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Welcome to AppTools!

  1. Introduction
  2. Get started
  3. Contact information

What is AppTools?

AppTools is a Java project aiming at providing a generic platform for extensible applications. The AppTools package also provides a number of utilities for Java application development in general.

The AppTools software is free, open-source software and all users are invited to contribute to the further development of the software by suggesting and/or making improvements.

The extensible application platform provided by AppTools is meant to simplify the development and deployment of Java applications that require or benefit from using an extensible, or plug-in, architecture. The platform supports dynamic loading of plugins from jar-files, simplifying the deployment of new applications or application components.

AppTools uses generic 'Platform' and 'PlatformUI' interfaces for user interaction, allowing application plugins that do not require a graphical user interface to run either through a command-line interface, or through a graphical user interface, or through some other type of interface. Plugins that do require a graphical user interface can be run through the AppTools Workbench which is a GUI implementation of the generic PlatformUI interface. Along with the Workbench, a plug-in for setting user preferences for other plugged-in applications is also provided.

To get started using the AppTools Workbench, see the following section.

To learn more about the plug-in architecture and how to develop plugins for the AppTools extensible application platform, see the Plugin development guide

Get started

To get started using the AppTools Workbench, first download the latest version (apptools-binX_Y_Z.jar) from the download area. Optionally, you may of course download and compile the source code instead, or retrieve it from the CVS repository.

Place the jar file in a suitable directory of your file system.

Create a subdirectory named 'plugin', and create an empty text file called 'auto.txt' in that directory.

Now start the AppTools Workbench by double-clicking the jar file, or by typing java -jar apptools-binX_Y_Z.jar on the command line in the directory where you placed the jar file.

This should bring up the Workbench window, with a few menu options, but otherwise empty of content. Select the Options->User preferences menu option and select the correct plugin directory if this is not already done. Also specify the 'auto-activate' file to be the newly created 'auto.txt' file. This enables the platform to remember your settings about what plugins to activate on startup. Plugins can also be activated from the Options->Activate plugins menu option.

To start running plugins, place the plugin jar files in the plugin directory and load them through the Options->Manage plugins menu option. It is also possible to set an 'auto-load' file to automatically load selected plugins at startup (this can be useful if you have a very large number of plugins that you are not using).

Contact information

For questions and comments, please refer to the project site on SourceForge