Adobe Lightroom 3: Beta Plugin Info
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Adobe today released a public beta sneak-peek version of Lightroom 3. It's intended to show where Lightroom is going, and to allow us to play with it so that we can provide feedback about how we want it to get there.

It's a Beta

The beta release is not intended for real, heavy, day-to-day work.

This is “beta” in the pre-Google sense, where it really means that things are rough, lots of things aren't as smooth as they could be, and some things don't work at all. For example, the image-render pipeline has gotten a bunch of new stuff, but the focus for the beta is on image quality, and it has not yet been optimized for speed, so in important ways LR3B can be slower than LR2. It's been known to freeze while importing from some devices, and to crash at random times.

It's a Beta.

One of the big changes for LR3 is in how its database works under the hood... changes that will allow the final LR3 to have much better response, especially with large catalogs. But that brings us to a beta-esque negative side effect...

Plugins (in General)

Plugins for LR2 might work in LR3, but they might not.

Due to the aforementioned under-the-hood work, there's at least one change in the plugin infrastructure that is not backwards compatible to LR2 and LR1, so some plugins that work fine in LR1/LR2 will get run-time errors on LR3.

As for my many plugins, it turns out that my export plugins (for Flickr, SmugMug, Facebook, Zenfolio, Picasa Web, Photobucket, and Expono) ran into this, but it was an easy fix and I've already pushed new versions that seem to work.

I have not tested all my Lightroom goodies fully yet, and Adobe has not released any information about what's new and changed in the plugin infrastructure, so there are no guarantees. It's a Beta.

Plugins (Publish!)

Lightroom 3's new “Publish” feature is an attempt to integrate more strongly the places that you share your photos into the center of your photo workflow (Lightroom). LR3B comes with a sample Publish plugin for Flickr.

Publish works like this: you set up your details of an online photo-hosting site (e.g. Flickr), then an entry for it appears in the Publish pane, looking a lot like a collection. From then on...

  • when you add photos to that “publish collection”, they automatically get uploaded to the photo-hosting site.
  • as any of those photos are changed (new metadata, new crop, etc.), they are automatically re-sent to the photo-hosting site.
  • when you delete photos from the publish collection, they get deleted from the photo-hosting site. (Take note! Potential troublespot.)

There are a lot of details, of course. For example, Facebook doesn't allow third-party applications like a Lightroom plugin to update or delete images, so those features won't work at all. Flickr allows image updating (the middle bullet point above) only for paid “Pro” users.

But you get the idea.

The Publish Functionality is also “Beta” !

The sample Flickr plugin included with LR3B is much more advanced than the sample Flickr plugin that came with LR1.4's Plugin SDK — you can actually use this one — but it's still fairly basic in that it lacks almost all the nice tidbits that my Flickr plugin supports (including support for group pools, multiple sets, Twitter, export filters like LR2/Mogrify and Metadata Wrangler, tag-driven Flickr visibility, user-defined title/description specifications, etc.). It also doesn't support regular-export image uploads.

I've no documentation from Adobe yet about how to code for Publish, but I've figured out enough to get the cute little icons in there, and to support the most basic aspects of Publish. I think. At this point, my Publish plugins are pre-beta.

Because I haven't seen the docs yet, I don't really know what will be possible. Will Adobe continue to update/enhance their sample Flickr support? Will you be able to migrate photo-upload history from LR2 exports to LR3 Publish? Will you be able to migrate upload history from my Flickr plugin to Adobe's, or vice-versa? At this point I don't know.

I do know that you can use them side by side, which makes absolutely no sense in the real world, but perfect sense while testing. (Have I mentioned that LR3B is a beta release?) Adobe's sample Flickr plugin uses “” as its icon, so to differentiate mine, I use”.

I expect that I'll be updating my plugins frequently, so be sure to watch the plugin's version-history page.

My Plugins and Registrations

I release most of my plugins as donationware. They can be used for free, forever, but become a bit less convenient after six weeks if you don't get around to registering them (which costs one cent, of which I get nothing). The “bit less convenient” part is to encourage registrations, and the registration part is to interject a onetime speed bump to your daily workflow to allow a moment to reflect on the plugin and its author (me), during which time you'll (hopefully) want to send a gift in thanks or encouragement.

(I spend a lot of time working on these, and think it's a nice thing to provide them for free the way I do, but wow, you would not believe the hate mail some people send, as if I were holding their firstborn ransom while eating puppies for breakfast. But I digress...)

