New built-in Plugin Admin (Plugin Manager) is ready



  • @donho

    The new plugin PA has some structural problems:

    1. The new and (in my opinion) far too simple and unflexible folder structure in the plugin ZIP files as well as on the harddisk.
    2. After plugin installation Notepad++ is not restarted. That seems to be nice at first glance but causes serious problems.

    In summary this means a maintenance nightmare for all plugin authors:

    • Because of 1. most of the plugins have to be repackaged.
    • Because of 1. plugin authors have to change access paths for additional files their plugins need to function properly. Despite that these code changes mostly should be easy to do it means some effort of work and time for plugin authors.
    • Because of 2. even more effort is required to fix the problems caused by that point. These code changes require debugging and maybe restructuring of code.

    In my opinion its worth to think about the current concept of the new PA. Wouldn’t it be better to provide a solution that is backward compatible with the existing PluginManager? This way it would be possible to provide all existing plugins seamlessly to the users instead of encumber them a long lasting transition period. Furthermore I’m sure that there will be a bunch of useful plugins which never get updated and thus will be lost for the community.



  • @dinkumoil

    I fully agree with everything said above. I started checking into this and ran into the exact same problems. Some don’t effect me, but especially the restructuring of the zip files is going to be a pain.

    I am curious why the zip files need to have another folder inside. Nearly all zip files for plugins have been created for the pre-existing Plugin Manager. I’m not arguing for keeping 100% backwards compatibility but I would suggest using a packaging scheme which most plugins are already designed for unless there are very good reasons why another scheme is needed.



  • @dail said:

    I am curious why the zip files need to have another folder inside.

    Well, this makes the unpackaging code for the plugin ZIP files very simple… ;-)

    A possible (and still simple) solution would be to modify the unpackaging code so that it unzips the content of the plugin ZIP files directly to the Npp plugins folder. But even that would not be satisfying. I’m sure that there are plugins whose ZIP file structure is not a mirror of the structure of their files and folders on the harddisk after installation (e.g. my plugins are of this kind).

    That’s the reason why I demanded backward compatibility of the new PA to the old Plugin Manager. We need backward compatibility at minimum at the ZIP unpackaging level. That means the new PA should be able to recognize and execute commands similar to the ones in the installation node of the old Plugin Manager’s XML plugin list.



  • I understand the desire to have 1 folder containing everything for 1 plugin…this makes things simpler to manage/maintain, but this does not work for some plugins

    @dinkumoil said:

    Well, this makes the unpackaging code for the plugin ZIP files very simple… ;-)

    What I’m referring to (1 plugin per folder) wouldn’t be that much harder at all. Just the difference between extract a zip directly, or creating a folder first then extracting the zip into it. But yes I understand what you mean if it wants to be compatible with the other plugins.



  • @dail said:

    Can’t you just hash the entire ZIP file itself? That way you know everything is as expected.

    @chcg said:

    Regarding security:
    Checking the hash of the entire zip is also done by the 32bit PluginManager.

    Checking Zip package’s sha-256 hash has been implemented in the testing binaries:
    https://notepad-plus-plus.org/pluginListTestTools/

    (We need both notepad++.exe and GUP.exe for this new behaviour)

    Thank you guys for the suggestions.



  • @dinkumoil said:

    The new plugin PA has some structural problems:

    1. The new and (in my opinion) far too simple and unflexible folder structure in the plugin ZIP files as well as on the harddisk.
    2. After plugin installation Notepad++ is not restarted. That seems to be nice at first glance but causes serious problems.

    The PA’s design is for the future but not for the past, and KISS (keep It Simple Stupid). By giving each plugin its own folder, not only it makes plugins’ deployment easier, but also plugin can avoid to have complicate folder structure.

    The 2nd point you mentioned is a bug, will be fixed in the future.

    Because of 1. most of the plugins have to be repackaged.

    It’s done for once, not a “maintenance nightmare”.

    Because of 1. plugin authors have to change access paths for additional files their plugins need to function properly. Despite that these code changes mostly should be easy to do it means some effort of work and time for plugin authors.

    It’s also done for once. OTOH the plugin folder should be used to store its own binaries or data, not user’s config file. The path of plugin config file should always be %APPDATA%\Notepad++ \plugins\Config since plugin folder will be erase entirely during its update.



  • @dail said:

    but especially the restructuring of the zip files is going to be a pain.

