Managing Plugins

Plugins are packages that extend or modify ResourceSpace's function and presentation. Plugins have a managed structure which makes it easy for third parties to write and for site administrators to maintain, even as function and bug fixes are applied to the base code. The use of plugins is designed to prevent modification of the core ResourceSpace build to make it easier for more bespoke configurations to be upwards compatible, i.e able to keep upgrading without requiring extensive maintenance work.

ResourceSpace comes with a number of plugins ready to be activated should you need them. If you can't find the plugin you need, you can write a new one yourself.

There are two ways of managing plugins. You can use the plugin manager or you can manually place the plugin files in the right places and modify $plugins in config.php. For almost all purposes, using the plugin manager is easier and safer.

The Plugin Manager

To manage plugins using the plugin manager, log in as an administrator and choose Admin > Manage Plugins from the main menu. The plugin manager page is divided into three parts, "Currently Activated Plugins," "Available Plugins," and "Upload Plugin." The general idea is that uploading a plugin makes it available, and activating it makes it, well, active.

To upload a new plugin, thus making it available for activation, click the Browse button, navigate to the plugin's .rsp file and select it. Then click on Upload Plugin. Once the .rsp file is uploaded, the plugin manager validates its contents, decompresses and unpacks the files, and moves them into the proper location. When that has been accomplished, the newly uploaded plugin appears in the Available Plugins section.

To activate an available plugin, click on its "Activate" link. Doing so causes it to "go live." The newly activated plugin moves from the Available Plugins section to the Currently Activated Plugins section. Once a plugin is active, it becomes available to all user groups. If you desire you can change this, activating the plugin for selected user groups only. Click on "Group Access" for the plugin and choose the user groups for which the plugin should be active. Click Save to save your choices.

In addition to group access control, some plugins can be — or must be — configured. An active plugin that supports configuration displays an "Options" link in the plugin manager. Clicking on it takes you to the plugin-specific configuration page.

To deactivate a plugin, click on the "Deactivate" for the plugin. Deactivating a plugin causes the plugin to no longer be active. If the plugin has stored data associated with it, that data is not removed from the system. Reactivating the plugin puts it back into effect and any data stored from the previous activation is still available. Completely removing data stored by a plugin is a manual process that's beyond the scope of this article.

Older versions may have a "Delete" link associated with available plugins. As of October 2011 this link has no effect (due to security concerns).

Some available plugins have additional information associated with them. These have a "More Info" link associated with them. Clicking one takes you to the plugin-specific information page the author created for it.