« on: November 14, 2009, 09:42 AM »
I just switched to FARR from Executor. It is just as fast as the latter but a lot more functional with lots of useful add-ons. I'm also very impressed by the active user community and its dedicated author, Mouser. There is one major thing that has stumped me as a newbie and that is the use of plug-ins. Their installation and use has some puzzling features:
First, I can't figure out how to activate some of these. Although the installation instructions are to put these plug-ins into subfolders of the FARR plug-in folder, this doesn't seem to be enough to be able to use it. For example, I'd love to be able to use the TinyEV plug-in but I can't figure out how to activate it. Here is my folder structure:
Directory of C:\Program Files\FindAndRunRobot\Plugins\Tiny Everything\FARR_TinyEv
2009.11.13 11:40 AM <DIR> .
2009.11.13 11:40 AM <DIR> ..
2009.06.12 08:31 PM 15,872 farr_tinyev.dll
2009.05.30 06:37 PM 414 readme.txt
2009.05.30 12:50 AM 15,086 tinyev.ico
2009.05.30 06:29 PM 234 tinyev.ini
Is this correct? If so, how do you use it? I presume there is some keyword that should start the FARR command line but there is nothing in the readme.txt file or on the webpage where I downloaded the plug-in to indicate how to do that. This seems to be true for many plug-ins; the authors don't actually describe how to use them beyond a brief description on the download page.
Here is another example of a downloaded plug-in, Google maps:
Directory of C:\Program Files\FindAndRunRobot\Plugins\GoogleMaps\gmaps
2009.11.13 09:26 PM <DIR> .
2009.11.13 09:26 PM <DIR> ..
2008.09.22 12:13 PM 1,057 gmaps.alias
2008.09.22 11:31 AM 1,130 gmaps.dcupdate
2009.11.13 09:26 PM <DIR> icons
2 File(s) 2,187 bytes
This one is a real mystery as there is no.dll file. I tried running DCupdate from the context menu of the system tray icon but Google maps didn't show up as an alias that could be updated. Presumably something more needs to be done before it can be used? Again, there are no instructions on how to use it even if it is installed correctly.
Google plus on the other hand does have a useful readme.html file that gives examples. Perhaps all plug-in authors could be encouraged provided such a file for new users.
in the resident help file, it is stated that plug-ins are.dll files. However, when I download them, I often find that they are.JS files. Does this mean that they have to be compiled before they will run?
I think it would be easier for new users if you expanded your already excellent resident help file with specific examples of how to install plug-ins and use them. You could also state that there is some variability in how plug-ins are installed and used (for example, the FSSC package seems to have quite a different approach from other plug-ins by using the FSubScript program) and that users must therefore consult the form page for that particular plug-in to get some help. Otherwise, a new user like me keeps searching the help file as well as the general forums trying to figure out why things don't work or don't seem to follow the uniform pattern described in your documentation. At this point, the resident help file is mainly directed towards experienced users and developers who need to know what functions are available.
For developers, perhaps you could advise them to have a description.HTML file in their plug-in folder with examples that will help new users know how to use their particular plug-ins. As well, there could possibly be a URL link to the specific forum for the plug-in.
Thanks for reading this long post. I hope it gives you a sense of where one new user is after about three hours of exploring FARR.
Halifax Nova Scotia Canada