    Why will it be painful? Could you elaborate?

    I am curious why the zip files need to have another folder inside. Nearly all zip files for plugins have been created for the pre-existing Plugin Manager. I’m not arguing for keeping 100% backwards compatibility but I would suggest using a packaging scheme which most plugins are already designed for unless there are very good reasons why another scheme is needed.

    Indeed, it could be created by GUP.exe while the deployment. What’s the scheme for the most plugins then?



  • @donho said:

    The path of plugin config file should always be %APPDATA%\Notepad++ \plugins\Config since plugin folder will be erase entirely during its update.

    I’m not talking about the config files. I’m talking about additional files the plugins need to function properly (e.g. DLLs, help files, documentation). Install in a test environment e.g. the plugins XML Tools, CS-Script, NppExec, ComparePlugin, MarkdownViewerPlusPlus and CodeAlignment. Then look into <Npp-installation-folder>\plugins and <Npp-installation-folder>\doc and you will see what I mean.

    All these plugins create subfolders/store files in the folders mentioned above (DLLs, CHM help files, HTML and TXT files). With the new “One plugin - one folder” policy plugin developers have to change their code to cope with it (can take more or less effort). If they don’t do it the plugin ist lost for the community.

    Repackaging of plugin ZIP files could be done by community volunteers but isn’t sufficient. Changing the code of foreign plugins and recompile them is much more complicated (obtain permission to fork, make adaptions to current development tools, analyse and understand the code, make required changes).



  • Hi there, I am the author of CS-Script plugin and I would really appreciate if a few critical point as confirmed/elaborated.

    1. A few recent changes to the plugin hosting model make it very difficult to maintain plugins. Can you please confirm if the new “One plugin - one folder” model is a final change? Currently I have the following plugin structure working OK while not strictly following the PluginAdmin model:

      Notepad++
        \-- plugins
              \-- CSScriptNpp
                    |-- CSScriptNpp
                    |      |-- CSScriptNpp.asm.dll (managed)
                    |      |-- CSScriptLibrary.dll
                    |      |-- . . .
                    |
                     \-- CSScriptLibrary.dll (native)
      
    2. From plugin-admin.html: The json file will be built into the a binary (nppPluginList.dll), which will be signed (for thes sake of security) and be included in the official distribution.
      Does this mean that any plugin updates users will need to wait until Notepad++ is updated?
      If it is the case, would it be more beneficial to have a separate release schedule for Notepad++ and for PluginList. SublimeText3 and VSCode has achieved this quite harmoniously. May be a similar model can be adopted for Notepad++ as well.

    3. @doho said: The path of plugin config file should always be %APPDATA%\Notepad++\plugins\Config since plugin folder will be erase entirely during its update.
      For years plugins\Config folder was used by the various plugins to store plugin specific configuration. It worked very well because Notepad++ and plugins’ configuration were completely decoupled. “erase entirely during its update” completely breaks the existing paradigm.
      Is there any plans to to somehow reconcile the needs of Notepad++ and the plugins?

    4. Is there any plans to replace ultimately misleading plugin initialization error message “This ANSI plugin is not compatible with your Unicode Notepad++ v7.5.9” with something more accurate?



  • See https://github.com/notepad-plus-plus/nppPluginList/pull/5. There I added a list of the currently available plugins from https://github.com/bruderstein/npp-plugins-x64/blob/master/plugins/plugins64.xml and the location of the main dlls within the existing zip files. Most of them are directly in the root dir of the zip.



  • In my previous post the item #3 is invalid. Please ignore it. I misinterpreted the @doho’s quote.

    @chcg, that’s great, I am glad you have aggregated all PluginManager plugins. But… does this mean that @doho will change his mind and update N++ implementation to allow plugin dll to be in the package root?

    Currently the official N++ plugin admin description requires this:

    Item #6: https://notepad-plus-plus.org/features/plugin-admin.html

    The package should contain the named folder and the same name dll plugin inside the folder (for example: \myExtraordinaryPlugin\myExtraordinaryPlugin.dll).
    


  • In order to be compatible with the most of existent packages, here’s new package folder structure rule:
    The plugin (DLL) should be under the root of zip file (and only).

    There will be no old plugin manager’s copy instructions. I try to KISS in new design of PA.

