Today we have added one more board to the Forum, called Plugins. As the name indicates it's intended for discussions and sharing of plugins.
At this point you may ask Plugins - what's that?. Well, you may not have noticed them, but actually all the functionality in the new Builder, starting with VNL 12.2, are plugins. There are also plugins for the Custom Scripter, a tool that is still a little bit hidden, but which we have great plans for in the future. And, in upcoming versions of VNL there will be plugins for the Job Manager and various forms of analysis.
Plugins enable a completely new way to add functionality to VNL. For instance, it's no longer necessary to release a whole new version of VNL to fix a bug in a plugin - we just make a new version of the plugin, which you then can download and install in VNL by using the AddOn Manager, which you can find in the Help menu. We can also deliver previews of (or fully developed) new functionality before the next release, by making a new plugin available. You can for instance already now open the AddOn Manager and find plugins to set up VASP calculations or import/export QuantumEspresso geometries - features that are not present in the released 12.2 versions.
A note on names: the packages you download via the AddOn Manager are "addons". An addon can contain several plugins. For instance, the QuantumEspresso addon contains 2 plugins: one for export and one for import. They are separate plugins, because they are based on different API classes, but are bundled into one addon for distribution.
But the really cool thing is that users can write plugins themselves to implement new functionality - or we at QuantumWise can deliver customized functionality to an individual customer to solve a specific problem. Users can also share plugins with each other, just like you would do with extensions and addons for Thunderbird/Firefox, or for that matter apps for iPhone and Android!
This Forum board is the first step in this direction, and we encourage anyone who develop their own plugins to use it to share them with the ATK community. This board should also be used for discussions about plugin development, and in upcoming posts we will provide a bit more detailed information about how to develop and share plugins, so stay tuned!