P4EXP, the Helix Plugin for Windows Explorer lets you perform basic Helix Core functions from the familiar file management environment of Windows Explorer. It’s great for an artist, designer or admin to access files in the version control system quickly without formal training on Helix Core. P4EXP works with Windows 7, 8 and 10.

To install P4EXP, go to downloads on Perforce.com, and select the Helix Plugin for Windows Explorer. Run the installer, and select the P4EXP plugin for installation.

Let’s see P4EXP in action. I’m going to perform a quick edit on a Java source code file. On my desktop, I have a shortcut to a folder in my Helix Core workspace on my Windows 10 desktop computer. I double-click the shortcut and here are the files I’ve been working on.

I need to make a small change to EBolt. Let’s quickly check to see if anyone else is working on this file. To do that, I simply right-click the file, go to the Perforce Helix menu and choose “Properties”.

By selecting the “Checked Out By” tab, I see that no one else has checked it out. Even if they had, it’s not a problem, because Perforce will keep track of my changes, and those made by another person, ensuring that no one’s work will be lost or overwritten.

So, I go ahead and check out EBolt by right clicking and using the Perforce Helix menu. I make a couple of little changes. “Save” and close the file.

You can also compare, or Diff, versions of files from the right-click menu. Here, I’m comparing the version I changed that is in my workspace to the one in the Helix Core depot.

To check my changes into Helix Core, I use the Perforce Helix menu again and choose “Submit”. I complete the changelist description, and click “Submit”.

Some of these operations such as “Checkout” and “Remove from Workspace” can be performed on more than one file at once if needed.

If you need to conduct more version control system operations of a larger scope than the basics provided by P4EXP, right-click the file and, in the Perforce Helix menu, choose “Show in P4V”. For details about P4V, the full-featured Helix visual client, go to Perforce.com.

This concludes our overview of P4EXP. You can find additional details in the P4EXP online help.

Course - Using IDEs and Plugins to Access Helix