Important points about registration of my plugins and LR3:

  1. Versions of my plugins from before I added LR3 awareness may or may not work under LR3, but if they do, you can certainly continue to use them as long as you like, in LR2, LR3, or beyond.
  2. If you upgrade to a new version during the LR3 beta period, they require no registration to be used in LR3B, but they eventually expire a year from now. (I don't know when the real LR3 will come out, but I guess it'll be before then.)
  3. When the real LR3 comes out, I expect new versions of my plugins to have a completely new registration system, and registrations done in LR2 (before, during, or after the LR3 beta period) will likely not carry over to the new versions, so if you upgrade to a new plugin version, they'll eventually require new registrations if you wish to avoid the “bit less convenient” thing.

This is all consistent with the fine print on my plugin-registration page. (I've learned throughout this endeavor that being clear and forthright is no protection against those with a strong sense of self-entitlement or a weak sense of paying attention, but do what I can.)

More on LR3B

More on the LR3 public beta:

And remember: The beta release is not intended for real work. Really.

All 15 comments so far, oldest first...

Thanks for the heads-up. Are there any hints of better GPS/Geocoding support?


Not yet, but I do hold hope… —Jeffrey

— comment by Bill on October 22nd, 2009 at 1:53pm JST (14 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

LR3 beta was only announced a few hours ago, and I’m so glad to see that you’ve got all this information about it! 🙂 I’m so glad that Adobe asked you to be involved with LR3 (I assume that’s what happened behind-the-scenes).

I, too, was worried about all the hard work you’ve put into all your wonderful plug-ins, and wondering if new versions of Lightroom in the future would ever put your plug-ins out of business. Nice to hear that your plug-ins are still in business. 🙂 Sounds like there’s always some LR plug-in work to be done.

– Charlie

Thanks for your kind words, but let me state for the record that 1) I don’t have a business, and so 2) nothing* would please me more than to wake up to find that Lightroom suddenly does everything I and others want out of the box, and that the world (and I) no longer needed my plugin efforts. I have so many things in life on my plate that I want to do that I simply have no time for, and so would have no problem filling the hole left behind by an uber-wonderful version of Lightroom. —Jeffrey

* That’s just a saying. In reality, I can think of a lot of things that would please me more. I’m not that much of a geek. 😀

— comment by charlie on October 22nd, 2009 at 4:47pm JST (14 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Thanks for the heads-up, Jeff. Anyone who complains about paying a voluntary amount for your fine software is an idiot. Do they think the elves come in and make the software while you’re asleep??

Just had a quick peep at the LR3 beta and the Flickr publisher looks adequate but very basic. I for one will be keeping it Friedl. 🙂


— comment by Mark on October 22nd, 2009 at 5:48pm JST (14 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Thanks for all your work on LR and plugins. Unfortunately, the LR3 beta still does not provide any native support for management of video – have you looked at providing it again through your video plugin?



My video plugin works for most, but not for some for reasons I’ve never been able to figure out. It should continue to work (for those for whom it works) in LR3b, though I have not tested it extensively. I have not heard anything about what’s new for the SDK for the real LR3…. —Jeffrey

— comment by David Ritch on October 22nd, 2009 at 9:19pm JST (14 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey, fantastic that you have a version of the Zenfolio plug-in already, thank you!
LR3 looks very promising, of course it looks to still need your help…

I did notice that the arrowheads on the destination library scrollbar (zenfolio) are not working for me (the scrollBAR works), and confirmed that they do work in 2.5. fyi.

warmest regards, Paul

I’ve pushed a fix for this, but I’m really hoping that LR3 will contain real scrollbars so that the ones I cobbled together from raw, untreated atoms can be done away with. —Jeffrey

— comment by Paul C on October 23rd, 2009 at 1:43am JST (14 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Thanks for the update. When I saw that LR 3 was going to include the publish features at first I was concerned that it would make your plugin obsolete… but it looks like they’re only offering some basic services and that we’ll continue to be able to take advantage of the large set of options and customizations that your plugin provides. Glad to hear you’ll continue to be improving your plugin for LR 3. Thanks!

— comment by Aaron Hockley on October 23rd, 2009 at 1:55am JST (14 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Thanks for the update. I have finally downloaded the Beta to Bangkok on the 4th attempt. The internet is unreliable here.

I think in addition to not using LR3 Beta for production work, I will create a new Flickr account to test the Publish tool. Strange things may happen as Adobe sort out that feature.

Thanks for all your work on the plugins! I really appreciate it.

