There is a neat option in FileMaker Pro when you’re hosting files from FileMaker Server, that allows you to update any plugin files you’re using from the server. What’s very helpful with this is that you can update a plugin and replace an active version while it’s in use, all without restarting FileMaker.

We’ve been using a script to do this for ages, since v7 came out, as it suited well the server based work we were doing with clients. However, BaseElements required a version of the plugin update that would work locally as well as on a hosted solution. So we’ve updated our script to also save a copy of the plugin to the local drive, and put up a dialog to ask the user to restart FileMaker.

This works well, but has a few caveats : Firstly there is no script step to reload plugins, or even better a script step to unload/load a plugin. So we have to do a restart.

Second, you cannot replace a plugin that is in use with a new version. There is a workaround for this on mac that just requires a little applescript to move the existing file to the trash.

However, there is no equivalent, yet, of applescript for windows that is just as neat as applescript. It should in theory be possible to create a text file that is either a batch file or vbscript that could move the file or rename it so that it can be replaced. This is something I’m looking to do in a future version of the update script, but for the moment, the script just asks you to do a manual save of the plugin file.

This file does registration and version checking as well, so is a handy all-round solution for plugins.

It should be simple to integrate into any solution, just create the table, and then copy and paste the script. You then call the script on startup.

Also note, you’ll need to add your own registration codes to the plugins table.

Contact us if you’ve got any queries, I’ll be happy to help out.