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May 28, 2014

Building add-ins for classes and textbooks

Note: This blog post is contributed by Alex Spancake, who was the JMP Academic Team's summer intern. Mia Stephens worked with Alex on this project.

During my summer internship with the JMP Academic Team, I developed a number of textbook add-ins, which package data sets and other teaching resources into one menu item in JMP. I created these add-ins to make it easier for students to find and open data sets, while also making the professor’s job more about teaching and less about dealing with technical challenges. The add-ins were so popular at the Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) in August that I thought I'd share how to create these add–ins in five easy steps.

Step 1:

Start by creating a new journal (use File > New > Journal). Every resource you wish to include can be accessible via this journal, such data sets, calculators, scripts and important links.

To add files and subfolders, right-click and select "Append Item." You can see an example of a finished JMP Journal for a textbook below:

Step 2:

To add links to data sets and other resources within your journal, go to Append Item > Add File Reference and then select the files you wish to include. These links can be organized by creating folders (right-click, Append Item > Add Outline Item).

In order for these links to work for your students, you must change the file path. For each link, right-click on the link and select Edit > Set Script. Simply replace the script with…


For example:

You can also change the text displayed for the link by editing the name.

Fine-tune the journal by adding images and changing font sizes and colors, and save the completed journal. Note: For more information on how to create journals, search for "JMP Journals" in the JMP Help (under Help > Search).

Step 3:

Create a new add-in (use File > New > Add-In). The add-in will allow you and your students to access the journal from the Add-In menu.

Under general information, give your add-in a name. For the add-in ID, I recommend you use something such as

Step 4:

Now move to the Menu Items tab. Click "Add" (on the left) to add a menu item. Give the menu item a name (what will appear in the add-in menu) and add a tooltip.

The Action section tells the add-in what to do. In order to tell the add-in to open the journal you have created, use the following JSL:

open("$ADDIN_HOME(\journal name.jrn");

You can also change the icon that appears when selecting the add-in from the menu. While the image will be resized on a Windows machine, you must resize the image beforehand for Mac users (or else they will see the original large image.)

Step 5:

Now move on to the Additional Files tab and upload all the files you refer to in your journal. Make sure to include the journal itself along with the rest of these files. Upon saving, the path to the files will change depending on where the add-in is saved.

To share the add-in with others, all you have to do is send the add-in file, and you’re done! When your recipient opens the add-in in JMP, it will install a new add-in menu. When your add-in is selected, it will open the journal and provide easy access to all of the files for your course.

Other notes:

• If you wish to edit a journal but have already created an add-in, you must re-upload the updated journal file to the add-in in order for changes to be made.

• In order to edit an add-in, use File > Open.  Then, make sure to click the black triangle next to the Open button, and use "Open Using Add-In Builder"’  On the Mac, select "Edit after opening."

• More information on building add-ins is available in the JMP Help.

We are currently working on creating add-ins for a variety of popular statistics textbooks. Completed add-ins will be available on our Academic Books and JMP page.

If you have any questions or wish to have an add-in created for a specific book, please let us know in a comment!

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