Capítulo 13. Scripting and writing plug-ins


1. Plug-Ins
1.1. Introdução
1.2. Using Plug-Ins
1.3. Installing New Plug-Ins
1.4. Writing Plug-ins
2. Usando Scripts do tipo Script-Fu
2.1. Script-Fu?
2.2. Installing Script-Fu scripts
2.3. O que fazer e o que não fazer
2.4. Diferentes tipos de Script-Fus
3. Um tutorial de Script-Fu
3.1. Familiarizando-se com Scheme
3.2. Varáveis e funções
3.3. Listas, Listas e mais Listas!
3.4. Seu primeiro Script de Script-Fu
3.5. Adding Additional Functionality
3.6. Extendendo o Script de Text Box
3.7. Seu script e seu funcionamento
4. A Python plug-in writing Tutorial
4.1. The basic elements of a plug-in for GIMP

1. Plug-Ins

1.1. Introdução

One of the nicest things about GIMP is how easily its functionality can be extended, by using plug-ins. GIMP plug-ins are external programs that run under the control of the main GIMP application and interact with it very closely. Plug-ins can manipulate images in almost any way that users can. Their advantage is that it is much easier to add a capability to GIMP by writing a small plug-in than by modifying the huge mass of complex code that makes up the GIMP core. Many valuable plug-ins have C source code that only comes to 100-200 lines or so.

Several dozen plug-ins are included in the main GIMP distribution, and installed automatically along with GIMP. Most of them can be accessed through the Filters menu (in fact, everything in that menu is a plug-in), but a number are located in other menus. In many cases you can use one without ever realizing that it is a plug-in: for example, the "Normalize" function for automatic color correction is actually a plug-in, although there is nothing about the way it works that would tell you this. Even importing and exporting of images is done by plug-ins.

Everyone can write a GIMP plug-in and make it available online. There are many useful plug-ins that can be obtained this way. Some of them are described elsewhere in the User's Manual.

With this free availability comes a certain degree of risk. The fact that anyone can release plug-ins means that there is no effective quality control. The plug-ins distributed with GIMP have all been tested and tuned by the developers. Additional plug-ins available online, may have been hacked together in a few hours and then abandoned. Some plug-in creators don't care about robustness, and even for those who do, their ability to test on a variety of systems in a variety of situations is often quite limited. Basically, when you download a plug-in, you are getting something for free, and sometimes you get exactly what you pay for. This is not to discourage you, just to make sure you understand that not all plug-ins available online will deliver what you expect from them.

[Atenção] Atenção

Plug-ins, being full-fledged executable programs, can do all of the things that any other program can do. This includes installing back-doors on your system or otherwise compromise its security. Don't install a plug-in unless it comes from a trusted source.

[Nota] Nota

Plug-ins written for a certain version of GIMP may not always work well in other versions. Though in general the GIMP team tries to minimize changes that affect plug-ins. Usually the only time you can expect serious problems with plug-ins, is when the major version of GIMP changes. When a plug-in made for an older version doesn't work correctly anymore, it needs to be ported. Sometimes this is easy, sometimes not. Bottom line: before trying to install a plug-in, make sure that it is compatible with your version of GIMP.

1.2. Using Plug-Ins

For the most part you can use a plug-in like any other GIMP tool, without needing to be aware that it is a plug-in. But there are a few things about plug-ins that are useful to understand.

One is that plug-ins are generally not as robust as the GIMP core. When GIMP crashes, it is considered a very serious thing: it can cost the user a lot of trouble and headache. When a plug-in crashes, the consequences are usually not as serious. In most cases you can continue working without worrying about it too much.

[Nota] Nota

Because plug-ins are separate programs, they communicate with GIMP in a special way: The GIMP developers call it talking over a wire. When a plug-in crashes, the communication breaks down, and you may see an error message about a wire read error.

[Dica] Dica

When a plug-in crashes, GIMP gives you a very ominous-looking message telling you that the plug-in may have left GIMP in a corrupted state, and you should consider saving your images and exiting. Strictly speaking, this is quite correct, because plug-ins have the power to alter almost anything in GIMP, but for practical purposes, experience has shown that corruption is actually quite rare, and many users just continue working and don't worry about it. Our advice is that you simply think about how much trouble it would cause you if something went wrong, and weigh it against the odds.

