Installing Tools (Windows)

This guide covers all the necessary tools required to author Rhino plugins in C/C++ on Windows.

By the end of this guide, you should have all the tools installed necessary for authoring, building, and debugging C/C++ plugins using the Rhino C/C++ SDK on Windows.

Prerequisites

This guide presumes you have:


Install Visual Studio

In order to author, build, and debug C/C++ plugins for Rhino, you will need Microsoft Visual Studio 2017.

Visual Studio 2017 comes in three editions: Community, Professional, and Enterprise. All of these editions will work with the Rhino C/C++ SDK.

Note: Rhino C/C++ SDK plugins cannot be authored in versions of Visual Studio other than 2017. The native classes and libraries that are made available via the Rhino C/C++ SDK are also used internally by Rhino. As a result of this tight linkage with Rhino itself, the libraries are very compiler specific, and work only with the same compiler that was used to build Rhino.

Step-by-Step

  1. Visual Studio 2017 Community Edition is free from Microsoft for students, open-source contributors, and small teams. Details here. Click the Community button to download the installer.
  2. Run the Visual Studio installer you downloaded from Microsoft, in this case vs_community_[build_number].exe. Visual Studio Install
  3. Follow the onscreen prompts to install Visual Studio. Make sure to select all of the Desktop development with C++ features. Visual Studio Install
  4. Depending on your internet connection, this can take minutes or hours.

Install the Rhino C/C++ SDK

NOTE

Rhino 6 is in WIP, or Work-in-Progress, form. The Rhino WIP C/C++ SDK Version number changes with every Rhino WIP release, which tends to be weekly. Plug-ins built with this SDK will only load in a Rhino with exactly the same version number. Thus, it will be almost impossible for you to release plug-ins for customers to use. When Rhino 6 enters the Beta testing phase, the SDK will be frozen, thus preventing breaking changes, which will allow you to distribute your plug-ins for testing.

The Rhino C/C++ SDK is a set of tools for creating plug-in using the C++ language. The SDK includes headers, libraries and Visual Studio project wizards to get you started creating plugins quickly.

  1. Exit Visual Studio.
  2. Download the Rhino C/C++ SDK.
  3. Run the SDK installer you downloaded, in this case rh60sdk_[build_number].msi.
  4. If the installation is successful, run Visual Studio.

Next Steps

Congratulations! You have the tools to build a C/C++ plugin for Rhino for Windows. Now what?

Check out the Creating your first C/C++ plugin for Rhino guide for instructions building - you guessed it - your first plugin.