Extensions and SketchUp versions

hi, new here to Sketchup extensions and plugins :smiley:

I have some doubts:

  1. I see here (Page Not Found | SketchUp Extension Warehouse) that extensions are classified by SketchUp versions. What does this exactly mean? that SketchUp 2016 Extensions don’t work in Sketchup 2017, or Sketchup 2015, and so…? Does this imply that all the work of the amateur developers for previous SketchUp versions gets wasted as SketchUp version increase?.

  2. Does Sketchup take into account the existence of extensions for the next versions for keeping them working? or maybe the opposite, to make them unworking to force developers to update their own extensions? lol . Or is just natural incompabilities with the software?


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Most extensions work in different versions of Sketchup. But every few years, the version of Ruby used by successive versions of Sketchup changes, and sometimes that breaks an existing extension because Ruby is not 100% backward compatible, or older features are first deprecated then dropped.

Usually, if the extension is still maintained by the original developer, he or she will update it for the new version of Ruby and/or Sketchup. But not always.

And sometimes a new extension can’t work in older versions (or maybe only for a few versions back) because it uses features in SU or Ruby that didn’t exist in older versions.

Does that help understanding of why some extensions may mention particular versions of SU they are known to work with?

If you have the newest version of SU, and an extension doesn’t mention that version, it’s usually worth trying it anyway. It may well work.

thanks, yes, very useful
I have recently installed SketchUp Make 2017, and i was concerned about all those cool previous extensions didn’t work.
Now, I am trying a extension started in 2009 and updated up to 2014, and I think it works (so far). Not sure if it will show some bug in the future… Anyways I’ve got nothing to lose by trying., so extension that I like, extension that I will try, If it does not work properly, either I try to edit it myself with the ruby editor (when I learn the code xD) or it goes to the rubbish :smiley:
thank you

Ok, i don’t know if i am doing wrong, but the extension does not work properly, and it is updated for SU 2017 lol

There are over 550 extension at the Extension Warehouse only for SU 2017 version, so that’s quite enough. I’ve realized that too many extension can slow down the loading of SU when opening it. So I will install only the most useful. I think i gonna desist from installing extensions from other SU versions since I have experienced some conflicts among other tools.

Hi John, try to install as little extensions as possible! Most things extensions do you can also do with native Sketchup tools. And doing them with native sketchup tools is going to help you being a better Sketchup user! It’s giving you a better understanding of the program, it’s limits and possabillities… Offcourse you can later install extensions to do what you can do with native tools to increase speed and productivity. And you can install extensions for difficult or not to do operations right away, but only if you need them. No need to scavenge the extension warehouse for everything you find interresting, just go there when you have a need for them.


thanks for the advice!

Sorry but that’s simply far from the truth. The majority of sketchups power in terms of efficient modelling comes from the available plugins, there is no way you could model something with native sketchup tools as quickly as you could with the plugins available, it’s not even a topic of debate. For a good example of hundres of examples, try creating a profile assembly with sketchup native tools around junctions and than try using the profile builder assembly tool with component and profile capabilities, or try using the fredo box stretch vs the sketchup scale tool, it’s just not even a comparison the difference is so large.

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Technically you could model basically everything with only the line tool. Want a rectangle? Draw 4 lines. Want a circle? Calculate the positions for the vertices using the trig functions on your calculator and use temporary guide edges from the circle center to get to these points, connect the ends and erase the guide edges (okay, you need the eraser tool too).

While I agree it’s good to first gain a solid understanding of the basics so you can later understand what extensions really do to your model, I think extensions are incredibly powerful and are the things that make SketchUp SketchUp, similar to how apps makes a smartphone a smartphone.

In addition to extensions that speed things up, like drawing a whole wall with the same amount of work as drawing a single line with native tools, there are also extensions adding mathematical precision you otherwise cannot have in SketchUp. For instance, the native fog control is a slider where the precision is determined by its pixel width (and how precisely you can move your hand). An extension could set the fog to start at a certain point, e.g. exactly in a section plane, and end at a certain distance, e.g. exactly 5 m. This precise control is simply not supported using native controls.

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This is more the SketchUp API change than Ruby language ?

I guess it’s a bit of both. Ruby gets stricter and quirky things that weren’t really supposed to be used can stop working. If you are strict as a developer about making good quality code and follow best practises from the start, not just settle for what works here and now, Ruby changes aren’t that much of an issue. The same can really be said about the SketchUp API. Some quirky things worked by accident but weren’t documented and later removed, like how exploding a single instance group let you keep the references to its contained entities after the explosion. Pure Ruby extensions, if well crafted, generally should just keep working. Extensions with compiled code is a whole other matter as these need to be recompiled with each new Ruby version.

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And there is the problem of the abandon by Trimble of the free desktop Sketchup.

To get a large user’s audience, extension creator must keep compatibility with 2017 API.

Contrarily of what you think, the majority of extension users use the Pro version of SketchUp.

so much the better, because I saw developments stop

This is precisely why I’m considering having 2 SketchUp licenses. One perpetual and one subscription. If Trimble does anything that breaks the code of the numerous plugins that make my workflow possible I will be able to just sit on the last version that worked. Saying you can do all this with native tools is like saying you can fly somewhere or you can walk you can get there but it will take 100 times longer.

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If they work with 2019, you’re good to go, with subscription, you can just log in. No need to downgrade a license. But, its always good to have a backup.

Very complicated to continue to use SketchUp. This is why I will update until the end of my classic license (2021) probably. And consider to abandon SketchUp since now.

Action speaks louder than words.


:+1: exactly

I am not debating this at all, i even mentioned it myself! Since the OP is a hobbyist/ Make-user like myself i guess speed and efficiency is not so much of a priority… I just think it’s better to first learn the basics before installing a plethora of extensions without having a need for them or understanding how they work.


I couldnt agree more with you. I use quite a few extensions myself. Some to do repettetive tasks that saves me a lot of mouseclicks, and some to do things that i can’t with native tools! Both types are very handy.

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