October 12, 2009

Addon Spotlight: Addon Control Panel

Addon Spotlight takes a look at the little bits of Lua and XML that make our interfaces special. From bar mods to unit frames and beyond, if it goes in your Addons folder, we'll cover it here.

Have you ever decided to try out a bunch of new addons in order to reorganize your interface? Or, have you ever walked up to the auction house and had forgotten to re-enable Auctioneer after a raid? Or even worse, have you forgotten to setup Peggle before running Trial of the Champion so you could do something during all of the boring introductions (at least before they sped it up)? If you have faced any of these situations then you know how annoying it can be to log out, swap addons and log back in. Thankfully, there is another way.

The Addon Control Panel gives you access to turn on and off your addons from within the interface. After selecting which addons you do or don't want anymore, simply tell it to reload your user interface and it's done. This saves your guildmates from seeing constant login/logoff announcements when fiddling with your UI.

This addon originally started out as Master Control Program whose developer stopped updating it. It was then taken over by another developer and thus dubbed rMCP. That developer also stopped updating it sometime in 2007. So Sylvanaar, the author behind Prat, took it over and redubbed it ACP for Addon Control Panel while keeping it up to date with the current World of Warcraft UI.

The way to access this addon is via the main game menu. It's the thing that pops up when you hit the escape key. You should notice an extra button that is simply labeled "AddOns" that isn't usually there. This brings up a menu somewhat similar to the default Blizzard addon menu from the login screen. Some of the niceties include the ability to sort the addons by title, Ace2 definitions (buffs, chat, combat, action bars, etc), or even group by name which consolidates multipart addons like Cartographer, Quartz, or Pitbull into a single entry.

To enable an addon simply check the box next to it and click the Reload UI button at the bottom of the menu. You'll get a loading screen for a moment and your selected addon should now be loaded. Unfortunately, if you've got your normal Blizzard addon menu set to not load out of date addons, then ACP is also forced to keep with that trend and you'll have to log out and check that box in the addons menu. Otherwise, to unload any addon just bring up the ACP menu again, uncheck the box next to the addon and again select the Reload UI button at the bottom. After a quick loading screen, you'll be free of the selected addon.

One of the more advanced features of this is the ability to create sets of addons. This means that you could pre-define a set of addons for raiding that you could load and unload via the interface without having to remember which individual addons to set each time. This could be anything from a leveling set to a gathering set or a raid set to even a set of games addons.

Another great feature is tooltips for each addon in the interface. This includes the addon description, authors, dependencies and most importantly the memory usage for each addon. If you've ever had a problem with interface latency this is a quick way to try and track down your bigger culprits so that you can remedy the problem.

All in all, this is a handy little utility addon that almost everyone could get some use out of.

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