This is less a pre-announcement of something we’re doing than it is a call for input (or perhaps a cry for help? ;-).
After the summer we’re expecting to launch a new section of Autodesk Labs containing a “plugin of the month, brought to you by the Autodesk Developer Network”. The plugins we’re providing will be simple productivity enhancing tools and utilities that streamline the use of one of our products.
The drivers behind this are to a) solve customer problems and b) demonstrate the benefits of investing in software customization. All the plugins we provide – with full source code, to show what goes on inside – will have taken a relatively small amount of time to develop (from half a day up to about a week), the idea being that nothing we deliver will be especially “out-of-reach” for someone wishing to invest in learning and using our APIs.
We already have a few plugins in the hopper, inspired by suggestions from customers (whether directly or via our online discussion groups). To give you a sense of their scope, here are some of the ones we have planned:
- An AutoCAD utility that applies a specified naming convention to the various single-sheet PDFs output by the PLOT and PUBLISH commands
- An AutoCAD utility that enables the OFFSET command to work on the contents of external reference (as presented in this previous post)
- An Inventor utility that allows you to control which parts and sub-assemblies are loaded into memory
To help drive this forward, I’d really like to hear from this blog’s readership:
- Are there annoying issues you would like to see addressed (whether in an Autodesk product or via a simple utility)?
- Do you have your own simple utility you would like you make available as a “plugin of the month”?
Regarding the second question: we’re encouraging people outside my team to provide plugins through this initiative, bringing attention to their development skills (as mentioned earlier we will – as a requirement – be making the source-code available for these plugins). We will, of course, be giving clear credit – on the website and in the plugin’s ReadMe – to the person who developed and provided a particular plugin.
If you have a topic for a plugin you’d like to see my team develop or you have your own you’d like to make available as a “plugin of the month” on Autodesk Labs, please send me an email.