Re: gnome-software and external plugins

On Sun, 2016-05-22 at 18:06 +0200, Sébastien Wilmet wrote:
I wanted to comment with my experience on gedit. gedit allows
plugins since a long time, probably more than a decade. I'm a
young contributor to gedit, interested by the gedit core codebase
(making it more re-usable), but there is a big problem: maintaining
gedit API. We cannot refactor the code freely without breaking the

We had a similar experience with Epiphany, which used to allow
extensions written in C, in a style similar to gedit and Software. As
the years went by, extensions started to break, until eventually half
of them didn't work anymore. For us, extensions were a big mistake.
GNOME Shell extensions have this same problem. Firefox did better, but
in the end it too had to give up; you've probably heard all its
extensions need to be rewritten now.

It's not that external plugins in general are bad, it's that allowing
them access to your application's internals is bad. Chrome took a
different approach. It gives extensions access to a *small* set of
JavaScript APIs that exist solely for use by extensions, so extensions
are quite limited in what they can do, but those APIs are stable and
don't interfere with browser internals. I've heard this approach works
well. Firefox recently adopted the same approach (down to exposing the
same APIs; it would be welcome in Epiphany as well).


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