How to install a plugin

You may be interested in knowing how to install a plugin because you have just downloaded one and want to install it or you have just developed a plugin and want to deploy it. This article covers both.

If you have downloaded a plugin and there is not installer what do you do with it? Well there are several files used in a plugin and they should almost always be saved to the plugins directory. This is found by default here:
"C:\Program Files\Blackbaud\The Raisers Edge 7\Plugins"

Once you have copied your plugin files over you need to go to the Windows Start menu, select run and enter the following:

regsvr32 "C:\Program Files\Blackbaud\The Raisers Edge 7\Plugins\pluginName.dll"

You should replace pluginName.dll with the actual name of your plugin. It is possible that the plugin comes with other support files. Any files with the extension .dll should also be registered in the same way. There should be a success message but if there is a failed message it could be that you do not have sufficient rights to register dlls on your machine.

There should now be a link to the plugin in the plugin area of The Raiser’s Edge.

If you want to remove the plugin you should do the following:

regsvr32 /u "C:\Program Files\Blackbaud\The Raisers Edge 7\Plugins\pluginName.dll"

It is then safe to delete the files from the plugins directory. Note if you are installing a VBA dll then you must unregister it before deleting the files. Otherwise The Raiser’s Edge will create an error on starting and will close. (The majority of dlls out there are not VBA dlls – you need the VBA module to use them).

If you are a developer it is possible to automate this process using a Windows Studio setup project. This in turn creates an installer package. You can set the dlls to register automatically and you get the added bonus that you can uninstall the application too. However you need to set up the files to be installed in the plugins directory (that you will have to add to the project) and not the application directory. A further step is to create a prerequisite to make sure that Raiser’s Edge is installed on the machine before proceeding.

This works really well with .Net plugins as it also checks to make sure that the .NET Framework is installed and prompts the user to install it if it is not.

If you don’t use the Visual Studio 2005 installer then to install a COM aware .NET assembly class library (let’s just call it a dll!) then you have to use the .NET Framework command regasm. This can appear in different places on your hard disk depending on what you have installed so it is best to just search for it. From the command line (Run – cmd) go to the directory where regasm is located and type the following:

regasm /codebase "C:\Program Files\Blackbaud\The Raisers Edge 7\Plugins\pluginName.dll"

As long as the dll has been made available to COM objects it should show up in the plugin list.

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