Using DataPlugins with NI DataFinder


DataPlugins can be used to read, inspect and search different kinds of custom file formats for use with DataFinder Server Edition. At National Instruments has published free downloadable DataPlugins for hundreds of the most commonly used data file formats. If your file extension is not listed on, take a look at this interactive flow chart chart to see what other options are available to create DataPlugins for your custom file format.

Manage DataPlugin Settings in DataFinder

Within the DataFinder Manager you can manage your DataPlugins in two ways. You can modify the DataPlugin settings for one DataFinder Server you have set up or you can modify the global DataPlugin settings to make changes to all DataFinder Servers you have set up.

Making changes to a single DataFinder Server

To update which DataPlugins are associated with a particular DataFinder Server, select the DataFinder in the DataFinder Manager and navigate to Settings » Configure...  This will bring up the Configure <ServerName> dialog box.

Figure 1. Navigate to Settings » Configure... to manage DataPlugins for a single DataFinder Server.

The DataPlugins tab allows you to select which DataPlugins and file extensions will be active for the DataFinder.  DataPlugins with filename extensions that the DataFinder server includes in the search, are ticked. If a DataPlugin has a tick with a gray background (such as for TDM), you cannot disable this DataPlugin, because the DataFinder always includes the filename extension of the DataPlugin. You can disable DataPlugins that have a tick with a white background. The DataFinder server then excludes the filename extensions of these DataPlugins from the search, and you cannot search for the contents of files from this DataPlugin.

If a DataPlugin has only a gray checkbox (such as ATFX), the DataFinder server includes the associated filename extensions in the search. However, these files do not correspond to the TDM data model, so the DataFinder server cannot search for properties of groups or channels; the DataFinder server only can search for file properties.

Figure 2. Select which DataPlugins will be valid for you DataFinder Server.

In the event that multiple DataPlugins cover the same extension, you can specify the order in which DataFinder selects the DataPlugins to index a specific file, on the File Extensions tab. For each file that has the same file extension, the DataFinder will attempt to read the file using the first listed DataPlugin. If the file is not able to be indexed, DataFinder will attempt to use the second DataPlugin on the list and so on.

Figure 3. You can modify the order in which DataPlugins are used to index files in you DataFinder Server.

Making changes to all DataFinder Servers

Installing or creating new DataPlugins, or updating or deleting existing DataPlugins, affects all DataFinder Servers you have installed on your computer. To manage and inspect all DataPlugins on your computer,  you can navigate to Settings » Global Options » DataPlugins…

Figure 4. Go to Global Options to modify DataPlugins settings for all DataFinders.

You will receive a warning dialog box that states any changes made in this dialog box will be applied to all DataFinder Servers. You can click Yes to continue.

Figure 5. This warning dialog box confirms that any changes made in the next dialog box will be applied to all DataFinders.

This will open the DataPlugin Settings dialog box where you can define, import, export, delete, and manage your DataPlugins. All of the DataPlugins you have registered on your computer will be listed along with all file extensions associated with the DataPlugin. This dialog box also lists a type for the DataPlugin. For all DataPlugin types, the Properties… button allows you to add file extensions to be associated with a certain DataPlugin.

All DataPlugins that say VBS are editable, while the DataPlugins listed as VBCrypt (encrypted) and C++ are not. To edit a script, click on Properties… »  Edit Script to open a notepad editor to make any changes you need to the DataPlugin.
You can also specify a different editor for DataPlugins at Settings >> Global Options >> General. In case DIAdem is installed on this computer, you can make use of the SCRIPT editor with integrated syntax highlighting and online help. To do so, select DIAdem.exe from the DIAdem installation directory.

Figure 6. The DataPlugins Settings dialog box allows you manage, import, delete and modify DataPlugins.