FileMaker Plug-in Mayhem


I started working with FileMaker 13’s new Install Plug-In File script step recently after watching Matt Petrowsky’s video on this subject.  After careful study, I modified a client ‘s beta database to install two plug-ins (Base Elements and 360Works Scribe) on startup.  And immediately started having problems with registration on the Scribe plugin–the plugin was not registered on the clients computer.

Now, the setup wasn’t normal:  This client has a legacy setup that is unusual, to say the least.  The server and the client are both located in the cloud, and both run Windows Server 2008R3.  Yes, you read that correctly.  FileMaker Pro Client is running on Windows Server 2008.  There had been at least one other developer involved in the database solution design and setup before I took over, so perhaps that is how it came about.

There are several users, and each one uses a different Remote Desktop Computer (RDC) session on the same server to run the FileMaker solution.  And that’s where the plug-in mayhem occurred.

As I found out in this article (after a bit of research), there are three locations FileMaker uses to store plugin files.  For simplicity’s sake, I will use the Windows locations (in Red) as an example:

Legacy Location:

Windows FileMaker Pro
FileMaker Pro Advanced
[Application Directory]\Extensions\
Mac OS X FileMaker Pro
FileMaker Pro Advanced
 [Application Directory]/Extensions/

Old Location:

Windows XP FileMaker Pro
FileMaker Pro Advanced
 \Documents and Settings\user_name\Local Settings\Application Data\FileMaker\Extensions\
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows 8
FileMaker Pro
FileMaker Pro Advanced
Mac OS X FileMaker Pro
FileMaker Pro Advanced
 /Users/user_name/Library/Application Support/FileMaker/Extensions/

New Location:

Windows XP FileMaker Pro C:\Documents and Settings\user_name\LocalSettings\ApplicationData\FileMaker\FileMaker Pro\<version>\Extensions\
FileMaker Pro Advanced C:\Documents and Settings\user_name\LocalSettings\ApplicationData\FileMaker\FileMaker Pro Advanced\<version>\Extensions\
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows 8
FileMaker Pro C:\users\user_name\AppData\Local\FileMaker\FileMakerPro\<version>\Extensions\
FileMaker Pro Advanced C:\users|user_name\AppData\Local\FileMaker\FileMakerProAdvanced\<version>\Extensions\
Mac OS X FileMaker Pro Macintosh HD/Users/user_name/Library/Application Support/FileMaker/FileMaker Pro/<version>/Extensions/
FileMaker Pro Advanced Macintosh HD/Users/user_name/Library/Application Support/FileMaker/FileMaker Pro Advanced/<version>/Extensions/

Server software locations aren’t listed in the support article, but are the same for Server 2008 as Windows Vista, 7, and 8.

And there’s the problem:

Using the new Install Plug-in File script step, the plug-in files are installed in the New Location–for Client:


When FileMaker is started, it reads all three locations in this order:

  • Legacy Location
  • Old Location
  • New Location

If a plug-in exists in more than one location, it may (will) cause problems.  

And that was the problem in this situation.  FileMaker was reading the wrong version and not getting the registration information.  The result:  the plug-in turned off after 2 hours (a common demo mode restriction for plug-ins).

The solution was easy: Remove all duplicate versions for all users on the server and leave just one copy in the Legacy location.

So, a word of caution for those starting to use the new Install Plug-In script step:  make sure multiple copies of the plug-ins don’t exist in unwanted locations, and avoid plug-in mayhem!





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