Are you an AutoCAD® power user with an interest in becoming even more productive? Would you like to automate or extend the capabilities of AutoCAD, but are new to computer programming? If so, then this guide is designed for you.
“My First Plug-in” is a self-paced tutorial guide for a smooth introduction to the programming world. This is a “one-stop shop” learning path for users who know Autodesk products but are absolutely new to programming and are thinking about taking the plunge. In this guide, you will be working with the AutoCAD .NET Application Programming Interface (API) and the Visual Basic .NET programming language to create a ‘plug-in’ – a module that loads into AutoCAD to extend its functionality. Once you have finished this tutorial, you will understand the basics of .NET programming and how they are applied to AutoCAD.
There are many resources available on the web for you to learn about the AutoCAD .NET API. However, these resources tend to be designed for people who already know programming. This guide is different: it assumes no previous programming knowledge and yet helps you build your first plug-in quickly, without swamping you with details. You’ll have a working application within an hour of starting this material, irrespective of your current level of programming expertise.
The guide will start by reviewing the benefits of customizing Autodesk software before moving on to lessons covering the use of the AutoCAD .NET API. The lessons will start by building a working plug-in before covering more detailed explanations of the underlying principles and further developing the plug-in’s functionality.
*This guide was created for ‘vanilla’ AutoCAD 2012. However, all steps in this guide are applicable to any AutoCAD ‘vertical’ product (AutoCAD Architecture, AutoCAD Civil 3D, etc.). The AutoCAD .NET API is common to all these products; each vertical adds its own specialized API on top of the AutoCAD .NET API. The code shown will also work in AutoCAD 2010 and 2011 (just substitute 2010 or 2011 whenever you read 2012).