Moving away from plug-ins

For talking about and sharing plug-ins that have been developed by outside developers.
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jordansparks
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Moving away from plug-ins

Post by jordansparks » Sat Sep 28, 2019 5:51 pm

Plug-ins never worked quite like I expected. It's too much of a barrier for other companies or individuals. Our software has gotten so big and complex that it can take a week just to get it to compile and understand all the parts before even starting on a plug-in. We have a FHIR API that's safer and easier. Also, it's been an increasing problem to let unvetted code make changes to the database. If it's buggy, it can take us a long time to track down why a customer is having problems. In short, I would suggest not using plug-ins.
Jordan Sparks, DMD
http://www.opendental.com

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tim
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Re: Moving away from plug-ins

Post by tim » Mon Sep 30, 2019 5:44 am

A few questions:
  • Is plugin support being deprecated in any way?
  • What enhancements to the FHIR implementation will be made to bridge the gap between the data currently exposed via FHIR vs direct database access?
  • How would plug-ins that modified the OD user interface exist with only external FHIR access?
Thank you.

dcrider
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Re: Moving away from plug-ins

Post by dcrider » Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:47 am

Looking through the API documentation, it appears that the API is only used to access information (and creating information). Our current use-case for Plugins is to modify the forms in OpenDental to more specifically fit our needs. Is that something that would ever be incorporated into the API?

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Justin Shafer
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Re: Moving away from plug-ins

Post by Justin Shafer » Tue Oct 01, 2019 6:12 pm

... some stuff in the open dental business doesn't work great with plugins.. for instance I wanted something to be public.. a method.. and it became public.. but if I call it, it doesn't work so I requested a hook.

I dunno... but some of us worked our butt off on a plugin and would be sad if it became deprecated. My 2 cents. Not to mention folks that bought the plugin.

Welcome back to the forum. 8)

nathansparks
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Re: Moving away from plug-ins

Post by nathansparks » Wed Oct 02, 2019 9:31 am

We are not discouraging plugins at this point and do not have plan to end support. For many of the things third parties want to do, plugins make the most sense. For some cases, FHIR will make more sense. At this point, plugins are the most powerful way to change or add on to how Open Dental works in many cases, and we are still supporting requests for new hooks. Jordan and I will try and communicate very clearly if this changes.
FHIR and other API calls will however make it easier to so some things without the complexity of a plugin. Jordan wants it to be easy to integrate with Open Dental, and the API will make that possible for those simpler cases where the third party is just trying to change the status of an appointment or update a patient's demographics. We plan on adding more functionality to the API over time, whereas a plugin takes more work and we can't help too much.

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Justin Shafer
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Re: Moving away from plug-ins

Post by Justin Shafer » Wed Oct 02, 2019 12:19 pm

Citius, Altius, Fortius

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jordansparks
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Re: Moving away from plug-ins

Post by jordansparks » Wed Oct 02, 2019 1:44 pm

Sorry about the confusion. Let me try again. I'm disappointed that plug-ins are so hard to build. That was never the intent. We're looking for ways to make it easier. That's what I was trying to communicate. If someone is contemplating building a plug-in, I feel like I need to warn them that it's hard. Also, make sure to test each new (major.minor) version with an existing plug-in. While we're not deprecating anything, we can accidentally break the hooks, and I'm worried about customers getting frustrated. For example, the Appts module was just overhauled. Since the entire code is different, plug-ins might not work as expected, even if the hooks are still there.

"modify the forms in OpenDental"? You mean the windows with the controls on them? No. I can't ever imagine an API being capable of that.
Jordan Sparks, DMD
http://www.opendental.com

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drtech
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Re: Moving away from plug-ins

Post by drtech » Tue Oct 22, 2019 5:24 pm

Yes, plugins are frustratingly broken regularly as I have discovered, even in minor update on a few occasions. However even with the problems, it is by far more useful for what I use it for, making a plugin that modifies forms, behavior, etc to a way that we would rather have it. As you clarified, I am glad plugins will not be depreciated as I think that would be a mistake.
David Fuchs
Dentist - Springfield, MO
Smile Dental http://www.887-smile.com

rhaber123
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Re: Moving away from plug-ins

Post by rhaber123 » Tue Oct 22, 2019 7:41 pm

We have been using multiple plugins in my office for few years now , customized to our office, and the person who write these plugins keep them updated and up to date all the time, (otherwise they will get broken). When OD update their versions, these plugins also need to be updated to match OD newest version.
If you are planning to get a plugin, be sure that you are getting it from someone who has been doing it for few years now.
Plugins are a great PLUS to what OD offers.

remdent
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Re: Moving away from plug-ins

Post by remdent » Sun Jan 05, 2020 1:34 pm

Jordan - how can we make it easier to make plug ins so that Open Dental can continue to be OPEN?

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irfan
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Re: Moving away from plug-ins

Post by irfan » Sat Jun 20, 2020 6:53 am

Seems like the best solution is to make the API much more complete. Allow get/post/put of many many more tables and a lot of plugins can be deprecated.

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