Extending Blender: an idea

General discussion about the development of the open source Blender

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Koba
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Extending Blender: an idea

Post by Koba » Sun May 09, 2004 7:12 pm

Hi

With hindsight this may turn out to be a crap idea but right now I feel it might be inspired. After using Blender for the past few years I have discovered how powerful it really is but a lot of that power doesn't come from what is hard coded into Blender but from the Python API.

The Python API makes it possible to do almost anything, from making humanoid figures with a few clicks (MakeHuman) to hair and fur (the Beast) to Trees (L-system). Python scripts really extend Blender in so many ways. There are scripts that are incredibly specific making sea-shells stairs to gothic vaults.

The thing about these scripts is you have to look for them. I know there have been many attempt to bring the scripts together but these aren't ideal. The new script menu has helped immensely in integrating functionality seamlessly with Blender.

Currently various export/import scripts are included in the standard installation but I personally don't use any of them. Adding more scripts would make the download too big (one of Blender's features is its small size).

Here is my idea. I don't know what it is called but when you download Cygwin you have a program that downloads a centralised list of components with short descriptions and then you select what you think would be useful to you. If this system was used for python scripts, people would see immediately what Blender is capable of and be able to access and the scripts they want quickly and easily and have them instantly accessible the next time Blender is opened!

I just wish the Python scripts were a flexible and powerful PART of blender instead of a sub-optimal extension you have to trawl the internet for. It would be in line with the openness that makes Blender what it is.

This is probably not practical for various reasons: I am only making a suggestion as I think Blender is an amazing program and I am only trying to help.

Koba.

z3r0_d
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Post by z3r0_d » Sun May 09, 2004 7:36 pm

why not just have a shortcut to a website with these python scripts
(and texture/sequence plugins)

it would be pretty much the same functionality, and doesn't really have to be coded for all of blender's platforms.

Koba
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Post by Koba » Sun May 09, 2004 7:54 pm

Yes that is true.

The thing about this idea is that it would install and uninstall scripts directly into the appropriate scripts folder making scripts easier to manage. You could completely change the scripts installed with a few clicks. This website you suggest would have to be included in the Blender installation, maybe accessible from a Blender menu.

I agree a well-organised, centralised scripts repository would be a good alternative but I am not aware of such a place existing yet (though there are a couple of compiled lists out there I don't think any of them are near complete).

Koba

Monkeyboi
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Post by Monkeyboi » Sun May 09, 2004 8:19 pm


Koba
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Post by Koba » Sun May 09, 2004 8:47 pm

Hi.

Yes. I am aware of the new scripts download section on Blender 3d.org. It has improved since I last visited it but still isn't comprehensive. This site helps but doesn't really eliminated the trawling (in my opinion) as the links aren't directly to the actual script. I for one would prefer to avoid spending half an hour browsing and downloading unfamiliar scripts if I was still a complete newbie.

The essence of my idea is that you don't have to download and unzip each script one by one. You have a script selector and when you chose to download, all the scripts (and their required components) are downloaded in a single package and installed. This would make accessing and managing scripts easier.

This could probably be implemented online. The blender3d link you gave would then be useful for people wanting more information about the scripts they have downloaded.

Maybe it is just me but I find my hard drive littered with zipped and unzipped folders containing scripts in various folders (depending on my browser default download directory at the time). Every time I download a script I don't want to go seven folder levels deep to reach the Blender scripts folder in the "Application data" section of "My Documents". Maybe everyone doesn't mind taking time to download scripts one-by-one and keep all their scripts meticulously organised.

Koba

leinad13
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Post by leinad13 » Mon May 10, 2004 11:37 am

Woa i nearly made a huge tit out of myself. I had just written a post asking where all the goos python scripts on that page were, i didnt notice you could view each category and there were more then. :oops:

Even so i think Beast and BlenderPeople are missing and the scripts arnt on Blender3d.org. I think for some of the great and more complex scripts like Beast and Fibergenerater, there should be a short page on www.blender3d.org with a guid on how to use etc...

Also the scripts should definatly be hosted on blender3d.org, incase the authors sites go down. I doubt any of the authors would any objection to this.
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Over to you boffins

L!13

Monkeyboi
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Post by Monkeyboi » Mon May 10, 2004 4:32 pm

with that I agree Leinad. It would be much more convenient if the scripts were hosted directly on blender3d.com. This would create a much smoother user experience. It wold also be nice to have explanations of how to install and which requirements had to be met (Python version? Blender version? Can it run without full python install?)

Goofster
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Post by Goofster » Mon May 10, 2004 5:02 pm

The problem with hosting scripts on the website itself is that they become outdated very quickly when the script is updated. This could only work if the site that hosts the scripts is self-supporting so script-authors can maintain their script.

Roel

Koba
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Post by Koba » Mon May 10, 2004 5:17 pm

Hi

I agree with all this. Blender3d.org would be a great place to host scripts as providing (as you said) the script authors keep their scripts up-to-date.

What do you people think of my idea of a script selector where you have a comprehensive list of scripts where you select what you want and let the software install the scripts for you? This idea isn't a for the short term but when (and if) we get a comprehensive centralised script hosting, would you find it useful?

Koba.

leinad13
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Post by leinad13 » Mon May 10, 2004 5:56 pm

Not particularly, to do this we would need all the scripts hosted in one place and if we do that we may as well use web pages to explain etc... all about them. Which is basically what we would have if all the scripts were hosted on www.blender3d.org.

A program couldnt be written to download the scripts etc.. because if you were to write one for blender, most of the community insists that it is cross platform compatable. That would be hard. Realistically i could easily create the type of program you want using VB but i dont think anyone would use it and its Windows Specific.
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Over to you boffins

L!13

Koba
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Post by Koba » Mon May 10, 2004 6:56 pm

Fair enough.

I realise my initial idea is unrealistic but would it be possible for this functionality to be available online? See http://www.delorie.com/djgpp/zip-picker.html for a similar sort of idea. Something like this that could give all the scripts together in a single file would be great. Then there would be no cross-platform issues.

Koba.

levon
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Post by levon » Tue May 11, 2004 9:15 am

i came up with this idea, no one like it, but i guess thats what the blender comunity is like http://www.blender.org/modules.php?op=m ... highlight=

leinad13
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Post by leinad13 » Tue May 11, 2004 10:40 am

Just because no one has stepped up in your support then dont let it stop you. If you can do it, then go for it.
-------------
Over to you boffins

L!13

ideasman
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Post by ideasman » Tue May 11, 2004 12:16 pm

levon wrote:i came up with this idea, no one like it, but i guess thats what the blender comunity is like http://www.blender.org/modules.php?op=m ... highlight=
It is interesting which things take the fancy of the gereral Blender population.
A script respontatry is a good idea, but how to impliment it is another.

We could...
Have a CVS where python developers could submit different plugins, basicly like a snapshot of a scripts dir.
Most ppl dont know abt CVS so there could just be a daily .ZIP/.TAR.GZ that contains all the scripts from the CVS.

This would be nice because then if any scripts became out of date it would be obvious to people who tried them and any python developer could go in and update it.

levon
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Post by levon » Tue May 11, 2004 3:42 pm

yeah the problem is i dont know how to program python well, and dont think i ever will be able to.

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