Thursday, 22 March 2012

Distributing Plugins

So openmolar2 is progressing well, and like any sensible contemporary application, has a mechanism for "plugins".

Hopefully, if the Documentation is thorough, and I write a good tutorial, the barrier for even non-technical users to contribute should be lowered considerably. In addition, it should mean that the application doesn't "bloat" with functionality required by just a few practices.

Thanks to python, and the ability to run code directly from a zipped file archive, I also think the plugins are going to be able to work absolutely seamlessly to interact with pretty much any functionality of the 2 guis.

I am, however, a little perplexed at the best design for distributing these plugins.
The image on the right is a mockup of the website design, viewed by a dialog raised by the openmolar application.
This page can be viewed at

I have decided to write my own embedded webkit based browser for this because it gives my the following advantages.
  1. The Application can authenticate with the server and give version information for compatible plugins etc.
  2. The application can also tell the site which plugins are already in use.
  3. Downloading can go automatically to the correct folder (platform independent).

But here is my question.

Should I create a separate sub domain perhaps and self give it a self-signed certificate? or continue with the rapid-ssl certificate I already use for ? As the application would manage the client-side certification, I don't see a need to involve a third party.

A definate disadvantage, however, is the server side complexity of this and the dns lookup. Does using the existing domain and certificate make more sense?