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Action plug-in - development

Elvis 5 action plug-ins - development

Action plug-ins allow you to extend functionality in the Desktop client, Pro client and Brand portal by allowing them to open HTML pages while retaining certain context specific information. These plug-ins can be used by clicking custom buttons and menu's that are added to the interface.

The plug-in page can be a static HTML page hosted inside the Elvis plug-ins folder, but it can also be a PHP, ASP, JSP or other page hosted on a different server.

This section contains a couple tips and tricks to get you started.

Bundled plug-ins and code samples

The easiest way of getting insight in how plug-ins work, is to review some of the bundled action plug-ins. There are developer code samples and ready to use plug-ins available:

  • Developer plug-in samples: <Config>/plugins/samples/code_samples/action_plugins
  • Bundled action plug-ins: <Config>/plugins/samples/action_plugins

You can see how they work and how they are configured. They are open source, so feel free to use them as the starting point of your own plug-in.

There are quite a few simple and easy to understand samples like hello_world and search_in_getty showing the basic possibilities of plug-ins. There are also technically more advanced samples like print_contact_sheet and search_other_elvis.

Configuration

The action plug-in configuration determines the characteristics of your plug-in, make sure you read through Action plug-in - configuration before you start developing.

Client context information

Context information like the currently selected assets or folders and information about the logged in user, is passed to the plug-in page via the elvisContext. The context is a vital part of almost any action plug-in, allowing your code to act on the current state of the desktop client.

Elvis API

The context information on selected assets and folders is limited. So plug-ins are often developed in conjunction with the Elvis API to retrieve extra information such as metadata, original files, previews, etc.

A lot of user interface components are available through the JavaScript libraries, like showing a list of thumbnails, asset previews, facets and many more. Using them makes it really easy to quickly build a plug-in UI.

Test & debug environment

We advise you to use an external web browser for plug-in development & testing, this allows you to use the browser's debugging tools to debug HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Test the plug-in in the client after the development process is completed.

One common issue when developing plug-ins that reference html, css or js files from your plug-in folder is that the Elvis desktop client or web browsers tend to 'cache' your css and js files. To ease development, add the following to your Elvis server config:

preventBrowserCacheForServedFilesOfType=html, htm, css, js

Also check out the debug plug-in, this is a great tool during plug-in development.

the Elvis Debug Plug-in

Document history

  • 6 October 2016: Added the Pro client and Brand portal as clients in which Action plug-ins can be used.
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