Direction of Pidgin development

Etan Reisner pidgin at
Sat May 5 06:08:37 EDT 2007

On Fri, May 04, 2007 at 10:46:19AM -0400, Dale Worley wrote:
> > Back the point of this, with, users wanting to fulfill Pidgin's potential
> > now have to drudge through plugins and popup a window to set individual
> > plugin settings, this is not "easier", hiding these options in such a
> > fashion protects the ignorant users but merely hinders the time it takes to
> > explain/setup Pidgin yourself, or for someone else who is looking for these
> > features.
> >
> > I for one feel no loss of usability with Pidgin yet, but I do feel that I'm
> > using a program no longer actually built for me, it is built for the "dumb
> > wanting easy" which is what every opponent messenger seems to target.
> The deep problem is that the plugins are affecting the configuration UI
> in a way that makes it harder to navigate.  Or you perceive that, but in
> this sort of issue, the perception *is* the reality.  That suggests that
> not enough study has been put into the various subordinate windows, how
> they are organized, and how they interact with each other.  It's a tough
> task (but vital) that when a plugin is added, its interface elements get
> integrated into the interface in a way that makes deep sense relative to
> the logical structure of the interface.  I suspect that right now, the
> added interface elements are organized based on which plugin supports
> the element, which may not correspond to the overall *logical* structure
> of the settings.
> Dale

While I fully understand and appreciate the sentiment and idea behind this
it adds an incredible level of complexity to the working of plugins, and I
don't mean from a code point of view. The 'Configure Plugin' button is
large and lights up when a plugin with a configuration page gets loaded,
that is good and obvious. People already have enough trouble with plugins
that add items to the Tools menu, let alone the plugins that add buddy
right-click menus, I can only imagine the confusion that would ensue if
people started needing to load a plugin and then go searching through the
entirety of the preferences dialog looking for the preference setting that
the plugin they loaded just added.

And while you couldn sort of solve that by having the plugin tell them
where to go look how is that better than having the configuration in the
Plugins dialog directly? Also, what about people who use a pidgin that is
preconfigured to have some plugins loaded and so never realize that some
preference they really like comes from one and then when they go install
it themselves go crazy when they can't find it. And yes, people really do
lose settings or forget they set them all the time.

So, to sum up, while I like the theory I think in practice it causes more
issues than it solves.


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