The idea behind this page is to cover how to compile and install my IDE plug-ins if you have not followed my articles from the beginning and you just want to use them without necessarily understanding how they work. They were all built and provided here for the edification of others and thus I have not provided installers for them however as this would add considerable overhead to the whole process. I did cover most of this in Chapter 1: Starting an Open Tools API Project.
To Compile or Not to Compile… That is the Question
The first question is whether you need to compile the expert/wizard. I have a limited number of IDEs as described on the Open Tools API page. The consequence of this is that I can only build a small number of BPL packages or DLL projects for the experts/wizards. So the first thing to do is see if their is a BPL or DLL for your version of the IDE (I generally either do Packages or DLLs not both). If there is a BPL or DLL then you are good to go and do not need to compile the project for your IDE. If however there is no BPL or DLL for your IDE first check that I’m supporting the versions above and below your IDE as some of the interfaces are not fully backwardly compatible with all IDEs.
If it does look like I do support your IDE then do the following:
- Open the package (BPL)
.DPKor project (DLL)
.DPRfor the next lower IDE than the one you have;
- Once open select the package/project in the Project Manager and right click and select Project Save As and save the project with the appropriate IDE name;
- Next open the package/project’s options and update the DCU output directory (you may need to create this in Windows Explorer for earlier IDEs);
- Once this is done right click again on the package/project and compile.
I have tried to make sure that the zip files I provide have all the project dependencies but please let me know if you have issues compiling the code.
Packages can be loaded and unloaded from the IDE at any time which is why they are so handy for components and small experts/wizards.
If you have just compiled a package as described above then you can get instant gratification and right click on the package and select Install.
If there is already a package built for you then all you need to do to install it is go to the Components main menu and select Installed Components and you will get a list of all the packages loaded into the IDEs. These are a mixture of components for the palette and functionality in the IDE. Select the Add button at the bottom and browse to the appropriate package and go OK and the package will be installed.
DLL projects are a little more difficult to install and are only loaded when the IDE starts up and unload when the IDE closes down. To install a DLL you can use GExperts Experts Manager if you have it installed and just browse to the DLL and the expert/wizard will be loaded into the IDE the next time you restart it or use my own Multi-IDE Expert Manager. To install the DLL manually you will need to edit the registry with
RegEdit or similar.
The register key you need to edit/create will depend on which version of the IDE you have. Below are a few varied examples from the years which should give you enough information to understand which is yours (its in your current user profile so when running
RegEdit do not elevate you privileges to Administrator level):
Within the above key you need another key called
Experts. If it does not exist you will need to create it. Once created you then need to add a string entry where the Name can be anything you want but the Data needs to be the path to the appropriate DLL (see the below examples from Chapter 1: Starting an Open Tools API Project).