What is a package manager?
To those not familiar with the term, a package manager is a tool that installs software for you and takes care of keeping it up to date. The software is usually stored in somewhere called a ‘repository’. In this case our package manager takes care of Reaper scripts and plugins that the authors have made available to us via repositories.
This exciting new project was created by Reaper forum user cfillion. It has a whole team of developers behind it supplying their scripts and plugins. Everyone involved is supplying their time for free, and would love to get a donation from users. Please see the projects home page to download ReaPack and learn how to make a donation.
At this point in time not everyone involved in scripting for Reaper is using this new package manager, and some people probably never will as they wish to supply their software in their own way. Having said that there is a TON of fantastic free scripts available here, and some of the most talented programmers in the scene are involved.
Why do I need a package manager?
Reaper has always had a vibrant community of people writing scripts that provide additional functionality to Reaper. Unfortunately learning about these scripts has been an uphill struggle, users have had to go through endless forum threads trying to find what they are looking for. Fantastic scripts have got pushed out of visibility on the JSFX and ReaScript Discussion forum where they have been published, and there has been no way to be notified of an update. In short it has been chaos!
Now those dark days are over, you can install ReaPack and have it manage all your scripts. You can search for scripts in one place, install them with a click of a button, and be alerted when an update is available.
How do I install and operate ReaPack?
Simply go to the ReaPack home page and download the right version for your operating system. You will get a .dll file. Copy the .dll into the Reaper\UserPlugins directory, just like in the screenshot below:
Now when you run Reaper for the first time with it installed you will get the following screen. In the future you can access it in the Extensions menu inside Reaper:
Here you see the names of the repositories that you will be downloading the scripts from. The only one enabled by default is ReaPack’s own repository, this is so it can at least update and manage itself.
In this screen shot we have other repositories available. There maybe many more than shown here by the time you read this article. Each repo is a collection of scripts/plugins made available by an individual programmer, or a group of programmers working together. We can see the first entry in our screenshot is ‘ReaTeam Scripts’, these are a group of people who have decided to band together and make all their scripts available under one name.
We hover our mouse over the ‘enabled/disabled’ state and enable the repository we want to investigate. When we press the ‘browse packages’ button we will see ALL the ‘packages’ available from ONLY the repository we have enabled.
Package is just another name for a groups of files, in this case each package will be the script or plugin you want to download. You don’t need to worry if the package is made of one file or many, it’s still called a package and it’s all dealt with automatically for you.
Press the Browse Packages button and we see something similar to this:
Now we can choose which scripts to install, and also manage those that we have previously installed. Everything is pretty much self explanatory here. There is a very good online guide provided, so I suggest you head over there for a full explanation of exactly what everything does.
If you want to make suggestions or chat about ReaPack there is an official forum thread for you to participate in… and don’t forget to donate to the creators of these amazing free additions to Reaper!