I was asked to share a bit about my roadmap regarding plugins. I'll try
to give you a better idea with this post.
My ultimate goal is to implement a clean and maintainable way to support
non-C plugins, preferably using existing widely used techniques. I
concluded that libpeas in conjunction with gobject-introspection can
provide the base for this. Since Geany is not at all prepared for this I
have several infrastructure which I do want to get merged into Geany.
When Geany core is sufficiently setup for this, the non-C plugin
enablement can happen outside the core, as a plugin, to stabilize there.
So, here's the set of infrastructure changes for the core. Please let me
stress that all of this will happen in backward-compatible manner, no
existing plugins break as part of this.
- linkage-cleanup (PR#429) - This changes the way plugins access Geany
API functions. Instead of exporting a pointer to a struct of structs of
API function pointers, now the APIs are exported directly. This work
also includes an effort to stop exporting all function (we do this
currently as a workaround to allow gtkbuilder to work), so *only* API
function are exported and plugins cannot call internal function anymore.
This change is also required to allow gobject-introspection to find
geany functions at runtime (through g_module_symbol()) in the future.
- new API functions for registering keybindings (PR#376). The current
API functions do not allow context information to be stored and passed
to the key handler function. This makes it very hard for non-C plugins
to use these function. So what's needed are key handlers that get the
necessary context information. This allows interprepted language plugins
to register keybindings.
- A new plugin loader mechanism (a thread about this is already running
on the devel list): Similarly to the keybindings, the plugin_* functions
implemented by plugins do not carry any context information, making it
hard for non-C plugins to implement them properly. Therefore a new
loader mechaism is needed so that the context information can be passed.
The loader works such that an API function is called to register a
function pointer table. This is crucial to possibly support plugins that
register other plugins (so called pluxies) which is simply not possible
with the current mechaism. The current loader is kept for backwards
compatibility (but will not receive new features).
- New API functions to allow plugins to act as proxy plugins (pluxies).
These pluxies can then implement whatever is needed to execute code in
the in the actual plugin, like invoking an interpreter or firing up a
java vm. The pluxies call the new loader's API function on behalf of the
actual plugin. The API function to implement the pluxies is a simple
geany_register_pluxy() that, much like the normal plugin loader, that
pluxies use to pass a function pointer table which implements the
necessary hooks (probe(), load() and unload())
Once this is in place in the core, my roadmap contains the following
items, which are implemented (at least initially) in a plugin, so no
further changes to the cure should be necessary.
- Modify geanypy to use the new pluxy APIs. This will finally enable
geanypy to show the python plugins in the normal PM dialog and support
- Create a new pluxy that supports libpeas-based plugins (codename:
peasy). Peasy will use libpeas to load plugins and their metadata.
- Part of the peasy work is also work on creating vala and
gobject-introspection bindings for Geany's API functions, so that we can
This is my roadmap so far. It changed quite a bit since I started this
non-C-plugins effort a year ago, but I hope it will be good for
everyone. Please share your opinions on this or ask questions.