Thursday, August 07, 2008

What's behind the Gaia Extender API?

The extender mechanism was added to Gaia to provide a way to easily manage add-ons for tracking location with GPS, using US National Grid coordinates reference, working with Homeland Security Mapping symbology, and plugging the NSDI into networks like the EPA Exchange. We also wanted a way for programmers to develop enhancements to Gaia - with or without CarbonTools PRO.

So how does it work? The Gaia Extender API uses Microsoft .NET reflection to create a contract between Gaia and any assembly (a DLL) that is present at its running directory.

Once Gaia detects an assembly that implements a class called ExtenderImplementer the assembly is considered an extender and will appear in the extenders list. Gaia will then look for API commands by name to implement the extenders functionality.

Extenders can alter the Gaia user interface by adding new tools and items as well as add Gaia event-driven functionality.

We'll cover the following Extenders API Methods and Properties in the next few weeks - Legend, Tool Strips, CarbonTools Controls, and Events.

- Jeff


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