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Plugin related feature requests

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During the development of FarrMilk a few things came to my mind which would have given me further possibilities to enhance FarrMilk's user experience. I'd like to put these up for public discussion. None of these are essential for FarrMilk and they could well be totally unnecessary for a lot of other plugins. The reason I post these here (I've sent them to mouser a few weeks ago) is so that other plugin writers can offer their opinion of how useful these features would be to them.

1. It would be good for plugins if they could query (and possibly set) certain FARR options. A couple of examples:
 - With the option 'Hide when focus is lost' set FarrMilk currently can't complete the authorisation process. It would be good if the plugin could temporarily disable that option and put it back once authorisation is complete, or at least tell the user to do so.
 - I'm currently assuming that the user has 'Max. entries to display in normal results' set to 9 (and specify so in the help file). But if the plugin could query this value, it could present certain results in a more dynamic manner, i.e. only using the first (Max - 1) results and make the last one a 'More' entry.
 - Another requirement is that the user is showing the Location column. Well, the plugin works without this but it wouldn't be obvious to the user what he misses. So I think it would be good if the plugin could at least tell the user that he could enable the Location column to enhance his user experience.

2. To further enhance the power of the list view it would be cool if it was possible for plugins to do certain formatting of the output, stuff like bold, italics, etc. and using colours. For FarrMilk I would currently use that to better highlight overdue tasks (currently I print a * behind overdue tasks) and to display the matching part on substring matching of a list name (or whatever), e.g. if the user typed blah '/list=mi' I would print 'List: Farrmilk' to show that it matches the FarrMilk list.

3. Plugins like FarrMilk have no use for the Score value. It would be cool if the Score line in the results could be used like the Location column to display additional information. In FarrMilk I would probably move the URL there or show titles of notes.

4. If plugins could be triggered on keyboard input other than the current Enter / F-key that would offer additional possibilities. In the context of FarrMilk I'm thinking about making it possible to complete tasks by selecting it and the pressing 'c', or deleting it by selecting it and then pressing 'DEL', stuff like that.

It sounds to me like you need completely rewriten list mode. Fot that I would create my own "list mode" in HTML view mode (since I know javascript only :-[ ) and do all the necessary stuff there using premade libraries like scriptaculous etc. You would be able to solve all the issues mentioned ;)

Or I think you can get handle of the window a put there anything you wish. This might also solve that?

BTW: if you decide to write your own list mode pls share ;)

phitsc all great ideas that i would love to see implemented. I think a lot of your requests could be satisfied when Mouser releases the long awaited gridmode :D. Not sure how far away it is but ideally this will give plugin writers complete control of which columns/rows they can display and what their content is.

I had also asked Mouser about cell formatting and i believe he had said something about support for bold, italics, and underline although i could be wrong. It would be great to be able to specify color, font size etc.

The holy grail would be some type of gridmode that supports html cells. As czechboy mentions this is somewhat possible using javascript and html mode which he used for his Table Data plugin. The only limitation with this technique is its limited interface with FARR itself. For example it would be great to be able to scroll through results with the up/down arrow keys, be able to launch or perform actions on a result etc.. I'm sure this is possible using html/js but it might require some work.

as newave hints, i have planned to offer a gridmode to plugin writers, that will let you output any number of columns in any format you want.  i *will* be writing this.  but you may have to wait a couple of months as i work my way through all of my programs.

That's obviously not what I wanted to hear ;). I understand though that you have long term plans with FARR and that they don't correspond with my immediate needs. In context with these long term plans my suggestions might even seem to be wasted time. What I tried to suggest was stuff which I thought would be fairly easy to implement (well, probably not point 2, and I can obviously only guess as I have never seen any FARR source code) but would offer new possibilities for plugins immediately.

To be honest, I'm actually pretty happy with list mode, even as it is now. I think I have shown with FarrMilk that it can already now be used to implement quite powerful plugins (that's what I hope at least). I can see that with the planned grid mode, much more would be possible. I'm just not sure if it's worth the effort when with (what I think) much less effort it would be possible to sufficiently improve what is already there.

These ideas and suggestions are obviously from my very limited view, which stems from my personal requirements of what I think FARR should do for me (besides launching applications of course). The amazing variety of existing FARR plugins shows me though that the public requirements are much broader than my own. The intent of this thread was to show me (and you in the end) how important certain features that would be relevant to me right now would be to others willing to extend FARR's functionality. Well, I think I got my answer.


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