Sonntag, 2. August 2009

Branch in the works: Plugins - and why we want them

Now that the "config confusion" branch has been merged into trunk, the way is free to work on a more exciting branch: The long awaited plugin System.

Now, as long as we've been planing to build a plugin system (and that has been one of our plans for months), we've always been asked the legitimate question, why a text editor without distractions needs a plugin system.

The prospect of managing a whole lot of things before just starting to write is indeed not quite what one might be looking for in our project. But, fear not, we have taken this into consideration.

First thing is, we still want to provide a solid core for PyRoom that works out of the box, no configuration needed. That has been and always will be one of our goals. Now that this concern is out of the way, let's head on to some more lengthy reasoning about why we think a plugin system actually helps us keep out feature creep of PyRoom.

In the past, we've received a lot of feature requests. Some of those have been incorporated into PyRoom, but others had to be declined. Among those, most were actually good suggestions that would really have improved the overall PyRoom experience - but not for everyone. Some feature requests were quite legitimate for a subset of our users but would have bloated the programme for anyone else. As an example, a long standing and very plausible feature request is syntax highlighting. This would be quite an overkill feature for most writers, but certainly not for those editing LaTeX files.

By providing a plugin interface, we plan to allow some kind of compromise between keeping the core of PyRoom lean and productive, while allowing selective addition of features by installing plugins. This actively helps us keep features out of PyRoom that not everyone might be interested in dealing with.

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