Plugins, AutoUpate and FileMaker Pro Runtimes

I’ve written previously about the changes to where plugins are downloaded to with FileMaker Pro 9, which now has 2 possible locations for storing plugins:

1 – the FileMaker Pro Extensions folder and;

2 – the user’s Application Data folder

Having the same plugins (but different versions) in both locations can create some plugin management problems for you as the plugins in the user’s Application Data folder take precedence over plugins with the same name in the FileMaker Pro Extensions folder. Today I encounterd a new scenario where this creates problems for the user – a runtime application that also uses plugins created with FileMaker Pro Advanced v9.

I created a runtime using FMPA 9.0v3 (Windows XP) and installed it on a client’s computer, which also had some of the same plugins in the /Application Support/FileMaker/Extensions folder but several of them were older versions used for other FileMaker Pro databases.

This led to several errors with my runtime as it couldn’t register the older versions of the plugin and my runtime was checking for specific versions of the plugin as it uses functions not available in the older versions. Whilst I am a fan of the AutoUpdate feature and the new download location in the user’s Application Data folder it certainly does create problems with interference with runtime applications on the same computer that use the same but different versions of a plugin, which is something we haven’t had to worry about with previous versions of FMP. I’ve reported this to FileMaker Inc as both a product problem and a feature request for this to be addressed in future releases.

If you’re a heavy user of plugins like myself with FileMaker Pro 9 you will be spending more time on plugin management issues and locating the user’s Application Data folder unfortunately. Runtime applications should only be able to reference plugins installed in the runtime application’s Extensions folder like runtime’s created with previous versions of FileMaker Pro.

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