Regular readers of this blog know how valuable Sibelius plug-ins can be, and how valuable the authors of those plug-ins are. Bob Zawalich, one of those valuable authors, has actually created several plug-ins to help manage other plug-ins — very meta.
One of those tools is the plug-in Are Your Plug-ins Up-to-Date, which does what it says. More specifically, it compares the version numbers in downloaded plug-ins installed on your machine with version numbers of a snapshot of the plug-ins on the Sibelius plug-in download page.
It creates a list in the plug-in trace window (see below) that reports various status codes (from one to six stars):
- OUTDATED: Your plug-in version is earlier than current download page version, and should be updated (*)
- CURRENT: Your plug-in version matches the current download page version (**)
- NEWER: Your plug-in version is later than current download page version, and does not need updating (***)
- NO VERSION: This plug-in does not report a version, so its status cannot be determined (****)
- NOT IN LIST: This plug-in is not found in the list of download page plugins that can display versions (*****)
- UNINSTALLED: This plug-in is not installed on your machine. It may or may not be able to run in your version of Sibelius – check the Installer or Download Page (******)
At the end of list, you get a summary of the entire report:
Bob has recently made an important change to this plug-in that will be very beneficial. He says:
The zip file for this plugin now includes a data file, AreYourPluginsUpToDateMap.csv, that contains the version numbers (if any) of the plugins on the download page. This file will be installed in the same folder as the plugin. The plugin will read the data from that file and compare the version numbers of plugins you have installed to the numbers in the file. I will maintain a copy of the data file as plugins are added or updated, so I should be able to update the data file more often, without having to change the plugin itself. My intention is to update the data file here, even if the plugin code is not updated, so the Installer should update the data file. The current data file contains plugin version numbers as of 24 February 2020.
A couple of caveats: Even though the plug-in itself will be more easily updated, it is still a snapshot. If your plug-ins are marked as “outdated”, you should update, but “current” and “newer” are valid only at the time of the snapshot, meaning that it is possible that you could be running an outdated plug-in that is not marked as outdated in the list, as more time has elapsed from when Bob updated the list. Also, Bob says that “that this really only works for plug-ins I wrote, which have version numbers in a specific format. This is only a standard for me, but I find it useful. All the ones you see that say “No Version” are written by other people.”
Fortunately, Bob just updated the list recently (February 24, 2020), so most everything is accurate. I ran the plug-in and found that I had 33 plug-ins that needed updating! If, like me, you rely on plug-ins in your Sibelius workflow, now is a good time to use this tool to make sure “everything’s up-to-date”.
You could also explore all of you “uninstalled” plug-ins to see what you’ve been missing. If any of those plug-ins pique your curiosity, head on over to the Resources page of our NYC Music Services site, where we maintain a list of all downloadable Sibelius plug-ins available for free through the application or from the download page. Simply search for a plug-in in the list and click the link to learn all about it.
A wish for the future would be for plug-ins to update automatically, like we have become used to with our smartphone apps. This has been requested as a Sibelius feature for many years, so while hope springs eternal, we won’t hold our breath.
For now, though, Are Your Plug-ins Up-to Date may be downloaded directly through Sibelius 7 or higher at File > Plug-ins > Install Plug-ins > Developers’ Tools. Users may also install it manually in Sibelius 6 or higher by visiting the plug-in download page and following the usual manual installation procedure, or by using the Install New Plug-in plug-in (itself another plug-in that helps with other plug-ins).
Over at our NYC Music Services site, we will display the most recently updated or new plug-ins (you’ll see them under “Sibelius plug-in RSS feed”, so be sure to visit that page regularly for another way to keep current on the newest plug-in developments.
If you’re interested in other plug-ins like this, here are a couple more:
- List Plug-ins generates a list of all the plug-ins you have installed on your machine, sorted by name. If you ask to see the full path name for the plug-in file, you can use that to determine if a particular plug-in is a shipping plug-in, or a user-created plug-in.
- Restore Edited Shipping Files will look for any shipping plug-ins that have been modified, possibly unintentionally, and deletes or moves the user copies of these plug-ins, so that Sibelius will run the actual shipping version of a plug-in. This can be useful after doing a Sibelius update when you have copied over your plug-ins from an earlier version.