[MERGE] Make the plugins command public with better help

Ian Clatworthy ian.clatworthy at internode.on.net
Mon Jul 16 03:04:12 BST 2007

Aaron Bentley wrote:
> Ian Clatworthy wrote:
>> Plugins are an important part of our system so I feel the command to
>> list them ought to be a public one. We show the plugin name in []
>> whenever 'bzr help commands' is given so I don't believe being able to
>> see the list of installed plugins ought to be reserved for expert users
>> only.
> This command seems only useful for debugging purposes.  Why do you want it?

Regardless of how the functionality is exposed, I want it public for
several reasons:

1. Plug-ins are really useful and listing the ones installed is a/the
   primary Use Case. Before installing a plug-in, checking it's not
   already installed is the obvious thing to do.

2. How Bazaar gets installed will increasingly vary. Sometimes it will
   be bundled and that may or may not be with some plugins.

I don't see listing the plugins being any less useful than the version
and revno commands and they are both public. Likewise info and ls are
public commands. Discriminating against 'plugins' seems a bit arbitrary
to me. But if I get the functionality through an enhancement to another
command, I'm fine with that.

> I don't want to add commands we don't have to, because this increases
> our apparent complexity.  There are people who will count the number of
> commands and conclude that Mercurial is easier to use than Bazaar.  I
> don't want this getting worse.

I'm with you on this. Every extra command matters. FWIW, we currently
have 56 commands to Hg's 46. I'm not arguing that people won't compare
these numbers but it's a bit meaningless really. Most users of either
system will have plugins/extensions installed (Hg ships with 13 as core)
and that greatly changes the core numbers anyhow. Also, command count is
just one aspect of usability. 'bzr plugins' meets the Don't Make Me
Think criteria of how to show the list of plugins and that's arguably
just as important as public command count.

> If we need to make this functionality public, can we stick it somewhere
> else like the bzr --version output?

I'm be happier with this if the information we showed on plugins
included the version of each. It doesn't right now though Robert added a
'wishlist' bug last week for this.

Right now, I think simply making 'plugins' public is an incremental
improvement. If you still feel otherwise, I'm happy to consider
alternative ways to expose the functionality.

Ian C.

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