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What would you do with a Democracy extension system?

December 15th, 2006 by Nicholas Reville

We’re thinking of making an extension system for Democracy Player (like Firefox has). But we want to try to gauge whether there is real interest in making extensions and what kind of extensions people would be most likely to make, so that we know what functionality needs to be possible to modify.

So… what kind of extension would you like to see for Democracy Player? If you’re a developer, do you think that you would make an extension? Ultimately, the question is: should we put some of our developers’ time into making this possible? It’s up to you– leave us a comment.

36 Responses to “What would you do with a Democracy extension system?”

  1. I don’t know what and if I’d *do* anything with it, but have you looked at NetNewsWire Pro’s ability to “subscribe” to a locally running script or program that outputs RSS?

    totally contrived example: a program that connects to a pop server, downloads any multimedia attachments, and outputs a Media RSS feed. Point Democracy at that program, and you’ve got a video inbox.

    Actually, that’s not so contrived. I kinda want that ;)

  2. Grant says:

    Extensions sound great, but how about the ability to increase font sizes in the Linux version? Anyone using Democracy on Linux on a TV knows what I’m talking about. Not being able to increase those fonts is crippling Democracy’s usability for me.

  3. Marius says:

    As suggested by Ross, a plugin could allow you to create a virtual channel for example. It could do this by scrapping a web page, scanning a local mail box, a remote POP3 mail box, a newsgroup, etc.

    Also, plugins could act as filters for channels, either editing the items or removing some of them.

    Or you could have a virtual channel plugin that scans several real channels and then extracts only some items. Basically this would combine existing channels and retain only some items (keyword search for example).

  4. Go for it! How could it possibly be a waste of your developers’ time if it opens up the platform to further development and adoption?

    To me it seems Democracy Player is a perfect example of an application that many users would prefer to “ship” with a small footprint and small feature set and extend by adding only the features that they intend to use.

    And in answer to your other question, yes; I would gladly contribute an extension or two.

  5. rebootjac says:

    If it means extensions like memory management, alternate file player ability (do to junk movie encodings), or even OPML support… count me in.

    Anything that could make it easier for me to customize my experience and this program will be a good step in the right direction. The name of the game in today’s age is customizability and openess. Extensibility is a good idea.

    However, you need to make the basic underlying program stable enough first so that developers can be inspired to add functions on top of it.

    Adding more on top of something that is not stable is NEVER a good idea (Jenga anyone?)

    Democracy is not stable. In fact, the sad truth is that I am growing both accustomed and frustrated in having it literally choke on my feedlist. Some videos, in fact, have never ran or played correctly no matter the version I try.

    Obviously, something is wrong if the same videos that I have problems with in Democracy run fine on the same player engine that Democracy uses (VLC) ouside of Democracy.

  6. m--s says:

    Extensions? The possibilities are endless…

    * keyboard-only control of all functions (including the player functions); this is essential for disabled people IMHO
    * extending the built in browser with at least some of the right click functionality
    * maybe the use of external player instead of the trimmed-down VLC
    * allowing more control for power users, I mean something like about:config, but also “view source”, etc…
    * import/export functionality

    Everything described above shouldn’t be made available by default, because it will confuse novice and non-geek users. Availability as extension, however, is completely different story. So… do not hesitate… GO FOR IT! :)

    Of course, I also fully support the above comment (made by rebootjac).

  7. j says:

    i dont think dtv is stable or complex enough to justify extensions, the focus should rather be on getting the basics right. its not to hard starting to work on new features within dtv right now, also modularity as it is done with the 2 playback engines on linux is possible without extensions.

  8. børge says:

    I own a Meizu Mini Player (M6) DAP (“mp3-player). It is great for watching videos, but it’s a little tricky to convert videos for it. I’m also a huge fan of the show with ze frank and I would love it if Democracy could automatically convert those videos for use on my Mini Player (and even also automatically transfer them to my player when it’s connected). I think extensions is the best way to do this, because then you could have one extension to convert videos for use on iPods, one to convert videos for use on Creative Zen, one for Meizu Mini Player, etc. That would be awesome!

  9. pete says:

    Absolutely no unless democracy 1.0 is out and it runs flawlessly on todays distibutions (linux). Every release is said to be _much_ better than the one before, however I really don’t feel it that way. They are always better, but something else goes wrong. What we need first is a bulletproof player (because what’s already implemented is very cool and enough for now), _then_ think about extensions.
    On Ubuntu at least, DP always crashes, plays the videos without audio, and playing audio-only files looks and feels very unfinished.

    My point is: I wouldn’t implement such things just yet, would concentrate on bug fixing first, the player is very cool as it is (minus the bugs which make me have to play the video/audio externally etc.)

  10. ben says:

    Just so folks know, we are thinking about extensions now because it’s a big topic and we wanted to get community feedback on what people would do with the extensions before deciding if it’s something we want. We definitely won’t do it before 1.0.

    I think a lot of suggestions so far are quite cool. The idea of using a script as a virtual channel is awesome, and it seems like folks can think of really good uses for it. Also a plugin system for export/import filters like børge suggests would be nice.

    I’d like to hear if anyone has ideas for extensions that alter the UI more. Firefox gives extensions the ability to hook into the xul chrome in all kinds of crazy ways. Can people think of ideas that would need that kind of extensibility?

  11. Joshua King says:

    The main use I’d have for it is to integrate a ‘Democracy-To-Go’ system where I could have a device profile which triggers an (optional, selectable per channel) encode (using external tools) of incoming video to a format playable for my portable device (in my case, my mobile phone) so that they are ready for transfer when I plug my phone in a press a button somewhere.

    The ability someone mentioned of allowing extensions to create virtual channel pages in the UI means the script could (within a channel folder) have Ready to Transfer and On Portable Device views.

    As for hooking deeper than that, I’d love Democracy to interact better with my Apple Remote (Mac OS X version) so that could be a ‘deep extension’.