FaqPluginManagerCustomization

How to customize Plugin Manager?

There are several possibilities to customize behavior of Plugin Manager (Tools|Plugins) to show more items or to change its behavior.

Note: for NetBeans expert only. Use of these options at your own risk.

Show all modules

In default view, Plugin Manager shows all plugins unless specify its visibility flag to false (AutoUpdate-Show-In-Client=false) - in other words, Plugin Manager filters out most of like service modules as hidden in plugin infrastructure. To make Plugin Manager to be showing all modules being run in your IDE with switch plugin.manager.modules.only set to true (i.e.-J-Dplugin.manager.modules.only=true).

  • system property plugin.manager.modules.only
  • the default value: false

Show plugin's code name base

Each NetBeans plugin has own code name what should be unique in NetBeans distribution, this code name will not show in plugin's details. To show this code name just run your IDE with switch plugin.manager.extended.description set to true (i.e.-J-Dplugin.manager.extended.description=true)

  • system property plugin.manager.extended.description
  • the default value: false

Install all plugins into NetBeans installation directory

How to Plugin Manager chooses a directory where NBM will install?

  1. If NetBeans install dir is not writable, install to userdir.
  2. If an update, overwrite the existing location, wherever that is.
  3. Otherwise (new module), if a cluster name is specified in NBM (targetcluster), put it there (creating the cluster if necessary).
  4. Otherwise (no cluster name specified), if marked global, maybe put it into an extra cluster
  5. Otherwise (global set false or unspecified), put it in userdir.


If plugin.manager.install.global is set to true then NBM will go into installation directory for all cases unless the install directory is read-only.

  • system property plugin.manager.install.global
  • the default value: false

Check for new plugins just after IDE startup

Plugin Manager checks for updates of already installed plugins right after IDE startup, not for new plugins. To force Plugin Manager to check for new plugins as well, just run IDE with a option -J-Dplugin.manager.check.new.plugins=true. New plugins will be notified in IDE status line.

  • system property plugin.manager.check.new.plugins
  • the default value: false

Check for updates just after IDE startup

As was written above, Plugin Manager is checking for updates of already installed plugins right after IDE startup. If you would like to suppress it, just run IDE with a option -J-Dplugin.manager.check.updates=false.

  • system property plugin.manager.check.updates
  • the default value: true

To customize Interval of Automatically Check for Updates (since NB6.1)

Use a launcher option plugin.manager.check.interval with possible values: EVERY_STARTUP, EVERY_DAY, EVERY_WEEK, EVERY_2WEEKS, EVERY_MONTH or NEVER or also it's possible set the interval in minutes, like this -J-Dplugin.manager.check.interval=60 - to check it every hour. This option can force default value for Plugin Manager, i.e. if your application is launched with -J-Dplugin.manager.check.interval=EVERY_STARTUP (or with modified in etc/netbeans.conf), content of all subscribed Update Centers will be checked on every startup. If an user changes the check interval in Plugin Manager | Settings tab then future Autoupdate invocations will read user's values regardless the plugin.manager.check.interval, as usual.

  • system property plugin.manager.check.interval
  • the default value: EVERY_WEEK

To give precedence to dedicated module while updating (since NB6.1)

If Plugin Manager does install all available updates, it's possible to determinate set of modules which must be handled in exclusive mode before others. For example, update of Plugin Manager plugin should be installed as the first, in preference of common plugins because its update might be important for handling update of rest of plugins. In that case, Plugin Manager will notify users about availability of update Plugin Manager only (swallows down updates of rest) and when Plugin Manager is up-to-date, it will handle update of other plugins.

  • system property plugin.manager.first.class.modules
  • the default value: org.netbeans.modules.autoupdate.services, org.netbeans.modules.autoupdate.ui

To make Autoupdate/Plugin Manager high verbose in console

Just use a common logging capability for force Autoupdate/Plugin Manager to be running in high verbose mode, like this -J-Dorg.netbeans.modules.autoupdate.level=FINEST, you also can specify the scope for logging in more detail (-J-Dorg.netbeans.modules.autoupdate.ui.actions.AutoupdateSettings.level=FINE). Do not forget to switch on logging into console -J-Dnetbeans.logger.console=true.


Applies to: NetBeans 6.0 or newer

Platforms: All


Do not hesitate to contact me on jrechtacek@netbeans.org if you have any question.

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