Scripts as add ons or extensions

Scripts as add ons or extensions

Postby andressf » Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:40 am

Scripts should be provided to Freplane's users as add-ons or extensions, the way other important and user-friendly programs do (Firefox, LibreOffice, etc.), i.e. as application modules that are ready to install and use.

Currently, the very valuable work spent on developing scripts and their functionalities cannot be appreciated by most users, and the scripts remain, unfortunately, unused. This is not only bad for the user but also for the developer of the script, since the developer cannot get the feed-back needed to improve and develop the script. In this way, also new ideas for new scripts remain scarce; currently, it oftens happens that even the developer of a script doesn't know what the applications of the script could be. On the other side, users shouldn't be asked to develop extra programming skills nor to perform tedious manual handlings to benefit from the functionalities of a script; this would be something like a baker offering to the consumer half-baked bread and a recept to bake the dough before the consumer can finally eat and benefit. (Not recommendable to eat the half-finished product if you do not want to get an indigestion).

Scripts could remain so as currently, as a sort of macros. There would then be scritps and extensions, just as the case is with the other mentioned programs.

To finish by the practical aspects:
- the extension (based on a script) would be a module that could be downloaded by the user, and directly be installed and made operative by the Freeplane program without mediation of the user.
- there should be an online library of Freeplane extensions (so as, for instance, for Firefox and LibreOffice) where developers of extensions offer their product for downloading.
- each extension would have its own web page where its main functionalities and requirements (hardware, other programs, etc.) are described, evaluation and comments by the users, etc.

Regards,

Andrés
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Re: Scripts as add ons or extensions

Postby spinifex » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:26 pm

I support this strongly if (i feel) a bit blithely, because I have no idea of the ease with which a conversion from script to "module" can be done.

One advantage is that if some functionality was only an "add-on install" away, then there would not be so much need for certain advanced features (existing and/or future) to be included in what could be a "base" version of FP. I have noticed that at least some beginning users are overwhelmed by the range of options (and the inevitably complex menu), so the Firefox model could be an attractive poweruser/newbie compromise.

cheers

geoff
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Re: Scripts as add ons or extensions

Postby dpolivaev » Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:33 pm

Great. I like the idea.

I think we do not need a modules but just a script manager dialog where user could

* see what scripts are installed,
* remove them
* add new scripts from clipboard or text area, from files, from URL and by drag and drop

and which should verify script syntax and API version on install.

For verifying an API script should become additional annotations where required API version numbers can be given.
I think Volker can define it better than me ;)

Regards, Dimitry
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Re: Scripts as add ons or extensions

Postby jokro » Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:41 pm

It would be a big advantage if this functionality could be made to work with java applets as well.
regards
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Re: Scripts as add ons or extensions

Postby boercher » Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:51 pm

Hi Andres,

Scripts should be provided to Freplane's users as add-ons or extensions, the way other important and user-friendly programs do (Firefox, LibreOffice, etc.), i.e. as application modules that are ready to install and use.


Thank you for this suggestion. I support it strongly. It should be possible to extend Freeplane with add-ons that you download from some central market place. I think of two different kind of add-ons: a) Plugins like Docear which integrate very deeply with Freeplane and b) Groovy scripts. Not all scripts are proper add-ons in the way we are used to them in Firefox and LibreOffice: At least the following criteria should be fulfilled: 1. An add-on has to be usable for more than one or two users. 2. An add-on shouldn't need much configuration to be useful. If it needs configuration then this should be supported by a GUI. 3. An add-on should integrate nicely into the GUI, the menu and toolbars.

We'll see how much we can achieve in the next release. I think that Dimitry is right: Let's begin with Groovy add-ons. What he proposes sounds doable.

On the other side, users shouldn't be asked to develop extra programming skills nor to perform tedious manual handlings to benefit from the functionalities of a script; this would be something like a baker offering to the consumer half-baked bread and a recept to bake the dough before the consumer can finally eat and benefit. (Not recommendable to eat the half-finished product if you do not want to get an indigestion).


It's funny that you use this example. It might sound ridiculous to ask customers to finish their bread for themselves in your home country. But in Germany it's very common to buy half baked bread and to finish it at home. It's easy and it's all described on the package... And I will keep on encouraging users to take up Groovy scripting. Someone has to write these add-ons after all.

Regards, Volker
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Re: Scripts as add ons or extensions

Postby boercher » Sun Aug 14, 2011 5:58 pm

I must have had Phil's suggestion in mind when I had the idea to use a mindmap as an installation package format for Groovy add-ons.

Regards, Volker
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insertInlineImage.mm
Example add-on: insertInlineImage.mm
(13.1 KiB) Downloaded 54 times
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Re: Scripts as add ons or extensions

Postby andressf » Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:11 pm

Hi Dimitry, Volker,
great to know your ideas on the subject of add ons and extensions in Freeplane, and that you are committed to take practical steps on this subject. I hope indeed that the development of this functionality not only benefits users but also entice more users and programers to take up Groovy scripting, and -als Geoff suggests- to improve the flexibility of FP to adapt to its users.

@Volker,
nice story about the habits of bread consumption in Germany. In this, as in other matters, everything is indeed relative and it is easy (as happened in my intended simile) to forget or overlook this principle.

Thanks again to you, Dimitry and Volker, and to all FP developers for your great job.

Andrés
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