Thursday, May 21, 2009

AT 1.5.9 Plugin Functionality

With the release of 1.5.9 and plugin functionality the AT team has introduced a much-needed mechanism for customizing and expanding functionality in an extensible fashion. In keeping with current software development trends centered around a core system that can be modified or expanded via external applications, the beauty of AT plugin functionality is that all customizations or data imported via plugins is not affected by future AT upgrades as the plugin code lies outside of the main AT source code, stored in a separate plugin folder.

Plugins will thus offer repositories the capability to do many of the things that have perhaps up until this point kept them from fully adopting the AT. This includes creation of custom importers, export modules, record editors, and display/workflow screens. We in MSSA plan to take full advantage of plugin functionality to create a custom import mechanism for our marrying our existing container information (e.g. box type, barcode, VoyagerBib, and VoygerHolding) to instance records in the AT, a custom exporter to send data from the AT to Voyager, and a custom import mechanism for importing EAD or partial EAD for an existing resource record (e.g. new accession).

As with the AT itself, plugin development requires knowledge of Java programming. For more information on developing plugins check out the Plugin Development Guide (.pdf). A list of current plugins can be found here:

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