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Writing plugins for Micro-Manager

Revision as of 11:12, 29 April 2013 by Arthuredelstein (Talk | contribs)

Micro-Manager has a Java-based plugin system similar to ImageJ's. To write a Micro-Manager plugin, simply implement the MMPlugin interface.
The static String menuName lets you control the name of the plugin that appears in the Micro-Manager Plugins menu.

Micro-Manager's classpath is set up so that Micro-Manager plugins can import classes from:

  1. the Java 2 SE 6.0 Libraries
  2. Micro-Manager
  3. ImageJ
  4. Apache Commons Math

The MMPlugins API provides you access to the GUI and core instances (objects) already created by Micro-Manager startup. Micro-Manager will call public void setApp(ScriptInterface app); you can get the GUI object, core and acquisition engine objects thus:

   MMStudioMainFrame gui_ = (MMStudioMainFrame) app;
   CMMCore core_ = gui_.getMMCore();
   AcquisitionEngine acq_ = gui_.getAcquisitionEngine();

Once you have compiled your code into a .class file or a .jar file, drop that file into Micro-Manager's mmplugins directory, and it will be loaded at startup.

The source code for a number of Micro-Manager plugins is publicly available here.

Using Netbeans

The dynamic loading feature (described above) is useful if you are developing your plugin using an IDE such as Eclipse or Netbeans. (The Micro-Manager distribution includes swing-layout-*.*.jar so that you can use the free Netbeans GUI Builder for your plugin.) Here are the steps for Netbeans:

  1. Install Netbeans. Note, Netbeans currently comes with the Java 1.7.0 run time environment. After install, you will need to manually install and add the JRE that Micro-Manager uses: 1.6.0, 64-bit if you need it.
  2. Select New > New Project... > Java > Java Class Library.
  3. Name your plugin project and press Finish.
  4. Under the Projects tab, right-click your plugin project and choose Properties.
  5. Then choose Libraries > Compile > Add JAR/Folder.
    1. Browse to C:\Program Files\Micro-Manager-1.4\plugins\Micro-Manager and choose all jars in that directory.
    2. Click Add JAR/Folder again and add C:\Program Files\Micro-Manager-1.4\ij.jar
    3. Click Categories > Run and set Main Class to ij.ImageJ, working directory to C:\Program Files\Micro-Manager-1.4\ . Click OK.
  6. Now choose Debug > Debug Project from the Menu and ImageJ/Micro-Manager should launch. Close it for now.
  7. Right-click your Source Packages in your project, under the Projects tab. Select New > Java Class... and give your plugin a class name and package name.
  8. Edit the class declaration so that it contains the phrase implements org.micromanager.api.MMPlugin. Left-click on the light-bulb with a red pimple to the left of this line, and select "Implement all abstract methods."
  9. Compile your project, and manually copy the project jar file to Micro-Manager's mmplugins directory. Alternatively, you can add the following to your project build.xml file (look in the Project "Files" tab in Netbeans):
       <property name="pluginsDir"  location="C:\Program Files\Micro-Manager-1.4\mmplugins" />
       <target name="-post-jar">
       <echo message="--Copied MM plugin JAR to basedir: ${basedir}" />
       <copy file="${basedir}/${dist.jar}" toDir="${pluginsDir}" />
When "Clean and Build" is run, this will automatically copy the current version of your plugin to the mmplugins folder.
  1. Now choose Debug > Debug Project and your nascent plugin should appear in the Plugins menu.
You can also dynamically load your plugin by including a line in the MMStartup.bsh file. (This file should reside in the root directory of your Micro-Manager installation; if there isn't one yet, you can create it with any text editor program.) For example:
Make sure you change the "Layout Generation Style" property from "Automatic" to "Swing Layout Extensions Library" as explained on the Netbeans website.
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