Research: Installing and Managing Brackets Extensions

Article by: Kevin Dangoor

Research: Installing and Managing Brackets Extensions

You may not have noticed, but Brackets has a lot of extensions. These extensions add all kinds of useful capabilities to Brackets (take a look! I bet you’ll find at least one that you’d want). But, I’m sure that many Brackets users aren’t aware of this list of extensions. Even for those who know about the list, it’s inconvenient to install an extension and hard to find out what’s new or keep your extensions up to date.

We want Brackets to stay light and focused on the features you use the most. Every developer has a different workflow and different needs, so we see extensions as being important to Brackets as a whole. During Sprint 21, we’ve done some research to try to put together an easy-to-use and solid extension manager for Brackets. We looked at other extension managers that have come before us, as well as tools already used in the JavaScript world.

Brackets Extensions Wireframe
Wireframe of one possible presentation of Brackets extensions

Our plan covers features that we plan to ship soon as well as features that are a little farther out. The big areas we covered are:

  • User workflow for viewing and installing extensions
  • Extension package format
  • How dependencies are handled between extensions
  • How the extension manager will communicate with the extension registry
  • What other package/plugin/extension managers have done

It’s all summarized in the main document, with links to the details so you can dig in if there’s any area of interest for you.

We’d love to know what you think. Many people in the Brackets community have experience with these sorts of systems, and we want to avoid pitfalls or implement best practices you have found elsewhere. If you have thoughts on extension management or assistance you can provide, please let us know on the brackets-dev mailing list.

With research, discussion and implementation of extension management started, we will soon begin a deep dive into how Brackets extensions are written to ensure that we’ve got a solid base for extensions to build on for a long time to come.

The Research

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