(EN) Plugin Manager notices
By jara on V 30, 2007
There are some terms and use-cases of NetBeans Plugin Manager that are not clear for some users. I will try to summarize the most important of them:
1.First of all there are 2 different actions "install" and "activate" in Plugin Manager. The difference between them is following:
Installed plugin can be activated or deactivated. Deactivated plugin is not loaded by the module system so that it doesn't waste resources until it is activated. It resides in proper directory so that it can be activated (loaded by module system) quickly. During the installation of ordinary plugin it is automatically activated (special plugin types - Eager, Fixed and Autoload behave differently). Such details should not be important for users.
2.How can be plugin uninstalled?
There are 2 views of plugins in Plugin Manager. The default "category view" and simple "plugins view". The first one is better for most of users because plugins are grouped to the categories and operations are invoked at these categories. It is more synoptical because users work with the short list. The second "plugins view" may be valuable for advanced users that need to install/uninstall/activate/deactivate only single plugin. This is not so common so that the recommended is the "category view". The view can be switched in Plugin Manager's Settings tab through the "Show plugin details" checkbox.
In the NetBeans Plugin Manager there is the "Installed" tab that contains list of installed plugins/categories. Plugins/categories can be uninstalled by selecting the checkbox by the plugin/category followed by pushing Uninstall button.
To deactivate category/plugin there are popup menu items in Installed tab starting with the word Deactivate. Similar way is available for Activate action. I have to mention that the part of activation and deactivation is going to be redesigned.
3.How can I see list of plugin dependencies, classpath?
The installation of dependencies should be transparent for users. Users usually don't care about dependencies, classpath... they just need to install some feature. This is why the "category view" is default in the NetBeans Plugin Manager.
4.Show it in Updates vs. New Plugins tab
Plugin Manager has one not very intuitive behavior. Let's assume we have e.g. editor plugins "X" and "Y" grouped in category with name "Editing". Imagine that the user installs this group. Then let's assume that new plugin "Z" is added to update center and it is categorized to "Editing" too. From the group point of view the category is partially installed so that it appears in "Updates" tab. But when the plugin view is active then "Z" plugin appears in "New Plugins" tab (in this case it is just a single plugin no matter what category it belongs to). I do agree that this behavior is not very comprehensive at the first sight.
5.How to Select All/Deselect All
In Plugin Manager you can invoke popup menu on lists of categories/plugins. There are contextual items in this popup like Select All/Deselect All.
6.Merge Downloaded to New Plugins
In one comment of my blog there appeared idea that "Downloaded" can be merged to "New Plugins", in addition to provide a "add local module" button. I don't agree with this, because it is more synoptical to have these in separate tabs (at least for me). Maybe this is a topic for discussion with others.
At the end I would like to say that the Plugin Manager is not completely finished yet. There is big progress on fixing issues and some improvement are still in process. For example Active column wil be removed from Installed tab or contextual popup menu items will change. I hope all changes will help to usability of the Plugin Manager.