— comment by Ian Fuller on October 23rd, 2009 at 12:06pm JST (14 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Thanks for the great work on the plug-ins. It’s really disappointing to hear that you get hate mail, but I’ve come to believe that there are just some really angry people out there who live to complain and scream (but not face to face, only through electronics).

— comment by Steve on October 26th, 2009 at 1:12am JST (14 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

As always, thank you for all your timely work.

I know it is difficult to get a full grasp on the new publish plug-in structure at this time, but will the auto galleries be able to work like the export plug-in? Specifically, if I have a “smart folder” under the SmugMug publish icon that includes all 2009 images which are in 15 folders, will I be able to specify that each images is to be placed/synched automatically with a “gallery” of same name or will I have to set up 15 collection/folders under the Publish icon? The current plug-in does this (or it used to, I have been away for a few weeks) but couldn’t figure out how to get the new plug-in to recognize the new “smart folders” and to set up auto galleries different for each smart folder. Thank you in advance for your input.


I haven’t looked at the collection stuff in Publish at all yet, but the auto-destination stuff has been a concern because it didn’t smell as if would work. We’ll see. —Jeffrey

— comment by JW Stephenson on November 2nd, 2009 at 10:41am JST (14 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Just an FYI…..

Davidson, NC USA

LR3 beta – got this trying to run the latest (125) plugin – works fine in LR 2.5

Plug-in error log for plug-in at: C:\Documents and Settings\Ron\Application Data\Adobe\Lightroom\Modules\smugmug-jfriedl.lrplugin

**** Error 1

The plug-in had an internal error while opening the Export dialog.
LrCatalog:withCatalogDo was marked deprecated in Lightroom 2.0 and is not supported as of Lightroom 3.0. Use LrCatalog:withReadAccessDo instead

Yeah, that’s a LR3beta bug…. don’t think there’s anything I can do about it, though I’m not sure since I’ve never run into it myself. I wouldn’t expect much from the LR3 beta WRT plugins…. Adobe tends to give the plugin infrastructure some love after they’ve shipped a public beta… —Jeffrey

— comment by Ron Donson on November 9th, 2009 at 9:37am JST (14 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Thanks, Jeffrey.

It looks like a previously deprecated class (with CatalogDo) truly no longer exists in LR 3. I’m not sure that’s a bug as much as changes to the plugin infrastructure. Oh well…. I can drop back to LR 2.5 for exports to SmugMug. Just thought I’d like you know.

— comment by Ron Donson on November 11th, 2009 at 2:11am JST (14 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

Have you attempted an export plugin for



Have never heard of them, so I guess the answer is “no”, sorry. —Jeffrey

— comment by Carlos on November 23rd, 2009 at 8:05pm JST (14 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Fist of all thank you for your great plugins

i use them extensively with LR2 & LR3

what are your plans if any to make it compatible with LR3 default plugin?
I would love to be able to use yours for export as it has much more features, but to have ability to populate the uploaded images in LR Flickr catalogs

Thank you


Other plugins won’t be “compatible” with Adobe’s example Flickr Publish plugin, they will be “competing”. Adobe’s plugin is very simple, which is great if “simple” is an important feature for you, but if features and flexability are important, people will likely want something a bit more beefy, such as my Export plugin (that you can already use in LR2 and LR3b). I’m still working with Adobe on trying to make the Publish infrastructure more flexible to allow something complex and full-featured to work in Publish as well. We’ll see. —Jeffrey

— comment by Eugene on February 13th, 2010 at 2:26am JST (14 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

First of all thanks for your great work.

I’m glad to hear that there are plans to use the new publishing feature in LR3 as this is a quite interesting feature. I hope that Adobe will be able to provide a flexible interface for complex plugins 😉

All the best wishes from Germany,

— comment by Stephan on March 2nd, 2010 at 10:25pm JST (14 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

I think I’m doing something wrong as everyone is raving about your plug-in. I’ve not been able to get it working, nor can I get the lightroom plug-in to work. When I attempt to enable it, I’m requested to update the catalogue, I click yes…it fails and give me this: “Jeffrey’s Flickr plugin needs access to to upgrade the catalog; please try enabling again once you have Internet access” I obviously have internet access….isn’t this that where I am now? Any tips would be much appreciated.

You probably have some kind of security app on your system that is stopping Lightroom from accessing the internet. —Jeffrey

— comment by dan on October 6th, 2010 at 11:15am JST (13 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink
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