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Plug-in Guide

This guide tells you how to develop plug-ins that extend Netscape Communicator with a wide range of interactive and multimedia capabilities.

 January 1998 -- Communicator 4.0


What's New?

The Plug-in Guide has been updated and expanded for Communicator 4.0. This page is a quick reference to new Plug-in API features and document changes.

About This Guide

The Plug-in Guide is your introduction to using Netscape's Plug-in Application Programming Interface (API) to develop plug-ins for Communicator 4.0.
Who Should Read This Guide?
What's in This Guide
Conventions Used in This Guide
The Plug-in Software Development Kit
Where to Find Developer Information

Chapter 1  Plug-in Basics

This chapter provides basic information you'll need as you develop C/C++ plug-ins.
How You Can Use Plug-ins
When to Use Plug-ins
Plug-ins and LiveConnect
Plug-ins and Helper Applications
How Plug-ins Work
Understanding the Runtime Model
How Communicator Finds Plug-ins
Overview of Plug-in Structure
Understanding the Plug-in API
Plug-ins and Platform Independence
Windowed and Windowless Plug-ins
Using HTML to Display Plug-ins
Plug-in Display Modes
HTML Tags for Plug-in Display

Chapter 2  Development Overview

This chapter is an introduction to the issues and processes that you will need to know about as you write plug-ins. It outlines the steps in writing and implementing a plug-in code module for Communicator.
Writing Plug-ins
Registering Plug-ins
Drawing Plug-ins
Handling Memory
Sending and Receiving Streams
Working with URLs
Getting Version and UI Information
Displaying Messages on the Status Line
Communicating with Java
Building Plug-ins
Building a Win32 Plug-in
Building a Mac OS Plug-in
Installing Plug-ins
Starting to Use the Plug-in
JAR Installation Manager

Chapter 3  Initialization and Destruction

This chapter describes the methods that provide the basic processes of initialization, instance creation and destruction, and shutdown.
Instance Creation
Instance Destruction
Initialize and Shutdown Example

Chapter 4  Drawing and Event Handling

This chapter tells how to determine whether a plug-in is windowed or windowless, how to draw and redraw plug-ins, and how to handle plug-in events.
The NPWindow Structure
Drawing Plug-ins
Printing the Plug-in
Setting the Window
Getting Information
Windowed Plug-ins
Event Handling for Windowed Plug-ins
Windowless Plug-ins
Specifying That a Plug-in Is Windowless
Invalidating the Drawing Area
Forcing a Paint Message
Making a Plug-in Opaque
Making a Plug-in Transparent
Creating Pop-up Menus and Dialog Boxes
Event Handling for Windowless Plug-ins

Chapter 5  Streams

This chapter describes using Plug-in API functions to receive and send streams.
Receiving a Stream
Telling the Plug-in When a Stream Is Created
Telling the Plug-in When a Stream Is Deleted
Finding Out How Much Data the Plug-in Can Accept
Writing the Stream to the Plug-in
Sending the Stream in Random-Access Mode
Sending the Stream in File Mode
Sending a Stream
Creating a Stream
Pushing Data into the Stream
Deleting the Stream
Example of Sending a Stream

Chapter 6  URLs

This chapter describes retrieving URLs and displaying them on specified target pages, posting data to an HTTP server, uploading files to an FTP server, and sending mail.
Getting URLs
Getting the URL and Displaying the Page
Posting URLs
Posting Data to an HTTP Server
Uploading Files to an FTP Server
Sending Mail

Chapter 7  Memory

This chapter describes the Plug-in API functions that allocate and free memory as needed by the plug-in.
Allocating and Freeing Memory
Flushing Memory (Mac OS only)

Chapter 8  Version, UI, and Status Information

This chapter describes the functions that allow a plug-in to display a message on the status line, get agent information, and check on the current version of the Plug-in API and Communicator.
Displaying a Status Line Message
Getting Agent Information
Getting the Current Version
Finding Out if a Feature Exists
Reloading a Plug-in

Chapter 9  Plug-in API Reference

To help you familiarize yourself with the Plug-in API as quickly as possible, this reference is organized into sections by task and parallels the organization of Chapters 3 through 8.
API Organization: Netscape and Plug-in Methods
Plug-in Method Summary
Netscape Method Summary
Plug-in API Methods: Functional Subgroups
Plug-in Methods: Functional Subgroups
Netscape Methods: Functional Subgroups
Reference to Functions by Functional Group
Quick Reference to Functional Groups
Initialization and Destruction Methods
Drawing Methods
Stream Methods
URL Methods
Memory Methods
Utility Methods
Methods for Communicating with Java
Constants and Definitions
Definition of Basic Types
Error Codes
Result Codes
Plug-in Version Constants
Version Feature Constants


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Last Updated: 01/15/97 16:35:48 
Copyright © 1997 Netscape Communications Corporation