Spend More Time Writing and Less Time Debugging Lightroom Plugins

If you are a Lightroom plugin developer you need to try my new Test Harness plugin.  Why?  It will save you time.

Script Test Harness plugin dialogIt immediately shows the impact of code changes as you make them.  This might not sound like a big deal at first, but when hunting tenacious bugs the repeated interruption of reloading a plugin and restarting its test scenario is disruptive.  You can now test code by making a change in your favourite text editor, saving the file, and hitting the Run button.  Contrast that with the additional steps of opening the Plugin Manager, reloading your plugin, closing the Plugin Manager, and invoking the plugin to start the test again and you will get a sense of how much simpler your coding sessions can become.

The Test Harness provides a framework for managing and running individual LUA scripts.  This makes it possible to write small, single purpose scripts to focus in on a new feature you are experimenting with or a bug you are trying to squash.  Without the Test Harness you either need to experiment directly within the plugin under development, trying not to get distracted by or trip over code extraneous to the task at hand, or write your own test plugin to host the code  Either way you end up losing time that would be better spent adding features to your latest masterpiece.

Need help with a particularly thorny coding issue?  One click and the Test Harness will turn your script into a plugin you can zip up and post to one of the online communities for developers.  This makes it easier to give Lightroom SDK forum members, Lightroom Forums Plugin Discussion members, or even Adobe’s supporter staff a simple and self-contained demonstration of the issue you are working on.  When asking someone to lend you a hand make it easy for them to give you what you want.

Those are just some of the reasons I invested the time to write the Test Harness plugin.  It has already paid me back for the development time I’ve put into it, and with a new version of Lightroom (and an updated SDK) just around the corner I’m confident it will end up paying for itself many times over.  I’m sharing it with other Lightroom developers in the hope it will help you spend less time fighting bugs and more time extending the functionality of a great product!

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Released under the GNU GPL version 3 licenseInstallation instructions here.

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Posted on February 16, 2010 at 11:00 pm by Matt · Permalink
In: Project, Tip · Tagged with: , ,