On-Demand Extension Loader for SketchUp

This tool lets you use plugins without installing them (good for computer labs or keeping SketchUp lean).

Description

loader-icon-512This SketchUp plugin was created out of a need for having plugins available in a “locked down” computer lab setting (similar to my solution for AutoCAD). Those machine’s settings often prevent the user from reliably saving plugins to either the system directory (which was necessary before SketchUp 2014) or to the user directory. With this plugin, the user can save a plugin’s files anywhere and then load the plugin into SketchUp directly from that location.

After installation, this is how the plugin appears under the “Plugins” menu:

SketchUp Plugin Loader

These are the main functions:

  • The top two items allow for loading either a single plugin (from a RB file) or several plugins at once that are all contained in a folder. For the second option, simply select any file within the folder and all will be loaded.
  • The next two items allow for permanently installing a plugin from an RBZ or ZIP file (similar to the function that is available in the Preferences) and to manage the installed plugins.

Usage

Use the submenu items under Plugins/Extensions > Plugin Loader.

Downloads and Installation

You can now find this plugin in Trimble’s Extension Warehouse. For an easy install (and update notifications), browse to it from inside SketchUp (2013 or newer) and install it directly.

Alternative Downloads

Linked below are the installation files (RBZ and ZIP formats) for the current and some previous versions of this extension.

To install these files, follow the SketchUp folks’ instructions. You can also find this extension on GitHub.

Alternatively, you can save this plugin’s unzipped files anywhere (e.g. your USB memory stick – the H: drive in my case) and then load it into SketchUp (no restart required!) by opening the Ruby Console (Window > Ruby Console) and entering this (modify for your setup):

  load "H:\PluginLoader.rb"

Screenshots

Using the plugin load function, you can load plugins that are located anywhere:

Plugin loader dialog

To load a plugin, browse to its main Ruby (RB) file. If you are loading all plugins in a folder, simply select any file in that folder.

Issues

  • While this loading approach will work in most cases, it may fail to load some plugins due to programmed-in dependencies (mainly hard-coded file locations).

Revision History

  • Version 1.7 (2/22/2015):
    – Added plugins directory menu item
    – Code cleanup
    – SketchUp 8 syntax error fix
  • Version 1.6 (2/11/2015):
    – Cleaned up code
    – Added SU 15’s dialog selector
    – Renamed plugin to extension where applicable
  • Version 1.5 (2/17/2014):
    – Fixed saving of file paths to registry
    – Code cleanup
  • Version 1.4 (5/16/2013):
    – Removed browser feature to comply with Trimble rules
  • Version 1.3 (5/15/2013):
    – Added RBZ installing option
    – Updated archive links
    – Default file location is now userprofile
    – Plugin remembers last folder
    – Fixed up some dialogs and added more feedback
    – Now reports error if problem occurs
    – New folder structure
    – Fixed multiple loader code
  • Version 1.2 (11/3/2010):
    – Renamed some menu items
    – Added Google custom search
    – Added link to extension manager
    – Reformatted code and added module
    – Removed developer links (those are now in my Ruby Code Editor)
    – Changed layout of browser a bit
    – Fixed mac issues: dlg can’t show modal, browser buttons dont work well
  • Version 1.1 (3/18/2009):
    – Added more plugin links and fixed some spelling
    – Added browser “buttons” and better explanation
    – Added help menu item and updated help file
    – Changed menu order a bit
  • Version 1.0 (3/9/2009):
    – First version

Credits

Thanks to Jim Folz for his help (in the SCF).

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