The plug-in auto loader mechanism allows for easier deployment of custom applications using a package format.
The package format is a common folder structure that has the extension .bundle in its name and has an XML file that defines the various components of the plug-in. By deploying custom applications as a BUNDLE, it makes it easier to target multiple operating systems and product releases since the parameters of your plug-in are defined in the XML file of the package. A BUNDLE can be used as a replacement to creating complex installer scripts when deploying a plug-in.
The plug-in defined by each package is loaded into an AutoCAD-based product by placing it in one of the ApplicationPlugins or ApplicationAddins folders on your local drive.
When an AutoCAD-based product starts, both ApplicationPlugins or ApplicationAddins folders are checked for plug-in applications. The packages found are automatically registered and loaded based on the metadata in the XML file of each package.
A package can be deployed using an installer, such as MSI, or manually copying the files and folder structure to the ApplicationPlugins or ApplicationAddins folder. For Autodesk Exchange app downloads, deployment of the package is done using an MSI installer on Windows.
By default, plug-ins are automatically registered with an AutoCAD-based product and when a new plug-in is installed during the current session. The load behavior for plug-ins is controlled with the APPAUTOLOAD system variable. When APPAUTOLOAD is set to 0, no plug-ins are loaded unless the APPAUTOLOADER command is used.
A package can be uninstalled by removing the appropriate folder with a .bundle extension from the ApplicationPlugins or ApplicationAddins folder. This can be accomplished by offering an uninstall option with the original installer or to manually delete the .bundle folder.