Introduction to Plug-Ins
Plug-Ins are additional features or functionalities that a developer can create and implement on Arcadier’s Marketplaces, enabling Marketplace Administrators to add more features or functionalities to their marketplace. A plug-in would be needed when you're dealing with huge, extremely segmented code, which might include calls done in PHP (secure code/information). Any customisation created via a plug-in cannot be altered or damaged because the Marketplace Administrator does not have access to plug-in codes.
Each plug-in is an application on its own - you can create a simple plug-in for user interface edits, to more complex features such as discount coupons or report generators. You can find public plug-ins that have been created on the Arcadier Platform available on Arcadier’s Plug-In Marketplace. Plug-Ins can only be installed and enabled by Marketplace Administrators on the Admin dashboard, but the features they implement can be used by all the users on a marketplace. They are essentially add-on applications that enhance very specific aspects, customizable by the Marketplace Administrator.
Image: Plug-In installation page on the Admin Dashboard
Before trying to produce your own plug-in, you can take a look at some of Arcadier’s actively working plug-ins to understand the user to developer flow, input implementation processes, and front to back-end connections. Once you are familiar with how plug-ins are incorporated, then you can test various limits by browsing our modern APIs.You can find sample codes and coding tutorials on Arcadier’s GitHub page.
Difference between Public and Private Plug-Ins
Public Plug-Ins, the default setting, are plug-ins available for any Arcadier Marketplace to implement. A developer can develop a plug-in, test it, and submit the plug-in to Arcadier for approval. Once the plug-in approved, it will be available for any Marketplace Administrator to download, install and utilise, regardless of their marketplace type.
Private Plug-Ins, however, can be specifically determined by the developer creating it on the Developer Dashboard. Any developer can create a Private Plug-In where they can define which specific marketplaces can adopt the plug-in they created. Once the developer makes their own plug-in private, that plug-in will only be available to specific marketplaces, and other Marketplaces will not have access to it unless the developer makes it publicly accessible thereafter.
Image: Private Plug-ins tab on the Admin Dashboard
Developers of Public and Private Plug-Ins
Public Plug-Ins are normally created by Plug-In Developer partners who intend for the applications to be published on the Arcadier Plug-In Marketplace for any Marketplace to install. Quite often, creators of public plug-ins generate income from the sale of these plug-ins when they are installed and utilised.
Private Plug-Ins are normally created by Arcadier Expert Partners or other third-party software companies who are hired by a client to build custom features of a specific marketplace. Usually, plug-ins in this category are more complex and specific than public plug-ins and require a much larger budget to create. Check out Arcadier’s growing list of global Expert Partners.
A developer can make any of their plug-ins public or private depending on their intention. Developers need to understand that certain plug-ins could work better on specific marketplaces and may be incompatible with others, therefore it is important for the developer to understand their own plug-in’s limitations.
Building, Testing and Publishing Plug-Ins
In order to create a plug-in on the Arcadier Platform, you will be required to obtain a developer’s account in order to upload your codes and test your plug-ins. A developer’s account will give you access to a Developer’s Dashboard, an interface that allows you to upload your plug-ins codes as well as customize the Custom Fields and Custom Tables unique to each plug-in.
Each developer’s account is unique to a specific type platform on Arcadier’s servers (i.e. Test platform, Sandbox platform, Staging platform, etc). This interface allows the developer’s plug-In code to be uploaded onto Arcadier’s Sandbox servers. Developers who build public plug-ins can go through the Developer Dashboard to submit their plug-ins for approval by Arcadier. Once they are approved, they will be made live on the Plug-In Marketplace for Marketplace Administrators to install and use.
Image: Arcadier Developer Dashboard
Once a plug-in is installed onto a marketplace, the code under the Admin subfolder will exist on the Admin dashboard, while the code under the User subfolder will exist on the marketplace interface itself. On the Admin dashboard, each plug-in is independent of each other, which means that codes between different plug-ins will not interact with each other. However, you have to be careful with the User side codes as all User side codes share the same directory, and therefore might interfere with each other’s processes.
If you are interested in becoming a Plug-In Developer, learn more here.
If you are interested in becoming an Expert Partner, learn more here.