Extensions Menu

The items in the Extensions menu are used for controlling which plugins and scripts are enabled and where they are located on your computer’s hard disk.

 

An initial set of plugins and scripts is created during form•Z installation. Additional plugins and scripts may be installed as needed.

 

A plugin is an extension to form•Z that is contained in a form•Z plugin file (.fzp). form•Z plugin files are binary executable libraries that perform specific tasks. Like the form•Z application, form•Z plugin files are compiled for specific operating systems and processors, and can not be moved between operating systems. Because they are optimized in this fashion, plugins execute significantly faster than scripts. Plugins also have more access to the internal workings of form•Z, hence they often offer features that can not be created with a script. A single form•Z plugin file may actually contain a number of plugins. Plugins may also use a number of support files such as form•Z resource files (.fzr). These support files are installed in the same directory as the form•Z plugin file and must be kept in this location.

 

The following types of plugins are some of those currently supported:

 

File translator: Imports/exports data to/from file formats.

 

Image file translator: Imports/exports image data to/from image formats.

 

Tool: Adds a new operation to form•Z, including a new tool icon to run it from.

 

Utility: Code that supports a task, which is not a complete tool.

 

Digitizer: Interfaces to hardware digitizers.

 

A script is an extension to form•Z that is contained in a form•Z script language file (.fsl) or the form•Z script binary file (.fsb). The form•Z script language file is a text file which contains the script instructions in the form•Z script language (.fsl). The form•Z script binary file is a binary version of the script that is generated from the text file and allows for more efficient processing of the script. The script files are not platform specific and can be interchanged between different platforms. Scripts are interpreted rather than compiled for a specific system so they do not execute as fast as a plugin. As for the plugins, different types of scripts will be supported.

 

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The Extensions Menu

The Extensions menu, shown on the right, contains 4 items in the top group. The remainder of the menu may contain additional items or hierarchical menus created by extensions. Selecting one of these items performs the corresponding extension defined action.

 

Extensions Manager...

This item invokes the Extensions dialog, shown below. It is composed of two main sections: the plugins and scripts list which occupies the upper portion of the window, and a number of menus and buttons in the lower portion.

 

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The Extensions dialog.

 

 

The Extensions dialog displays information about each plugin and script that form•Z has knowledge of. Each row of the list represents a single plugin or script. The list contains 6 columns, as follows:

 

On: This determines if the plugin or script is enabled or disabled. Enabled plugins and scripts will be loaded the next time form•Z starts. Disabled plugins and scripts will not be loaded. A check (√) in this column indicates that it is enabled (no mark is shown if it is disabled). The title for this column has a small menu next to it. This menu can be used to turn on or off all the plugins and scripts in the list. Changes to the enabled plugins do not take effect until you restart form•Z. If you have changed the “enable” state of any of the plugins or scripts when you exit the dialog with the OK button, you will be given the option to quit form•Z.

 

Name: This is the name of the plugin or script. Note that this is not the name of the plugin file, but rather the name that the developer of the plugin or script has chosen.

 

Type: This is the type of the plugin or script as described above.

 

Kind: This indicates whether the item is a plugin or a script.

 

Version: This is the version of the plugin.

 

Vendor: This is the name of the vendor who developed or distributed the plugin or script. Contact that vendor for updates to the plugin or script and for technical support.

 

 

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The Plugin Details dialog.

 

Clicking in any column except the first column in the list invokes the Plugin Details or Script Details dialog. These dialogs contain detailed information about the plugin or script as follows:

 

The Plugin Details dialog (see above) displays the following information:

 

Name: The name of the plugin (not the plugin file).

 

ID: A numeric ID assigned by the plugin developer.

 

Version: The version of the plugin (assigned by the plugin developer).

 

File Name: The name of the plugin file (.fzp) containing the plugin.

 

Path: The full path to the folder containing the plugin file.

 

Type: The type of the plugin as described above.

 

Type ID: A numeric ID which identifies the plugin type.

 

Type Version: The version of the plugin type.

 

API Version: The version of the plugin API used to create the plugin.

 

Vendor: The name of the vendor who developed or distributed the plugin.

 

Vendor URL: The URL to the plugin vendor’s web site. Status: Whether or not the plugin is loaded.

 

Description: If the plugin developer wished to provide additional information, it will be contained in this field. If no description is provided by the plugin developer, this field will not be displayed.

 

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The Script Details dialog.

 

The Script Details dialog (see above) displays the following information:

 

Name: The name of the script (not the script file).

 

ID: A numeric ID assigned by the script developer.

 

Version: The version of the script (assigned by the script developer).

 

Executable File Name: The name of the executable script file (.fsb) containing the script. Executable Path: The full path to the folder containing the executable script file.

 

Type: The type of the script as described above.

 

Status: Whether or not the script is loaded.

 

Clicking on the column title in the plugins and scripts list (at the top of a column) sorts the list alphabetically using this column. Pressing the option key on the Macintosh or ctrl+shift on Windows when clicking in the column title will sort the list in descending order rather than the default ascending order.

 

 

 


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