Because of the way plug-ins communicate with GIMP, they do not have any mechanism for being informed about changes you make to an image after the plug-in has been started. If you start a plug-in, and then alter the image using some other tool, the plug-in may crash. Even if it doesn't, doing this may cause incorrect results. You should avoid running more than one plug-in at a time on an image, and avoid doing anything to the image until the plug-in has finished working on it. If you ignore this advice, not only could you screw up the image, you may also screw up the undo system, so that you won't be able to recover from your mistake.

1.3. Installing New Plug-Ins

The plug-ins that are distributed with GIMP don't require installation. Plug-ins that you download yourself do. Usually the default location is in GIMP's user directory in a folder under /plug-ins, where the folder name needs to be the same as the plug-in filename. You can find the default locations where GIMP searches for plug-ins in the Data Folders preferences. There you can also add new locations where GIMP should look for plug-ins. There are several scenarios, depending on what OS you are using and how the plug-in is structured.

1.3.1. Linux / Unix-like systems

Most plug-ins fall into two categories: small ones whose source code is distributed as a single .c file, and larger ones whose source code is distributed as a directory containing multiple files including a Makefile.

For a simple one-file plug-in, call it borker.c, installing it is just a matter of running the command gimptool-2.99 --install borker.c. This command compiles the plug-in and installs it in your personal plug-in directory, ~/gimp-2.99/plug-ins unless you have changed it. This will cause it to be loaded automatically the next time you start GIMP. You don't need to be root to do these things; in fact, you shouldn't be. If the plug-in fails to compile, well, be creative.

1.3.2. Windows

Most GIMP plug-ins available on Windows supply either an installer, or can be downloaded in a pre-compiled binary format ready to copy to a folder of your choice that is recognized by GIMP.

If an installer is available, that should do all the work for you selecting an appropriate folder and copying all relevant files. If not, you may have to check in GIMP's folder preferences where the plug-ins should be copied to. Remember, each plug-in needs to be in its own folder with the same name as the plug-in.

1.3.3. Apple Mac OS X

How you install plug-ins on OS X mostly depends on how you installed GIMP itself. If you were one of the brave and installed GIMP through one of the package managers like fink [FINK] or darwinports [DARWINPORTS], the plug-in installation works exactly the way it is described for the Linux platform already. The only difference is, that a couple of plug-ins might be even available in the repository of your package manager, so give it a try.

If, on the other hand, you prefer to grab a prebuilt GIMP package like, you most likely want to a prebuilt plug-in too. You can try to get a prebuilt version of the plug-in of your dreams from the author of the plug-in. Building your own binaries unfortunately involves installing GIMP.

1.3.4. Running the installed plug-in

Once you have installed the plug-in, how do you activate it? The menu path is determined by the plug-in itself, so to answer this you need to either look at the documentation for the plug-in (if there is any), explore the menus, or use GIMP's command search function by pressing / and then entering the name of the plug-in. If you know how to read source code you could also check that to see in what menu it registers itself.

For more complex plug-ins, organized as a directory with multiple files, there usually is a file inside called either INSTALL or README, with instructions. If not, the best advice is to toss the plug-in in the trash and spend your time on something else: any code written with so little concern for the user is likely to be frustrating in myriad ways.

If you install a plug-in in your personal plug-in directory that has the same name as one in the system plug-in directory, only one can be loaded, and it will be the one in your home directory. You will receive messages telling you this each time you start GIMP. This is probably a situation best avoided.

1.4. Writing Plug-ins

If you want to learn how to write a plug-in, you can find plenty of help at the GIMP Developers web site [GIMP-DEV-PLUGIN]. GIMP is a complex program, but the development team has made strenuous efforts to flatten the learning curve for plug-in writing: there are good instructions and examples, and the main library that plug-ins use to interface with GIMP (called libgimp) has a well-documented API. Good programmers, learning by modifying existing plug-ins, are often able to accomplish interesting things after just a couple of days of work.