How to write extensions and plugins for illustrator?

Explorer ,
Jan 30, 2022 Jan 30, 2022

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Hi Guys, I have some scripts in JS and I would like to write them as extensions or plugins for illustrator, can anyone indicate examples of how to make, and or, materials for reading and learning?.

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Scripting , SDK , Third party plugins

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correct answers 2 Correct answers

Explorer , Jan 30, 2022 Jan 30, 2022
Hi, Adobe was providing some examples to creating extension(JS) and plugin (C++) based on the applications.  Can you refer this.  https://github.com › Adobe-CEP Adobe CEP - GitHub https://www.adobe.io › document-se... SDK Developer Kit | PDF Library | Adobe Document Services

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Engaged , Jan 30, 2022 Jan 30, 2022
I started writing Illustrator plugins using the Adobe SDK in 1995. Beginning with AI 16 (CS6), the SDK dropped their ADM, with support for UI elements, and users needed to use a third-party solution. I didn't find any of the alternative methods at all intuitive or sufficienetly documented, and went with CORE, free from Hot Door (makers of CADtools). http://hotdoorcore.com You can download the libraries and compile the sample projects to see how it works. In addition to its built-in cross-platfor...

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Explorer ,
Jan 30, 2022 Jan 30, 2022

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Hi,

 

Adobe was providing some examples to creating extension(JS) and plugin (C++) based on the applications. 

 

Can you refer this. 

 

https://github.com › Adobe-CEP
Adobe CEP - GitHub

 

https://www.adobe.io › document-se...
SDK Developer Kit | PDF Library | Adobe Document Services

 

Murali.M

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Explorer ,
Jan 31, 2022 Jan 31, 2022

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Thanks Murali.M, exactly what I was looking for to get started!!

Best regards

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Engaged ,
Jan 30, 2022 Jan 30, 2022

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I started writing Illustrator plugins using the Adobe SDK in 1995. Beginning with AI 16 (CS6), the SDK dropped their ADM, with support for UI elements, and users needed to use a third-party solution. I didn't find any of the alternative methods at all intuitive or sufficienetly documented, and went with CORE, free from Hot Door (makers of CADtools).

 

http://hotdoorcore.com

 

You can download the libraries and compile the sample projects to see how it works. In addition to its built-in cross-platform UI support, I found it much easier to work with than Adobe's SDK, although it's possible to build plugins using parts of both CORE and the SDK. The downside is that CORE is updated sometime after each Illustrator release, so there's a lag between your updates and everybody else's.

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Advocate ,
Jan 30, 2022 Jan 30, 2022

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@Rick E Johnson How easy is it to start with writing plugins? To elaborate, assume one is an amateur coder who knows say basic Java. If they went on a 3-month bootcamp and learnt basic C++, could they then write the simplest of plugins over a weekend? Or does one have to be a computer science graduate who has worked in software for at least a couple of years? 

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Engaged ,
Jan 30, 2022 Jan 30, 2022

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Well, to answer that we'd have to agree on the definition of "easy." 😉

 

I wrote the first version of my Select Menu plugin in a couple of hours one morning before going in to work, but that's far from the norm for plugin development. Yes, simple plugins could be done in a weekend, if it's really simple and if you're familiar with the language and the API. It will take more time and experimentation, though, if your plugin interacts with the user, but then working toward a more elegant UI is a rewarding experience in itself.

 

I would suggest downloading both the Adobe SDK and Hot Door's CORE, then examining the code in the sample projects. Much of it probably looks enough like JS to make some sense right away.

 

Next, compile and run the plugins. Running in debug mode will allow you to step through the code to become familiar with the startup process, as well as code that's called when the user clicks a button, menu, or tool. If you have a Mac you can get Xcode for free, otherwise you'll need Visual Studio for Windows.

 

If you start to study c++, don't waste a lot of time on platform-specific things for writing full-blown applications. Both CORE and the SDK use very generic c++ that essentially figures out instructions to tell Illustrator what to draw.

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Advocate ,
Jan 30, 2022 Jan 30, 2022

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Thanks, @Rick E Johnson. The question was more out of curiosity than anything else. It's unlikely that I'll ever have the time to learn C++ and how to write plugins, but never say never. 

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Explorer ,
Jan 31, 2022 Jan 31, 2022

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Thanks Rick E Johnson for the tips, they are golden. I hope soon to be contributing to the community with the learning that I will start with the advice you gave me.
thanks! thanks! thanks!

Best regards

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New Here ,
Apr 25, 2022 Apr 25, 2022

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@Rick E Johnson Is this still a viable option and working Rick? I'm trying to bring myself up to speed on creating a plugin and have signed up over at Hot Door's forum to ask questions. The registration part of it went fine, but I can't get a verification code sent to complete the registration. I've been trying now for over a week. Sorry if this is not the place for this but I can't find another recourse. I'm having some issues getting the plugin samples they provide to work. With a few runs around the track chasing errors, etc, I can at least now get them to compile.

 

Regards,

Kazon

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Engaged ,
Apr 25, 2022 Apr 25, 2022

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Yes, it's still viable, but unfortunately the CORE site is not monitored very often recently and their forum's registration system is very slow. I had left a post or two about which versions of Xcode work best for different versions of Illustrator that may address the problems you've had. Visual Studio projects should compile with fewer challenges.

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New Here ,
Apr 25, 2022 Apr 25, 2022

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Thanks Rick. I answered you in PM as I didn't want to continue to hijack this thread and also because I'm having issues with a 3rd party product and not Adobe's.

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Engaged ,
Apr 26, 2022 Apr 26, 2022

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True, Hot Door's CORE is third party, but it is an extension of Adobe's SDK and not really a competitor to it in any way. Most CORE classes are thin wrappers for corresponding SDK suites that handle acquiring/releasing them and include workarounds for known bugs. It includes support for an extensive UI without resorting to other third-party UI tools, as well as HTTP functions, file handling (like license and preference files), and much more. Although it's very extensive, I often also acquire suites directly from the SDK for things not included in CORE, so it's the best of both worlds.

 

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New Here ,
Apr 26, 2022 Apr 26, 2022

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Thanks Rick,

 

I'm pretty anxious to get the samples up and running to be able to see just what I can do with it. I found out about CORE through this post and your recommendation for using it. Had never heard of them before now. As I mentioned, working with C++ as well as any attempt at a plugin for me is a first. Though I have been programming for a number of years.

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