Interesting Debate About Aperture Plug-ins


I wrote a post on Inside Aperture titled, Plug-Ins Same as External Editor? I Don't Think So, where I disagreed with some folks on the web who say that Aperture's plug-in architecture is no different than using an external editor in Lightroom. Personally, I think there are differences, and pointed to an article by Micah Walter that does a good job of listing them. But some readers disagreed. And what followed in the comments is an interesting debate about Aperture, Lightroom, and sometimes even Photoshop. I thought you might want to take a look and decide for yourself.

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Since you brought the debate here. These are my thoughts:
One thing I think we all agree is to have a non destructive plug-in. And I'm pretty sure we will be getting there, but for now this is a step. Some are talking of ways to add individual non-destructive actions within a single plugin. I'm sure Apple wants true non-destructive plugins but allowing certain access to deep parts of the library could create problems. So I'll wait a bit.

Also why is this being compared to Adobe's external editor? That's been in Aperture for a very long time (pre 1.5?). So, even if you hate the new SDK (why, but whatever...) you're not loosing anything over an external editor.

These options developers have seem very similar to Photoshop plugins. But now we don't have photoshop.

Also about development time: If a developer already has a Mac version I'd say about 75% of their coding is done. Though this depends upon other things like their interface. So much of the code is the same as a regular app. And because they already have an app, you know what? It WILL work as an external editor!! Already compatible!!!

So NO the current SDK IS NOT perfect, but it IS a step in the right direction. Personally I'd like an SDK that allows developers to create bricks to sit directly in the adjustments HUD. Simple and uses less power.

Since you brought the debate here....

I think you have to distinguish much more clearly than you do between the architecture and the plug-ins. The possibility of operating in the pipeline is praiseworthy and the architecture can be distinguished from external editors, but that's a jam tomorrow difference. Unsurprisingly, given their speed to market, the current crop of "plug-ins" are being oversold for marketing purposes. Slightly recoded tif editors, locked in modal windows, run contrary to Aperture's concept - non-destructive non-modal image editing. Calling them plug-ins make them seem so much more, and by implication diminish what Lightroom offers, and it's no wonder that Adobe and many other users are having a republican's laugh at the king's new clothes.

I've read all of these articles, and many many comments, but I don't fully understand the capabilities of the Aperture "plugin" system. It certainly looks like it is a destructive system, but that might be just the way that the current crop of "plugins" have implemented it.

For me, they can't truly be called plugins until the edits they do are non-destructive and simply feedback some instructions to the metadata without writing out a new TIF, PSD, or other large file. If that is already ture of Aperture, then it is definitley different than LR2's external editors. If not then there really is no difference and Apple is making them out to be much bigger than they are (not to mention something that LR2 doesn't have, which would not be true).