    All the binaries are updated:
    https://notepad-plus-plus.org/pluginListTestTools/

    Please use them (both notepad++.exe & GUP.exe) to test with your plugin package, and let me know if any problem.

    Thank you for your pertinent suggestions.



  • @donho said:

    The plugin (DLL) should be under the root of zip file (and only).

    After testing the new binaries I want to precise this statement according to my experience.

    • The plugin DLL file should be placed at the root level of the ZIP file. It has to be the only DLL file on this level.
    • The root level of the ZIP file can also contain additional files and folders which will be copied to the users harddisk as well.
    • Everything what gets copied from the ZIP file will be stored under <Npp-installation-folder>\plugins\<plugin-name>.

    Presumption: Additional DLL files needed by the plugin have to be placed in an arbitrary subfolder because the destination folder <plugin-name> gets named after the DLL file placed on the ZIP root level.


    @oleg-shilo81 said:

    1. From plugin-admin.html: The json file will be built into the a binary (nppPluginList.dll), which will be signed (for thes sake of security) and be included in the official distribution.
      Does this mean that any plugin updates users will need to wait until Notepad++ is updated?

    @donho already answered this question here:

    The release of nppPluginList will be independent from the release of Notepad++, and in the future, Notepad++ will be notified once there’s a new release of nppPluginList and download it.

    As well, nppPluginList will be maintained and released by people of community, since I’ll have not much vacant time for it.



  • Hi, @don-ho, @chcg, @dinkumoil, @dail, @oleg-shilo81 and All

    Just a neophyte question, because I’m quite far from creating my own plugin: ;-))

    After reading all your posts and in order to summarize, if I understand you, correctly, for a plugin named, say, abcde.dll :

    • It should be placed in the folder ..\Plugins\abcde

    • All other files and folders, necessary for the plugin, which were, initially located under ..\Plugins\Config\abcde ( or elsewhere ! ), will, now, be located under ..\Plugins\abcde

    And so, in the long run, the config directory should disappear, shouldn’t it ?

    Personally, I think that, if this new organization were implemented, it would be better because everything, regarding, for instance, the abcde.dll plugin, would be included in its own folder ..\Plugins\abcde :-))

    Cheers,

    guy038



  • @guy038 said:

    a plugin named, say, abcde.dll :

    • It should b placed in the folder ..\Plugins\abcde

    That is correct.

    • All other files and folders, necessary for the plugin, which were, initially located under ..\Plugins\Config\abcde ( or elsewhere ! ), will, now, be located under ..\Plugins\abcde

    No, files in the config folder stay there. Nothing changes.

    And so, in the long run, the config directory should disappear, shouldn’t it ?

    Personally, I think that, if this new organization were implemented, it would be better because everything, regarding, for instance, the abcde.dll plugin, would be included in its own folder ..\Plugins\abcde :-))

    This would be a bad idea. At least for local installations of Npp the plugins own folder is stored in a proteced location (usually C:\Program Files\Notepad++\plugins\abcde). Thus the plugin wouldn’t be able to write to its own config file(s) because admin rights would be required to do that.



  • Hi @dail,

    Thanks, for all your clarifications :-)

    Regarding my last statement, I’m so used to have, on my laptop, several versions of N++, at a time, all located in a user-defined folder, not related with any system-protected area that I had just forgotten the particular case you were talking about !



  • @dinkumoil said:

    After testing the new binaries I want to precise this statement according to my experience.

    The plugin DLL file should be placed at the root level of the ZIP file. It has to be the only DLL file on this level.
    The root level of the ZIP file can also contain additional files and folders which will be copied to the users harddisk as well.
    Everything what gets copied from the ZIP file will be stored under <Npp-installation-folder>\plugins<plugin-name>.
    Presumption: Additional DLL files needed by the plugin have to be placed in an arbitrary subfolder because the destination folder <plugin-name> gets named after the DLL file placed on the ZIP root level.

    Very accurate description you made. It will be included in the PA guide line if I’m allowed to use it.



  • @donho said:

    It will be included in the PA guide line if I’m allowed to use it.

    Of course, feel free to do that.



  • Are you sure you did your last changes to both versions of GUP and Android++?
    For me seems that x64 works with new scheme, but x86 works with old



  • @Hsilgos said:

    For me seems that x64 works with new scheme, but x86 works with old

    I’ve tested both 32 bit and 64 bit Notepad++ and both worked with the new scheme.


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