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Distributing templates and effects around different machines and editors can be made easy by using installers. Digital Rebellion's Pro Maintenance Tools gets an update that can build installers for custom plugin effects. Good job too as things are going to get even more complicated under Mountain Lion!

Digital Rebellion have updated their popular pack of utilities Pro Maintenance Tools to version 2.0.7. The main new feature of this update is the ability to create signed installers for Motion effects that have been built for Final Cut Pro X.

So what is wrong with just copying the effects over you might ask? FCPX has four folders where custom plugins must be installed for FCPX to load. If a plugin has a theme then effects, transitions, titles and generators might be contained in the pack and thus will need to be installed into their corresponding folders. Multiply this by different instances of the effects (since the FCPX GUI won't support preset loading properly) and you have a lot to get potentially wrong, especially if the end user isn't that comfortable or knowledgeable about installing files.

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Pro Maintenance Tools allows you to group plugins together and build an installer that with a couple of clicks will install the effects in the right place. The end user doesn't need to have a copy of Pro Maintenance Tools, the installer is a standalone file that can be copied or emailed.

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There are other apps out there that do similar things, but Jon Chappell is already looking ahead to OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Applications that need to install files under 10.8 will have to reference a certificate that is issued through an Apple Developer ID. Unsigned installers means the end user won't get around the new anti malware Gatekeeper feature without agreeing to take the risk of installing untrusted software.

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This seems an excellent way of building installers that'll be Mountain Lion compatible in the future. Jon has posted a tutorial on his blog page which gives more information and links. Don't forget that Pro Maintenance Tools is large suite of utilities that fix many of the common problems when editing with Final Cut, Adobe Premiere and Avid Media Composer.