We will discuss the implementation of the QuickNotepad plugin, along with the jEdit APIs it makes use of. But first, we describe how plugins are loaded.
As part of its startup routine, jEdit's
method calls various methods to load and initialize plugins.
Additionally, plugins using the jEdit 4.2 plugin API can be loaded and unloaded at any time. This is a great help when developing your own plugins -- there is no need to restart the editor after making changes (see the section called “Reloading the Plugin” ).
Plugins are loaded from files with the
filename extension located in the
subdirectories of the jEdit installation and user settings directories
(see the section called “The jEdit Settings Directory”).
For each JAR archive file it finds, jEdit scans its entries and performs the following tasks:
Adds to a collection maintained by jEdit a new object of
PluginJAR. This is a data
structure holding the name of the JAR archive file, a reference
JARClassLoader, and a collection
of plugins found in the archive file.
Loads any properties defined in files ending with the
.props that are contained in the
archive. See the section called “The Property File”.
Reads action definitions from any file named
actions.xml in the archive (the file need
not be at the top level). See the section called “The Actions Catalog”.
Parses and loads the contents of any file named
dockables.xml in the archive (the file need
not be at the top level). This file contains BeanShell code for
creating docking or floating windows that will contain the
visible components of the plugin. Not all plugins define
dockable windows, but those that do need a
dockables.xml file. See the section called “The dockables.xml Window Catalog”.
Checks for a class name with a name ending with
Such a class is known as a plugin core
class and must extend jEdit's abstract
The initialization routine checks the plugin's properties to see if it is subject to any dependencies. For example, a plugin may require that the version of the Java runtime environment or of jEdit itself be equal to or above some threshold version. A plugin can also require the presence of another plugin.
If any dependency is not satisfied, the loader marks the plugin as “broken” and logs an error message.
After scanning the plugin JAR file and loading any resources, a
new instance of the plugin core class is created and added to the
collection maintained by the appropriate
PluginJAR. jEdit then calls the
start() method of the plugin core class. The
start() method can perform initialization of the
object's data members. Because this method is defined as an empty
“no-op” in the
EditPlugin abstract class, a plugin need
not provide an implementation if no unique initialization is