Open Source Plug-in Licensing and Distribution

I have another (possibly premature) question about the multiple edition plug-in licensing...

Q: Now that is an open source version of IDEA, how will plug-in licensing and distribution work?

Related questions: Will Open Source edition users see the same 3rd party plug-ins listed in the available plug-ins as users of the Ultimate edition? In the future, will there be a way to distinguish in the IDE between those plug-ins licensed as open source and those licensed as commercial/closed source? Is it likely individual JetBrains' Ultimate edition plug-ins will be available (for a fee)  to open source users?

Personally, I think this is a great way to get developers to commit to doing plug-in development for IDEA. While IDEA has always had a great developer community, many developers may have shyed away from developing plug-ins for it; "Why donate time and resources to develop a plug-in that benefits some company's commercial IDE?"

On the other hand, once plug-in skills have been mastered, it would be nice if there would be a way to monetize plug-in development efforts. (Ironically, many of the same people who insist on using only free software and tools still want to be paid for their own development efforts.)

I think this all could lead to a much more robust IDEA plug-in market. Frankly, I think the availability of so many plug-ins has been the 2nd biggest selling point of Eclipse. (The first being its price!)

JetBrains should adopt Apple iPhone's marketing slogan, "Need x? There's a plug-in for that."

jack

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There shouldn't be any changes in plugin licensing and distribution models. The plugin manager is still there at http://plugins.intellij.net, and it's able to show whether a plugin is compatible with both Community and Ultimate edition, or it requires the Ultimate edition. (If the plugin depends on JavaScript, CSS, Java EE or any other Ultimate Edition only components, it won't be shown to Community edition users.)

The plugin browsing UI in the IDE currently doesn't clearly distinguish plugins with different licensing options (open-source, free and commercial), but it's something that can definitely be added.

There have existed a number of commercial plugins for IDEA before, and we definitely want more people to get into IDEA plugin development, with both free and commercial offerings.

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yole wrote:

There have existed a number of commercial plugins for IDEA before, and we definitely want more people to get into IDEA plugin development, with both free and commercial offerings.


The largest barrier to IDEA plugin development is the lack of documentation, both Javadoc and general "How do I do X?" documentation. There have been dribs and drabs published over the years but never anything really comprehensive. Now the Javadoc problem has been solved by the publication of IDEA's source but the other problem still exists to certain extent. Perhaps a better organization, in one place, of all the documentation for writing plugins would help. I realize that it's hard to properly document a system that is essentially a moving target but the effort could pay off in terms of a larger plugin ecosystem.

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