Parent page: System Installation, Licensing & Management
Altium Designer's Installation Management System allows you to handcraft your installation of the software at any time after initial install. This covers not only updates to the core functionality (or system resources), but also the ability to install, update, or remove additional functionality. The latter is made possible through the provision of optional Extensions. This functionality could include a new importer or exporter, a tool for schematic symbol generation, or maybe support for mechanical CAD collaboration. In short, any targeted packages of functionality that extend and enhance the feature set of the software.
This document takes a dedicated look at the concept of Extensions and, more importantly, their management.
Additional software functionality, provided through optional extensions, can be browsed, installed and managed through the Extensions & Updates view, which accessed by clicking the control at the top-right of the workspace then choosing the Extensions and Updates command from the menu.
It is from here that you can see which extensions are currently installed, if there are any updates available for them, or if additional functionality is available through further extensions. Additionally, you are not constrained in any way - you can freely install, update or remove extension-based functionality at any time as your needs change.
Before looking at the workings of the interface provided by the Extensions & Updates view, it's a good idea to take a step back and consider what it is that allows the functionality of the software to be extended - the Extension.
This is a key concept of the system to understand. An extension is effectively an add-on to the software, providing extended features and functionality. A core set of features and functions are installed and handled transparently as part of the initial install, referred to as System Resources. In addition, a range of Optional Extensions are available that are packets of functionality that are optionally installed or removed by the user as required. It is the extension concept that enables the installation to be handcrafted in accordance with design needs.
Customization of an Altium Designer installation essentially boils down to management of the available extensions. Install, update or remove available extensions as and when you need. A range of extensions are available from Altium for use with Altium Designer. In addition, and with the Altium Developer extension, you can extend the functionality of Altium Designer yourself through use of the Altium Designer SDK (Software Development Kit) - creating your own extensions for the software.
Also inherent to the Altium Developer extension is the dedicated Developer Interface, which is the user interface for managing custom extensions. Part of this interface is a publishing feature that enables you to share those extensions securely with a wider audience through release to a global repository of extensions (a Global Extensions Gallery, if you will). This is a cloud-based Altium Repository that opens up the possibility for third party developers to offer and trade extensions for Altium Designer through secure distribution, licensing, and installation of the extensions they craft.
As a concept, an optional extension is a single entity - a package of functionality that installs seamlessly into Altium Designer's wider platform environment. However, from the designer's perspective, optional extensions can be further categorized to provide greater depth of meaning as to just what is being installed. As a result, an optional extension can be classified into one of the following types:
The following sections take a closer look at working with the Extensions & Updates view to effectively enhance your installation of Altium Designer. The view itself consists of the following distinct 'pages':
Information about your current installation can be readily seen from the Installed page of the view.
This page presents the following information:
The core design functionality for your installation can be modified at any time after installation directly from within the Extensions & Updates view. From the Installed page, click the button at the top-right of the Platform region. This accesses the Configure Platform page, which presents the core feature set for the software - including system extensions - and is identical in content to that found on the Select Design Functionality page of the Altium Designer Installer.
Features that are already installed have a check in their associated checkbox (). Those that are not currently installed have an empty checkbox (). The following changes can be made:
Quickly enable all features in a particular section for installation using the corresponding All On control at the top-right of that section.
Make changes to the installed core feature set as required and click the button, at the top-right of the page. A confirmation dialog will appear, click OK to apply the changes and restart Altium Designer. The instance of Altium Designer will close and a window will appear showing progress, in terms of download of the files required to implement the change(s), followed by the installation of those files. Altium Designer will then be restarted.
Access the Purchased page of the view to browse a listing of all extension-based functionality currently purchased for your installation of Altium Designer - consisting of system extensions and software extensions. This is functionality that can be optionally added to or removed from your Altium Designer installation.
Clicking on the name of an extension accesses a detailed page for that extension.
An individual extension can be installed in one of two ways:
Alternatively, if you want to install all extensions, click the Install All control above a section.
At the summary-level Purchased page, a progress bar will appear that shows progress of the download (getting the file set for that extension from the source repository) and subsequent installation. You can click to install as many extensions as you like; they will be added to a queue, with up to four extensions being downloaded and installed at any given time. Should you need to cancel installation of an extension, click its associated cancel icon ().
Access the Updates page of the view to browse a listing of all extensions for which there is an update available for all software elements of Altium Designer, including Platform Updates, System Extensions, and Software Extensions.
In the Updates page banner area, click to refresh the update and license information or the to configure Altium Designer’s installation and update notification settings. The latter opens the System - Installation page of the Preferences dialog, where you can configure how frequently Altium Designer will check for software updates and notify you. Note that an option is available to check for new updates each time Altium Designer is activated. This is the On Start-up setting in the Check Frequency drop-down menu.
An extension can be updated in one of two ways:
Alternatively, if you want to update all system/software extensions, click the Update All control above the relevant section.
At the summary-level Updates page, a progress bar will appear that shows progress of the download (getting the file set for the later version of that extension from the source repository). As with installation, you can click to update as many extensions as you like. They will be added to a queue with up to four extensions being downloaded at any given time. Should you need to cancel the update of an extension, click its associated cancel icon ().
Altium Designer, i.e. the platform itself, can be updated directly from the Updates page of the Extensions & Updates view.
The page presents all Altium Designer platform updates that are available, arranged in chronological order, to provide an historical view of platform changes since the last update. The most recent version build incoporates the changes from all previous updates. To view further information on any platform update, click on its name link to open a detailed view. In most cases this will provide an expanded description of the update's function and Release Notes that summarize its changes over the previous version.
To download and install a software update listed under the main Updates tab:
A currently installed extension can be uninstalled in one of two ways: