Changes to Add-on and Themes Bundling (4.2 onwards)

Hi Dalai, thanks for the information.

That does leave me somewhat concerned that vital and long standing addons being divorced from any future Blender release, would put them a step closer to the risk of being discontinued.

As it is I tend to avoid or be very selective of any addons I may use and rely on, since you can never know if or when they may stop working and no longer be maintained.

One of the big reasons I’ve spent a fair amount of time with Rigify (instead of some other auto-rigging solution), is that on top of it being a very powerful, modular rigging system (without the need to know every nuts and bolts about rigging), I could be sure that it would be present and working since it was included as a base install of Blender.

Guess we will see how it turns out in the medium to long term.

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How the documentation of the add-ons will be handled? Will there be any (significant) changes to the manual repository or to the way the manual is hosted?

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Some people use it. Probably the only standard addon in Blender to import CAD files, as there is no core (or free for that matter) importer for STEP, IGES, JT, etc.
Not even talking about more proprietary formats like Parasolid, Inventor, NX prt, Catia CatPart, etc.
Please keep it in.

Proposal is to remove legacy STL add-on, which was replaced by native implementation.
As former maintainer of STL add-on (and current user of native implementation), I agree that it is useless to keep around.

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cc @aras_p

Thanks, I talked to Bastien and we agree then to leave the STL (legacy) add-on on the extensions platform.

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You will need internet access if you want to install and update them online. You can also download them from the website and install them fully offline.

It will mostly depend on your company restrictions regarding internet access.

I think admin privileges is something else than internet access. But as far as I know, neither the existing add-ons nor the new extensions need it. They are installed locally per user account.

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All community themes that used to ship with Blender have been published in the Extensions Platform. More info in the first post of this thread.

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Hi! Thanks, as always, for everything.
I wanted to share my opinion on this. Node Wrangler (or its functionalities) should be included in vanilla Blender, along with Import Images as Planes and Rigify. I’m not sure how difficult it would be to integrate them into Blender, but believe me, especially Node Wrangler, we use it A LOT. Like, every day. Now, if you’re telling me that it doesn’t meet the quality standard for the core, I think it would be better to elevate it to meet that standard rather than leave it out of place. I understand this could require a lot of work, and the Blender team has priorities and many tasks to tackle, but I consider this essential. As I mentioned, Blender users rely on it daily, even more so than some native Blender tools.

Please take this into consideration.
Thanks again to the Blender team and all contributors.
Cheers.

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Having to download addons instead of them being bundled is a horrible change for those of us that teach in rooms with no Internet access, where we have to install blender from a thumb drive.

I’ll have to then ask the admin to create infrastructure just for blender… There’s other people in companies with closed networks too… Absolutely horrible…

At least let us download bundled addons as a complete archive that we can then point blender to… To maintain how it worked previously, offline.

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Local repositories (just a local path to a folder) are also supported. And It is also possible to manually install extensions from individual .zip archives.

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Individual is not a thing that works if you have 30 students in a classroom who all need to learn different things and will customise their setup.

For that purpose I need things to work as they did with a bundled, offline, package with all the addons that were previously part of blender…

Preferably one that can be installed alongside blender at the same time…

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Why to restrict yourself to these? As oppose to teach them also (or in some cases instead) other good add-ons which were never shipped with Blender?

We are still looking at providing exactly what you are describing (a bundle with all the bundled 4.1 add-ons). However I wonder how useful this will be (as oppose to people creating their own custom bundle and sharing them.

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There’s various different ways to do bundle extensions:

  • Portable installation. Create a config and extensions folder inside the 4.2 folder next to the Blender executable, and then all extensions and preferences will be saved there.
  • Create a local repository folder on the thumb drive and ask students to manually add that local repository in the extension preferences.
  • Create a local repository folder on the thumb drive, and add an application template in scripts/startup/bl_app_templates_system that enables it.
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I second what toaster says, our students will not be able to add extension/addon files from external sites either. Having a bundled package would cheer up our I.T. team for the distributed install version. At least with the addons included you get feature parity also.

The beauty of Blender is that it can be used as a stand alone package and you dont have to download alot of extra functionality!

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Well courses obviously expand, and there’s a degree of catering to individual needs during classes, but by and large a lot of the coursework is already built around certain workflows, it’s even featured in course requirements we have to submit to the local government for EU funding.

This would either need to include an extension to the course on addon management and rob me of some time for teaching other things down the line, or require me, or the admin, to increase the time we spend setting up workstations from a simple install off a thumbdrive to either connecting each machine to the web and manually installing each addon, or having to copy the blender config to a system directory, or even worse set up this repository for each one…

It’ll be even worse if students bring their own laptops, which they’re allowed to and often do, and some might have a mac or a windows or a linux machine and I can’t have a config for all three…

Ideally a zipped bundle that contains all the previously included addons that I can point blender to like we did with other addons would be ideal if there really has to be a change.

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I recently downloaded the latest Blender version, 4.2, without realizing that the platform upgrade was completed by that version and several core add-ons that I was using were missing - not even listed in the search. Since my main desktop is usually offline, it caused some confusion, and I’m sure it would be confusing for other users as well.

I was wondering if it would be possible to ship the initial extension platform addon listing locally, so at least they would show up in the addon search (displaying as ‘needs to be downloaded’), allowing the user to see whether she can enable internet or find offline versions.

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If we were to ship some pre-downloaded extensions, is there a way to make the extensions download to the SYSTEM path instead of USER path as a default? So that we could build and bundle addons in custom builds of Blender, and still have these addons from Extensions list as “installed” and potentially be updateable?

What would the source modification of the paths system look like?

UX:

  1. Have say an addon from Extensions repos already downloaded to SYSTEM path in a fork
  2. Have the build compiled with the downloaded extensions
  3. Have Extensions code check and do it’s thing to see if there is an update when the fork is build and installed (no USER path set)
  4. List the already “installed” extensions that also can be updated from the internet.

Seems some users in the community are finding problems of missing default addons with many errors when migrating user configuration, so I was wondering if some of the former default addons on the Extensions website could be “activated and downloaded” by default to not get migration issues from user_pref.blend migrations from previous versions of Blender.

Backwards compatibility is a bit tricky atm.

I’m also in a favor of simplifying the deployment for multiple seats. I help to manage 16+ windows machines for our students and manually updating every one is an unnecessary work. And the rest of our team will have to do the same for other classrooms as well. In total we have around 50 machines if we count university staff machines as well.

Having a single zip with all previously shipped addons along with the Blender installer would be preferable. Our tech support staff could deploy this remotely instead of having to manually install every needed addon on every machine.

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  • It would be nice if installing a theme would not change the current theme automatically.

  • It seems to add additional a delay during the startup, I assume due to remote update checks.

  • 4.2 should install the enabled default add-ons automatically. I am now looking at a blank list; I don’t even remember what functionality came from what default add-on. This will definitely confuse a lot of people. And it takes a while to figure all that out and go through a long list of add-ons to reinstall them, imagine this being done a by a million people. It might cost humanity 500.000+ hours.

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