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New NeoBookk Plugins

Questions about NeoBook PlugIns

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New NeoBookk Plugins

Postby djold1 » Mon Jun 26, 2006 5:17 am

On the heels of a great 5.5 Update I thought I would run by a couple of suggested improvements before additional development got started.

I suppose that this request should go into Suggestions, but since they all involve Plug-ins I felt it was better to put my comments here..

While some of these plug-ins presumably could be done by 3rd party developers, they are so basic and so integrated into the NeoBook fabric that I feel that they really should be done internally. In addition, without igniting the controversy about 3rd part developer delivery and customer support and the impossibility of using free unlicensed plug-in components in commercial products, I will state again that both subjects are an issue that also makes me feel that these plug-ins should be developed by NeoSoft if they are done at all.

Tables: NeoBook lacks a powerful Table handling plug-in. I cannot understand how NeoBook DB can really be effective without editable Table handling.

This has been brought up a number of times in the past and seems to always drop off into a bit bucket. There are a multitude of Table controls in the VB world including the basic ones that come with the VB product, which indicates that they are an essential development component. What features should NeoSoft put in this product? Just look at the VB components and go right down the middle.

If it were a powerful component I would pay what the cost would be for a comparable VB component for it. Why not?

NeoBookDX audio: NeoDX continues to be one of the most powerful audio packages offered anywhere. It has always offered technical features that are either unavailable or are hard to program any other way. What it doesn't have is the visual output features that allow VU meters and other cosmetic display features that really complete an audio package and that are essential for a polished commercial NeoBook audio application.

I have been told that the external hooks do not exist in the Microsoft components that NeoDX uses. I don't know really what to think about this but it doen't sound reasonable to me that stuff that Microsoft uses in all there audio components is not brought out for developers to use.

If a good reliable commercial 3rd party developer wanted to create and support a paid plug-in for this is NeoSoft can't or won't, then I guess I would look at it. However, it would have to work with NeoDX. I'm not interested in other audio plug-ins. I have a couple of little commercial audio applications mostly written that have been laying around for a couple of years simply because they would not be commercially acceptable without VU meters for each individual audio channel.

I realize that both thes plug-ins have been brought up in the past but I still consider that without them, NeoBook has major limitations for commercial development. And those of you that know me are aware that I am willing to put money where my mouth is if good products are produced.

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Postby Neosoft Support » Mon Jun 26, 2006 11:51 am

Hi Pete,

Thank you for your message.

NeoBook lacks a powerful Table handling plug-in.


We'll have to seriously consider adding a grid object to NeoBook in the future, either as a built-in object or possibly as a stand-alone grid plug-in.

In the mean time, NeoBookDB has a basic table option that allows editing. Also the tmSpreadsheet plug-in provides access to spreadsheet/table features.

NeoDX continues to be one of the most powerful audio packages offered anywhere. It has always offered technical features that are either unavailable or are hard to program any other way. What it doesn't have is the visual output features that allow VU meters and other cosmetic display features that really complete an audio package and that are essential for a polished commercial NeoBook audio application.


It could be my limited knowledge DirectX combined with Microsoft's lousy documentation, but we've never had any luck figuring out how to tap into the data required to display a VU meter in NeoBookDX. It certainly not impossible, just really, really difficult.

Part of the problem is that NeoBookDX lets DirectX handle most of the dirty work of the loading and playing media. This makes NeoBookDX able to work with just about any type of media format with very low overhead, but it insulates us from the raw data required for a VU meter. I'm sure there's a solution somewhere, but finding it has so far proven elusive.
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Postby djold1 » Mon Jun 26, 2006 12:04 pm

Thanks for the reply..

As to the existing Table display it has the disadvantage of being locked to the DB and its limitations as to editing, formatting and other uses have been well documented many times in the past. It is simply inadequate and has been from the beginning.

And as I said in my post, especially after the horror stories that have surfaced with delivery and support in the past year, I would never consider a 3rd party Table component particularly the one available from the source you mentioned.

The audio situation still leaves me puzzled. And apparently there is not enough developer demand to spend the time on a solution. Surely after 2 or 3 years something would have come to light.

Thanks again for a great 5.5
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Postby Neosoft Support » Tue Jun 27, 2006 4:30 pm

And as I said in my post, especially after the horror stories that have surfaced with delivery and support in the past year, I would never consider a 3rd party Table component...


I think the "horror story" you're concerned about has been primarily resolved. I'm affraid that any developers reading your message might come away thinking that they shouldn't bother developing plug-ins because users won't even consider buying from them. That's probably not your intent, right?

The audio situation still leaves me puzzled. And apparently there is not enough developer demand to spend the time on a solution.


