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Packing an Add-In

It is important to distribute the Add-Ins to other end-users in an easy way. To do so, RobotStudio uses the .rspak format for packing and distributing Add-Ins and other assets. This distribution package must contain a manifest file with information about the package's structure and content. This topic explains how to pack an Add-In into an .rspak file for later distribution and create a manifest file. It also serves as a reference for embedding the developer's information for the user.

Creating an .rspak file

  1. If not already done, create a RobotStudio add-in.

  2. To comply with the minimum necessary information for the manifest file, create an XML file and add the following information:

    manifest.xml
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <DistributionPackage>
      <!-- Information about the package goes here -->
    </DistributionPackage>

    For more information about the manifest format and the .rspak files, refer to the "Structure of a Distribution package" topic.

  3. Add some basic information about the package with the Title, Creator, Description and Date elements as shown below:

    manifest.xml
    <Title>Test Add-In</Title>
    <Creator>ABB User</Creator>
    <Description>This distribution package shows how to pack an Add-In and make a manifest file</Description>
    <Date>2016-07-15</Date>
  4. The manifest file offers a SideBySide element that specifies whether or not the content distributed by the package can be loaded several times in RobotSudio. For a RobotStudio Add-In it should be set to false.

    manifest.xml
    <SideBySide>false</SideBySide>
  5. Continue by creating the folder structure of the package: In the root directory, place the manifest.xml file and create three folders: Documentation, Information and RobotStudio.

  6. Using the Information element, you can add any file (such as a text document) that provides information about the package. Likewise, place any file or resource that contains the documentation of the package using the Documentation element. Add the following elements to point to those files:

    manifest.xml
    <Information>http://www.abb.com</Information>
    <Documentation>Documentation\use_manual.pdf</Documentation>
    Note Note

    The Information and Documentation elements accept either a path relative to the package root or an external URL.

  7. In the RobotStudio folder, create a directory called Add-In and add the generated .dll and .rsaddin files of the Add-In.

  8. If desired, add a thumbnail to the package in the root directory and call it thumbnail.png.

  9. Modify the root directory's name to include the name of your package plus the version number, for example: TestPack-1.0.

    The finished folder structure for this package should look like this:

    Folder Structure
    TestPack-1.0
    | Documentation
      | use_manual.pdf
    | Information
      | read_me.txt
    | RobotStudio
      | Add-In
        | AddIn1.dll
        | AddIn1.rsaddin
    | manifest.xml
    | thumbnail.png

    The finished manifest file should look like this:

    manifest.xml
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <DistributionPackage>
      <Title>Test Add-In distribution package</Title>
      <Creator>ABB User</Creator>
      <Description>This shows how to pack an Add-In and make a manifest file</Description>
      <Date>2016-07-15</Date>
      <SideBySide>false</SideBySide>
      <Information>Information\read_me.txt</Information>
      <Documentation>Documentation\user_manual.pdf</Documentation>
    </DistributionPackage>
  10. Compress the created directory structure into a .zip file using a compression utility (like WinZip) and change the extension of the file from .zip to .rsaddin.

  11. To install the distribution package, start RobotStudio and navigate to the Add-Ins tab and press the Install Package button.

For reference purposes, the sample .rspak can be downloaded from here.

See Also