Creating a plug-in architecture

Published on 06/29/09

For the last several months I have been building a plug-in architecture for net-at-hand.

The reason that I did this was to be able to add custom website functionality to client websites without having to make changes to the core functions of Net-at-hand. Originally I used a branch of the Net-at-hand code (I called it Net-at-hand Pro) that I could add functionality to. My thought was that changes I made in Net-at-hand Pro could be rolled into Net-at-hand if I decided it would provide enough benefit to the Net-at-hand users.

It turned out that Net-at-hand and Net-at-hand Pro drifted too far apart to help each other, and Net-at-hand Pro was quickly becoming a mess that I didn’t want to mess with anymore.

So the plugin architecture for Net-at-hand lets me add dynamic functions to a site without affecting anything else. Of course, if a plugin is useful, I have only to add it to other sites as necessary.

Right now, plugins for Net-at-hand are only available from me and through me. I have to build them and I have to install them. In the near future, plugins will be available for all Net-at-hand users to use and enjoy. In the distant future, I will have the plugin environment sufficiently sandboxed that third-party developers will be able to develop their own plugins for their own clients.

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