Looking Forward to Window Clippings 2.0: Add-Ins

I had planned to talk about add-in development next but realized that I really ought to explain what add-ins are and why you should care.

Window Clippings 2.0 supports 3 different types of add-ins: “Send To”, “Save As” and “Filter” add-ins. Briefly, Send To and Filter add-ins make up the available “actions” while Save As add-ins define the different image formats available to the user. There’s quite a lot to digest here so let’s start with the concept of actions.


Window Clippings 1.5 offered just three actions as illustrated in this image taken from its General tab:

These three actions have been around since the initial release of Window Clippings. The problem is that this set of actions is not extensible in any way. I’ve already spoken about post-save events and how they can be used to add some post-processing to your images but that is not enough in some cases and certainly not the most elegant solution for all scenarios.

Window Clippings 2.0 replaces the concept of “default actions” with an action sequence. An action sequence is an ordered list of actions that are executed one after another following the creation of an image. Here’s what the new General tab looks like in Window Clippings 2.0:

You can have as many actions in the sequence as you wish. To insert an action simply click the arrow button and a pop-up menu provides the list of actions that are available:

The action you pick is inserted after the currently selected action in the list. The pop-up menu lists Send To add-ins before the menu separator and Filter add-ins after the separator. You should get an idea of what constitutes these Send To and Filter add-ins by looking at the image above.

I mentioned that the actions are executed in sequence. This becomes important when adding filters to the action sequence. Unlike Save As add-ins, Filter add-ins modify the master image that is passed to each action so subsequent actions will benefit from any changes that were made. Consider the following sequence of actions:

In this example the resulting image is copied to the clipboard. It is then saved to disk based on the storage options. The in-memory, or master, image is then updated with a watermark and then uploaded to Flickr. So the image saved to disk does not include the watermark while the image posted to the web does. You can even add the same action (type) more than once. You might for example want to save both a full-color as well as a black and white version of an image to your hard drive. The following sequence of actions will do the trick:

The buttons to the right of the action sequence should be pretty self-explanatory but a helpful tool-tip is available if you need it. I’ve already described the arrow button. The second button allows you to edit the settings for the selected add-in, assuming the add-in is configurable. The delete button removes the selected action from the list. The up and down buttons adjusts the position of the selected action within the sequence.

Save As Add-Ins

I’ve already described the storage options, but briefly the Storage tab includes a combo box allowing you select the image format to use. The list of available formats is defined by “Save As” add-ins.

Add-In Management

The new Add-Ins tab allows you to manage the add-ins that are available to Window Clippings.

The list consists of all the add-ins registered on the computer. Add-ins are packaged as DLLs and a given library may contain multiple add-ins. By default the add-ins are grouped by their type. You can also click on the Location header to be able to see which add-ins are packaged together in the same library.

Although the add-ins provided by the WindowClippingsCore library cannot be unregistered, you can freely register and unregister other add-ins. Just keep in mind that unregistering an add-in has the effect of removing all add-ins provided by a particular library.

You can of course click the Settings button to change the settings for any configurable add-in. Here’s what the settings window looks like for the “Bitmap image” add-in:

Please note that the list of add-ins that will ship with Window Clippings 2.0 has not yet been finalized.

That’s it for today. Next time I’ll talk about how you can develop your own add-ins!

Version 1.5 is the current release and you can download it here.

© 2007 Kenny Kerr


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