins so that they can be easy to replace, upgrade or customize. Internal plugins cannot be uninstalled. They also cannot be disabled unless you provide another plugin which replaces the internal plugin functionality. 
  2. External plugins represent additional functionality or modified existing features. They may be written and distributed by anyone. External plugins may be freely installed, uninstalled, enabled and disabled. 

Information about locally installed plugins is stored in an XML file which is called plugin map. There's a read-only default plugin map inside the T-Plan Robot Enterprise binary which contains details of all internal plugins bundled with the product. When user installs an external plugin using the Plugin Manager Window, the underlying Plugin Manager updates the internal file and saves it as PluginMap.xml in the user's home folder and uses it instead of the default one. Should you experience any problems where plugins seem to play a role, you may as the last resort modify the file manually or rename it to make T-Plan Robot Enterprise to reload the default map.

Be aware that the Plugin Manager doesn't modify or copy the plugin binaries in any way and approaches them in a read-only mode. It is up to you to download a plugin binary and save it onto your hard drive. The manager only maintains information about the plugin binary location and mapping of installed plugins. If you delete or migrate the plugin binary, the mapping gets broken and plugin manager displays errors on start up. To fix such errors either fix, or completely remove, the plugin map files from your home folder.