How to set up and populate an update site
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Rationale
- 3 Add your personal update site
- 4 Adding an update site on your own server
- 5 Uploading files to your update site
- 6 Publishing your update site
- 7 Further Reading
This tutorial explains how to set up a website to distribute your plugins. It assumes that your plugins are correctly installed in your local ImageJ setup.
See the Distribution page for a discussion of the benefits of update sites and how they fit in to plugin development.
Add your personal update site
By far the easiest method to provide your macros, scripts and plugins to other users, letting them keep up-to-date in the most convenient manner, is to set up your personal update site.
A personal update site is hosted on http://sites.imagej.net/<imagej-wiki-account>. If you do not have an ImageJ Wiki account yet, no need to worry, you can register one while setting up your update site.
First of all, start the updater with and click on the Manage update sites button: ›
Specifying an existing ImageJ Wiki account
If you already have an active ImageJ Wiki account (i.e. you changed your password from the initial temporary token) enter the name of that account and click OK:
If your upload password (separate from your wiki password) was not initialized, you will then be asked to provide your wiki password, which will be used to initialize your upload password. The two passwords can differ. This can be source of confusion during setting up of the update.
You can also manually change or initialize your upload password.
Creating a new ImageJ Wiki account
Specify the desired account name. If it is taken already, you will be asked for the password (and need to cancel the dialog and start over). If the account is available, the updater will greet you with this message:
After clicking OK, the updater will let you type in your name and your email address:
After you specified the information and click OK, the updater will acknowledge thusly:
You should soon receive a mail notifying you about the newly created account, and a temporary password. You need to log into the ImageJ Wiki to reset the password:
Now you can continue in the updater: type in your password and press the OK button:
This will initialize your update site and it will be added to your list of active update sites:
Now you are ready to upload files. After that, you might want to consider to add your site into the alphabetical list on this page for the convenience of other ImageJ users (your update site will then be shown in the Manage update sites dialog by default).
Adding an update site on your own server
If you have an own server or web space with WebDAV, SFTP or SSH access, you can create a directory in that web space and initialize it as an update site, too. Just call the updater with and click the Manage update sites button: ›
Now press the Add button, provide a nick name for your update site, the URL of your web space, and upload information.
The upload information depends on the protocol available for uploading:
|Protocol||Host||Directory on Host|
|WebDAV||webdav:, or webdav:<webdav-user>||.|
In case you want to use an SFTP/SSH server, it must have an empty, public web accessible folder where you intend to publish your updates. The ImageJ updater will not create that empty folder.
Example: Let's assume you have SFTP access to a machine known as imagej.example.org to the internet, and let's assume that you have a user account myself that has write access to the path /var/www/my-update-site/ on that machine that is served via http://imagej.example.org/my-update-site/. Then the line you need to add might look like this:
|Name||URL||Host||Directory on Host|
|My Update Site||http://email@example.com||/var/www/my-update-site/|
If the update site has not been initialized yet (i.e. if nobody else has initialized that site yet), you will see a dialog like this:
Just click OK and let the updater upload an empty file index (it is stored in the file db.xml.gz which is also called the database in the documentation of the updater).
It is also possible to create an update site for a group to which multiple users can upload.
Uploading files to your update site
Note: you cannot simply copy files to your web space; the updater would miss all kinds of important information, and consequently refuse to accept that update site. You need to let the updater handle the file uploading.
Start the updater and check your update site
First, start the updater:
Click on the Manage update sites button and verify:
- Your update site is present and enabled
- The Host column of your update site contains your user name, in the form:
Once your login information is set you can Close the update site window.
Prepare your files for upload
Click on the Advanced mode button and set the view options to see your plugins:
- If your have never uploaded your plugins, select View local-only files
- If you are uploading new versions of your plugins, select View locally modified files only
In this case, the plugin we'll be uploading is contained in A_Jolly_Useful_Plugin.jar.
Select the file to upload, click under the Stats/Action column, or right-click (on MacOSX, ^ Ctrl+click) in any column, for the context menu and select Upload to <update site name>.
When a plugin is selected, a Details panel becomes available. The plugin's dependencies, e.g. ij.jar and someJarOrOther.jar, are automatically determined by the updater. Hence if you require 3rd party packages for your plugin you can place them into the jars folder of ImageJ and the updater will automatically upload them to the site.
You can also manually enter or edit any information in the Details panel:
Upload your files
Finally, click Apply changes (upload) to upload your plugin to the server and allow others to access it. If you have dependencies that are not part of ImageJ, the updater will ask you if you want to upload that jar as well. Finally, you will be asked for your login credentials again and the files will be uploaded to the server.
Check that your plugins are now registered as ImageJ plugins by selecting the View files of the '[your site name here]' site view option:
That's it - you're done. Now, anyone who wants a copy of your plugins merely needs to add your update site to the Update manger via the URL you specified, and your plugins will be downloaded and updated in their ImageJ installations just like the standard ImageJ plugins.
Publishing your update site
If you want to let other people know about your update site, just add it to the list of update sites.
For additional information on common topics regarding update site maintenance, please see the update site FAQ.