Obviously, people will dissagree about what features are the most important, but the number of customers requesting a VU meter has actually been quite small. I think it would be a cool feature, and it's definitely still on the list, but only a limited amount of time has been spent working on it.

Have you considered hiring a programmer to build a custom plug-in to your specs?
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Postby djold1 » Wed Jun 28, 2006 5:20 am

A forum like this is sometimes risky for its sponsors. The main idea is to provide a place to exchange ideas and information. In addition, it can and should be a a forum for consideration of sticky issues as long as those involved do not have an agenda and whose long term goal is improvement of the NeoBook product. This could I guess, tend to influence those that are considering NeoBook as a purchase if they don't know the issues, but then again, should everything be swept under the table? Are we in Disney world again?

I tend to speak directly to a subject, but if those reading this are early or prospective users, you should be aware that there is no more ardent supporter of NeoBook and Neosoft than myself and that I would use no other development tool for my purposes.

Audio: I would be interested in talking to a 3rd party developer to do a good "VU" add-on to the NeoDX. It would have to work with NeoDX. I am not interested in anything else. And I get the message that after my bringing up the subject several times in the past several years that it is unlikely that NeoSoft will devote the time to solving the problem as an upgrade to DX. That's OK.

Just put the time into the Table plug-in. :lol:

Plug-in development: I certainly didn't want to give the impression that I felt that 3rd party developers were unacceptable. As many of you know, I have consistently purchased these plug-ins over the the years since 2001 when I started on NeoBook. Sometimes I purchased them even when I didn't have an immediate use just to encourage the developer. However, in this time period I have developed some criteria for 3rd party plug-ins.

1. Because of my well known problems with using "free" unlicensed plug-ins in commercial applications I have stayed away from those. Although I realize that some of the best plug-ins and the best support for them are from this arena. And for those that don't develop for commercial use or that can rationalize putting these components in their work, I applaud the work of these plug-in developers.

2. In the past 5 years we have seen some really good commercial plug-ins come into the market and also many that had great potential after development. I have purchased many of these and use them. However, there have been some that were promised but not delivered, some that were delivered and didn't work or work right, some that worked and that were supported intermittently or not at all. So I have become cautious. Here is what I must have:
- A plug-in that works to its intial specifications.
- An initial indication from the plug-in developer that they intend to give reasonable support to their product.
- if the developer has been around a while, a little track record that there is not a consistent habit of promising more than can be delivered and in making arrangements for support circumstances prevent them from personally supporting the product.

I think that these are simply reasonable requests considering that I am using their components in applications that are sold to my customers and which I in turn must support. The criteria above are met by NeoSoft and that is why I am so comfortable about using NeoBook. And why I would like for the core plug-ins to be developed by NeoSoft.

In my opinion a Table plug-in is a core product. And I would have a hard time using a 3rd party product for something like this.

This has been mentioned several times but I will bring it up again. My comfort level wtih 3rd party developers would be raised a great deal if they would publish a statement and make a signed deal with NeoSoft that if the plug-in developer (free or commercial) could not continue to market or support their product that the product would revert without cost to NeoSoft for possible reissue as a part of their product line.

So, if the plug-in developer died and had no heirs to support the product or became ill and could not support, or if the developer simply felt that they wanted to permanently leave the NeoBook market, then there would be a path that offered hope to those that had integrated the plug-in into their applications. We have seen this happen on some products already in a modified form and I think it works.

Think of the number of promising plug-ins that have been offered over the years that have gone away simply because their author was not interested in supporting it or because circumstances prevented them from supporting and improving it.
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Postby Neosoft Support » Wed Jun 28, 2006 11:08 am

Here is what I must have:
- A plug-in that works to its intial specifications.
- An initial indication from the plug-in developer that they intend to give reasonable support to their product.
- if the developer has been around a while, a little track record that there is not a consistent habit of promising more than can be delivered and in making arrangements for support circumstances prevent them from personally supporting the product.


That sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

My comfort level wtih 3rd party developers would be raised a great deal if they would publish a statement and make a signed deal with NeoSoft that if the plug-in developer (free or commercial) could not continue to market or support their product that the product would revert without cost to NeoSoft for possible reissue as a part of their product line.


That's an interesting idea, but assuming responsibility for abandoned plug-ins might not always be in NeoSoft's best interest. If the plug-in contained bugs or flaws, would NeoSoft be expected to fix them? Would NeoSoft be expected to provide technical support? If not, I'm not sure how turning a plug-in over to NeoSoft would be much different than abandoning it.

What I've suggested in the past is that plug-in authors provide customers with the option of buying the source code for a fee. The customer also agrees not to use the source to create a competing plug-in. Then if the author decides to quit, you have the option of hiring a programmer and maintaining the plug-in yourself. You can also fix bugs or add features when the author can't or won't. I'm not sure why this idea hasn't gotten any traction.
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