Speeding up some Sibelius plug-ins


This blog post is written by Bob Zawalich, creator of hundreds of useful plug-ins for Sibelius. Read on to learn more about how to improve the performance of some Sibelius plug-ins.

Some Sibelius plug-ins are intended to perform one quick action, usually with no dialogs. Sometimes you will find them taking a few seconds to run rather than running instantaneously.

Here is a fix that will often shave 1 to 2 seconds off the running time of such plug-ins. It will speed up any plug-ins that save their settings across Sibelius sessions. (It will not affect plug-ins that do not save their settings.)

Plug-ins that save their settings usually do so by making calls to the Preferences plug-in, which maintains a database of plug-in settings. (Note that we are referring to a plug-in named “Preferences”, and not the Sibelius program preferences.)  Preferences stores the settings in a text file called SibeliusPluginPreferences.dat, which is stored in the folder that holds the user plug-ins folder:

  • In Windows 7, the file may be in C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Avid\Sibelius 7
  • In Mac OS X, the file may be in Users/[username]/Library/Application Support/Avid/Sibelius 7

The problem is that the more plug-ins you run that store settings, the larger the text file will get. Eventually just opening and closing the text file can add two seconds to the plug-in run time. This is noticeable if you have the plug-in assigned to a shortcut, and run it several times in a row.

So my fix is to reduce the size of SibeliusPluginPreferences.dat.

The most extreme way to do this is to delete (or better rename, in case you change your mind) SibeliusPluginPreferences.dat. If you do this, all your plug-ins will revert to their default settings. They will store new settings the next time they are run.

You can also be a bit more selective by running the Preferences plug-in directly, and removing the settings from plug-ins you rarely use. You can find Preferences in the Other category in the Plug-ins menu in Sibelius 6 and earlier, and in Home > Plugins > Other in Sibelius 7.

When you run Preferences (written by the legendary Hans-Christoph Wirth), there will be an initial warning dialog, which you should OK. You will then see the main editing dialog which looks like this:

Preferences dialogIn the first column, there are plug-in names. If you select a name and then choose the Delete button below that column (the leftmost Delete), you will discard all the settings for that plug-in. If you rarely use a plug-in, or if you don’t care if it saves the last settings you used, then select the name and choose Delete.

Note that some plug-ins, like “explode”, store a lot of data, and some only save a little. You will make the greatest effect by deleting the plug-ins that store the most data.

Delete all the plug-ins that you feel safe deleting, remembering that at worst, the plug-ins will revert to default settings and can be restored by running the plug-in again.

When you are done, choose Save to Disk, and Preferences will save a smaller version of your text file. Future plug-in runs should be faster.

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