Sunday, October 16, 2011

PowerTools 2011

After some hard work from (mostly) Peter Kjaer, Chris Summers and Yoav Niran, the Power Tools project is finally under way.

As from yesterday, there is a guide outlining the steps required to create a power tool, so I thought it is about time to start recruiting more cooperation from the community.

The previous Tridion PowerTools were mostly a collection of ASP pages with some VBScript and Javascript helpers that provided a series of common functionalities:
  • Progress bars for long-running processes
  • Logging and debugging information
  • Item Pickers
With the new Tridion 2011 UI and API (aka the Anguilla Framework) most of this functionality either broke or became obviously out-dated. Rather than taking the approach of making the power tools compatible with the new API (which would have been a monstrous task anyway) some people (Yoav and Chris mostly) had the guts to start this project from scratch.

Though some of the common functionalities are still "undeveloped", there is enough in place to start playing. We do have now a common progress bar (pretty impressive btw), a nice and mostly clean WebService-based framework, a common set of javascript tools to handle the webservice responses, etc.

The main missing point right now is an Item Picker, but there is some work happening on that one too.

As it is clear if you read the No-nonsense guide to creating a Power Tool, there's a whole bunch of files to create per PowerTool, and each file has a very specific - and required - purpose. As the platform evolves we will be merging more and more of these features into a Common library, but for now you have to live with it...

If you want to collaborate in this project - as we all hope you do - here's some of the things you may want to do:
  1. Join the powertools discussion 
  2. Join the IRC channel (yes! IRC! like in 1988) on freenode/#tridion
  3. Design the behavior of the next powertools. As it is now, this project is full of development geeks, but severely lacking on usability experts or actual powertool users. We could certainly use some help from a Functional point of view
  4. If you're dev-inclined, try out the guide mentioned above, and start playing with it. You may also want to write a better version of it, which we would ALL appreciate.
  5. Finally - determining icon sets for the tools would be a great contribution too.
And hopefully someone will get around creating an installer for it...


Nivlong said...

Great summary! Thanks to the group for such a strong start.

We're getting a clearer picture of the group's general direction on the Tasks page:

Again you don't need to develop to join the discussion or the help shape the PowerTools project (it's your community)!

Aaron Nobel said...

It is an informative post.

Dustin T said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tom Bradly said...

I am also a member in powertools! Looking forward to see you around, then!