Third-party plugins work when not connected to the internet, but . . .

At the last Office Hours I asked about third-party plugins not working when there was no internet connection to the computer. I had three reports of this with my third-party plugin, which does NOT require an internet connection to work. I finally tried to replicate this by turning off my computer and unplugging my router to simulate being disconnected from the internet. I turned on the computer, opened Ps, and (happily) my third-party plugins DID continue to work. So, that’s a good thing and is the opposite of the reports I had from the three customers.

However, when I reconnected to the internet with Photoshop open, ALL my third-party plugins (not just mine) apparently reinstalled and opened. They were all bunched up in the upper left corner of my monitor. Even the third-party plugins I had closed in my workspace prior to disconnecting from the internet were now open in the upper left corner of Ps. I had to re-close several of them that I wasn’t using.

So, while I’m glad to see my plugins still work when the computer is disconnected from the internet, it seems odd that they would all reinstall and reopen once the internet connection was restored. I know it’s necessary to have an internet connection when installing third-party plugins to cross-check if the plugin is distributed via the Adobe Marketplace, but this reinstalling of all the third-party plugins seems a bit strange, so I’m not convinced that something odd might not happen to third-party plugins when the computer is disconnected from the internet.

I already reported my concern to @Ingo directly via email long time ago, but I will repeat it here, because letting plugin install without internet connection is a major security flaw…

What I mean?
When any user pays for the plugin and installs, they can easily get the CCX file and share with anyone. If there’s no internet connection when plugin is installed, ID is not checked and plugin runs without any issue. No matter how much this plugin costs.

Basically developers still need to implement some kind of custom protection from theft, which probably would require internet access to activate the plugin anyway :man_shrugging:

I would strongly encourage Adobe to look into it and require internet access upon plugin installation at least

I’d have to disagree on it being required for EVERY plugin. maybe an option for the plugin dev to require a connection could be a middle ground.

however you shouldn’t rely on adobe to protect you plugin since it can be easily copied after it is installed and can be easily installed on another system if the person try enough

I’d prefer to see an API where a plugin could query if it was authorized for its manifest ID (ie purchased or free in the marketplace).

This would be very valuable and each developer could implement protection to a degree they deem appropriate (obfuscation/encryption/protection of the code to ensure robustness, time required to check again, grace periods for offline use, etc).


That would probably be even better

Oh, I just commented on the other thread about connectivity as well… cc: @Sujai, @pkrishna

I continue to get reports that plugins that have been installed by non-Marketplace .ccx files are also unavailable when there is no internet connection. A member of my camera club just mentioned this last night that my plugins, which they installed via .ccx, were missing when they visited a location w/o internet connectivity. My plugins do NOT require an internet connection to work, so there’s no reason in the code why they should fail when there is no internet connectivity. When the camera club member had an internet connection again, his plugins came back. So, there’s definitely something going on here that shouldn’t be happening or is not documented as to why it is happening.

@AnthonyK Will you be willing to share the ccx file? Would like to reproduce this issue on our end to investigate.

Yes, I can send you a .ccx file, but it’s not specific to my plugin. All plugins disappear. Those installed from the Marketplace as well. The latest report I had on this was that the user was giving a presentation at a conference and specifically tested to make sure their plugins were present before leaving on the trip when connected to the internet. At the conference, they were NOT connected to the internet during the presentation. Ps was opened, and the plugins WERE available. Then they went to Lr and exported an image to Ps, and it was at this time that the plugins went missing. They tried to open the CC app, but couldn’t get in. So, during the presentation, they connected to the motel’s WiFi, logged into Creative Cloud, and the plugins came back. Since then, even disconnected from the internet, the plugins don’t go away.

This person was on a Windows computer.

It sort of sounds like Lightroom tried to check-in with Adobe when the computer was not connected to the internet, and, failing to do so, logged the person out of Creative Cloud thereby rendering their plugins inoperable until they logged back into Creative Cloud via an internet connection.

I’m not using Lr, but have tried exporting images from Camera Raw to Ps when disconnected from the internet, and plugins keeps working. I’ve even used “Exit Creative Cloud” on Windows to close the CC app when disconnected from the internet and then restarted Ps, and all the plugins are still there. So, I’ve not been able to reproduce this, but have enough reports to know it’s real.

Send me your email if you still want a .ccx file.

I think CC apps do require subscription verification via the internet about once month?

So, maybe if that check-in fails, so do plugins?

@Jarda It used to be monthly checks for CC apps, but I read it got pushed to 90 days to support some edge cases (imagine working off a laptop in some very remote location). I’d hope there would be clear guidance if this limit were hit, but who knows how it might actually work for an edge case like plugins under that scenario.

This check-in theory would explain why once the user reconnects to the internet that plugins are again stable after subsequent disconnection form the internet that occurs soon afterwards.

Is there a way to trigger a check-in before going on a trip where internet connectivity is expected to be interrupted so that the risk of losing plugins is minimized (if this theory turns out to be correct)?

I disagree about requiring internet to install all plugins. Maybe for certain developers this is needed. However, certainly not for everyone. So perhaps an option to require it if the developer wants… but certainly not something that forces all developers to require internet to in stall a CCX file.

For my plugins, I have my own CCX distribution and my own licensing system too. I allow anyone to download the CCX, install and test out the plugins before purchasing. The plugins run in trial mode with a watermark until the license key is entered. So for my case, I don’t want to add the complication of having internet being required.

Are you still seeing this happen? I’ve had a few recent cases of plugin being uninstalled. That last case happened after the user lost power and internet from the hurricane.

A fix for the above issue has been identified and confirmed. It is planned for release in an upcoming update of Creative Cloud desktop app.
Thank you @gregbenz for your help and support in pinning down this!

Thank you for your help, @vimalvarshney !