First impressions of developing an APEX plugin

Von Tobias Arnhold 12.20.2010
After spending a couple of hours in building my first plugin. I came to the conclusion to create a plug-in which uses the UILayout technology. My first idea was to build my own solution. After studying the documentation of UILayout I only thought that's the tool I want to work with! :)

Now after I created a working template I thought of how to include this into a plug-in?

First idea: Don't change anything on the page template if you have a similar organization of your page (North, West, South, East, Center)!
You say what you want in what area of the UILayout (West, North, Center...) inside the plug-in. To achieve that you take ID's or Classes of the main elements of your page template.
Part of the standard page template:

Plugin settings:

As you see I almost only use the standard ID's. Only the west div is not part of the original template.

After I created a first easy solution. I thought about the source code and the available attributes in the APEX plugin (max. 10)! 10 Attributes would only be enough for the sizing of the areas and would never be enough for all settings I need.

Second idea: I will build several modular plug-ins where everyone creates a special part of the layout.
1. Layout creation and region assigning
2. Area sizing (Size, Min-Size, Max-Size, No area at all)
3. Look and Feel (background-color,border-color,...)
4. Place for more ideas like Dynamic Layout Add-ons

What do you think? Developing a plug-in like that makes it maybe more complicated to configure. On the other side I would need comma separated lists if I only would use one plug-in!

Your opinion is appreciated.

Anyway I wish everybody a Merry Christmas and a successful APEX year 2011!

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