Component Guide 3: Plug-ins

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Overview

In Nova plug-ins are used to extend the basic component platform with special functionality. In order for plug-ins to function properly we must distinguish 3 different types:

  • display: Some plugins, such as Raster and AgentViewerX, are used for visualization; they will want a post-update strobe to receive the latest data.
  • stateful: A second group have state values that are used to compute the values of Stocks. They need to be updated before any processing of Stocks during the cycle. An example of the latter is the Perceptron plug-in, which models a multiple layer neural network.
  • converter: A third class use the current state to produce the next, like Terms and Flows. These need to be strobed pre-update.

Plug-in type is determined by the plug-in designer and cannot be changed.

Adding a plug-in to your model

Plug-ins appear on the Plug-in Pallet, which has the same form as the Component Pallet. To add a plug-in follow the procedure for adding components to your model.

A plug-in instance in a model work like Graph and Table displays. The Model Canvas contains the plug-in's stub, which includes input and output pins for connecting the plug-in to the rest of the model. On the dashboard the plug-in's face displays any visualization and/or control elements required for it to function. Plug-ins that have no such elements (e.g., Averager) still appear on the Dashboard as small tiles.

Communicating with Plug-ins: Right-clicking on the plug-in stub opens a Connector Dialog, like the ones used by Containers. See Connecting Container Pins for details.

Plug-in menus: Right-clicking on the plug-in's dashboard component generally opens a menu that contains selections for configuring the plug–in (in some cases no configuration is required, and so no such menu appears). The most common menu entry, Properties, opens a dialog in which a set of properties can be selected.

In some cases property or control settings may affect the configuration of input and output pins on the stub.