[Geany-devel] Plugin Version control (explained?)

Matthew Brush mbrush at xxxxx
Wed Aug 17 18:34:11 UTC 2011

On 08/16/2011 10:37 PM, Lex Trotman wrote:
> Hi All,
> Given that the previous thread had moved way off topic, I started this one.
> After thinking about it a bit, considering Matthew's, Colomban's and
> Thomas's comments and looking at other systems I came to the
> understanding documented below.  Frank probably already knew all this,
> but I have saved him writing lots of English.  If its right and you
> think its worth using in the newsletter or anywhere else feel free to
> copy it.

Great information, this should most certainly go into the Wiki (as well 
as any other useful places).

> A plugin must have been compiled with a version of Geany with the same
> ABI as the one it is being loaded into.  This ensures that nothing has
> been removed, no semantics have changed and none of the low level bit
> patterns have changed.
> Geany must also supply at least the functions the plugin needs, so the
> API must be greater than that needed by the plugin.
> These two checks are done by the PLUGIN_VERSION_CHECK macro.

Actually, I think usually the checks end up being done by GModule/dlopen 
since they try to load the plugin and bail-out when they get undefined 
symbol errors.  Only after that is when the PLUGIN_VERSION_CHECK macro 
would have a chance to do it's checks.  I could be completely wrong on 
this, but I think it's what I've observed.

> Plugins that wish to use newer features but still support older
> versions can only make the decision at compile time because the API
> number of the Geany that the plugin is being loaded into isn't
> available at runtime.  Making the API number available at runtime may
> be a potential enhancement of the interface and allow plugins to
> support a wider range of versions.

Wouldn't run-time be too late anyway, since the undefined functions 
didn't have a chance to get pre-processed out according the version?


	void some_func(void)
		if (geany_check_api_version(189))
			undefined_function_here(); /* dlopen error */

> The API and ABI number pair should be published (in release notes?)
> when a release is made for use by plugin packagers.

+1 ... Franks list on the Wiki is an great start!

IMO, it's quite useful/important that each function/member's 
doc-comments be annotated with the API version number as well, as has 
been discussed.  This would let developers reading the API docs know 
*exactly* which API version they should check against to use a certain 
thing, even between releases.

> This means that:
> 1. the interface should be as small as possible so that the least
> possible changes impact the ABI.
> 2. structures should not be visible in the interface, instead they
> should be hidden behind getter/setter functions, and

++1 ... This would be great.

Most importantly (I think) is that you could do whatever you want with 
the struct members without breaking API/ABI compatibility and such, 
since they would be opaque.

> 3. interface wrapper functions should be used to hide the
> implementation and side effects.


> The last two have not been Geany policy to date but I now propose that they be.

I agree wholeheartedly.

A bit O/T, but it would also be great to get rid of the need for those 
pesky globals `geany_plugin`, `geany_data`, and `geany_functions` 
required to defined/included in each TU of the plugin.  At least for the 
first two, they could (one already is) be just passed into the plugin's 
entry-point (plugin_init()).  As for `geany_functions`, I'm not sure, 
since all those weird macros in `geanyfunctions.h` require it.

Matthew Brush

More information about the Devel mailing list