Setting up a Windows development environment

This article describes how to set up a Windows development environment with Visual Studio. 

The following tools are required:

  • Ruby 
  • Protobuf
  • CMake
  • Visual Studio
  • Video Player and VLC

The following tools are recommended:

  • Cygwin (if you prefer developing using a UNIX-like environment) 

Setup Instructions

If you do not already have them installed, you must install and set up the following applications:


  1. Install Ruby using the latest 32-bit version (not 64-bit):
  2. Allow the installer to modify the PATH automatically. If you choose to do this manually, continue to step 3. 
  3. If you chose to prevent the installer from modifying the PATH automatically, open the Control Panel and open the System icon.
  4. Click Advanced System Settings, and then Environment Variables.
  5. In Path, append the path to the Ruby bin folder, i.e. "";C:\Ruby22\bin"


Ruby_Protobuf is a pure Ruby implementation of Google's protocol buffers. It is used to pass data between the design environment (After Effects) and the development environment. 

  1. Restart your Cygwin/command-prompt
  2. Install Protobuf using this command: gem install ruby_protobuf
  3. To verify that it ran correctly, run git bash, cmd or powershell.
  4. Run the command ruby -- version


CMake is an extensible, open-source system that manages the build process. 

  1. Download CMake from
  2. Let the installer add CMake to the path; do not add it manually.
  3. Reboot your system. 

Visual Studio

Side-by-side versions of Visual Studio must be installed in order, from oldest to newest, to avoid problems.

Video Player and VLC

To run any sample files, you will need a video player. 

  1. Download and install VLC:
  2. Copy the libvlc.dll and libvlccore.dll into the sample's executable's directory.   (Check: C:\Program Files (x86)\VideoLan\VLC)