Why Vimball archives are evil?

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Why Vimball archives are evil?

Israel Chauca Fuentes
That's it, I'd like to know the reasons behind so much opposition against plugins being released as vimball archives.

Thanks!
Israel

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Re: Why Vimball archives are evil?

Tom Wieland
For example,

now that many users (at least some that I know) are using the plugin
loader pathogen, all the plugins are installed as
~/.vim/<plugin_name>/ftplugin/foo.vim. Installing with a  vimball
would place the files in their original vim directories.

I ask you; What is wrong with tar.gz?

gr,

Tom Wieland

On Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 10:43 PM, Israel Chauca F.
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> That's it, I'd like to know the reasons behind so much opposition against plugins being released as vimball archives.
>
> Thanks!
> Israel
>
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Re: Why Vimball archives are evil?

MarcWeber
Excerpts from Tom's message of Fri Sep 24 23:57:29 +0200 2010:
> For example,
>
> now that many users (at least some that I know) are using the plugin
> loader pathogen, all the plugins are installed as
> ~/.vim/<plugin_name>/ftplugin/foo.vim. Installing with a  vimball
> would place the files in their original vim directories.

You can choose the directory where vimball installs the files.
It defaults to ~/.vim. The default of vim-addon-manager is to use a
different directory for each plugin.

So this behaviour could be fixed easily.

Side note: vim-addon-manager also tracks dependencies for you. I wrote
it to make sharing code and depend on existing code easier. You may want
to give it a try.

Marc Weber

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Re: Why Vimball archives are evil?

Israel Chauca Fuentes

On Sep 24, 2010, at 5:17 PM, Marc Weber wrote:

> Excerpts from Tom's message of Fri Sep 24 23:57:29 +0200 2010:
>> For example,
>>
>> now that many users (at least some that I know) are using the plugin
>> loader pathogen, all the plugins are installed as
>> ~/.vim/<plugin_name>/ftplugin/foo.vim. Installing with a  vimball
>> would place the files in their original vim directories.
>
> You can choose the directory where vimball installs the files.
> It defaults to ~/.vim. The default of vim-addon-manager is to use a
> different directory for each plugin.
>
> So this behaviour could be fixed easily.

Exactly, that's not the problem. From what I've read around, I assumed there were serious (technical?) problems with vimballs, I just never read about them, that's the reason of my email.

> Side note: vim-addon-manager also tracks dependencies for you. I wrote
> it to make sharing code and depend on existing code easier. You may want
> to give it a try.

Thanks for the suggestion.

Israel

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Re: Why Vimball archives are evil?

Stahlman Family
In reply to this post by Tom Wieland


Tom wrote:
> For example,
>
> now that many users (at least some that I know) are using the plugin
> loader pathogen, all the plugins are installed as
> ~/.vim/<plugin_name>/ftplugin/foo.vim. Installing with a  vimball
> would place the files in their original vim directories.
>
> I ask you; What is wrong with tar.gz?

tar.gz is the format I've always used for my plugin. Recently, I've
begun to wonder whether this might dissuade some Windows users from
downloading. I don't use Windows much anymore, but when I did, I
typically had Cygwin installed, so gzipped tar files weren't a problem.
I suspect, however, that many Windows users don't have Cygwin, and
without it, I'm not sure that the average Windows user would know what
to do with a gzipped tar file. I did an un-scientific survey of plugins
on the Vim site and concluded that .zip was a much more popular archive
format than tar.gz. Although my personal preference is for tar.gz, I'm
wondering whether .zip makes more sense, as a sort of "lowest common
denominator": I rarely, if ever, have issues opening .zip files on a
Linux system, but have to use Linux tools to open tar.gz files on a
Windows system. Thus, the choice of .zip for plugin archives might be
analogous to the use of Unix line endings for plugin scripts, on the
grounds that either Unix or DOS format works on Windows, but only Unix
format works on Linux.

Is there an official recommendation on this subject? I haven't noticed
any guidelines on the scripts upload page, which simply refers to a
"collection of bundled files". I seem to remember at some point seeing a
script page that provided both .zip and some other format, but I'm not
sure how this would work in practice: the upload file dialog allows you
to specify only one file, so each archive format would have to be
uploaded separately: i.e., distinct version numbers and release notes
(though I suppose they could be identical).

Thanks,
Brett Stahlman

>
> gr,
>
> Tom Wieland
>
> On Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 10:43 PM, Israel Chauca F.
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> That's it, I'd like to know the reasons behind so much opposition against plugins being released as vimball archives.
>>
>> Thanks!
>> Israel
>>
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>

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Re: Why Vimball archives are evil?

MarcWeber
Excerpts from Stahlman Family's message of Sat Sep 25 03:47:27 +0200 2010:
> without it, I'm not sure that the average Windows user would know what
> to do with a gzipped tar file.
The average Windows user does not even know that Vim exists :)

I did an un-scientific survey of plugins

> on the Vim site and concluded that .zip was a much more popular archive
> format than tar.gz. Although my personal preference is for tar.gz, I'm
> wondering whether .zip makes more sense, as a sort of "lowest common
> denominator": I rarely, if ever, have issues opening .zip files on a
> Linux system, but have to use Linux tools to open tar.gz files on a
> Windows system. Thus, the choice of .zip for plugin archives might be
> analogous to the use of Unix line endings for plugin scripts, on the
> grounds that either Unix or DOS format works on Windows, but only Unix
> format works on Linux.
>
> Is there an official recommendation on this subject? I haven't noticed
> any guidelines on the scripts upload page, which simply refers to a
> "collection of bundled files". I seem to remember at some point seeing a
> script page that provided both .zip and some other format, but I'm not
> sure how this would work in practice: the upload file dialog allows you
> to specify only one file, so each archive format would have to be
> uploaded separately: i.e., distinct version numbers and release notes
> (though I suppose they could be identical).

As author/ maintainer of vim-addon-manager I tried to imagine what would
be best for Windows users as welle The result is that I added code to
vim-addon-manager which fetches windows versions of the linux tools. As
alternative you can get 7z once and be done - cause it supports all
those formats (but vimball of course).
I also had the idea using a proxy: vim-addon-manager asking my v-server
to compress *any* source (including git, svn etc) as .zip file for
windows users on the fly. I didn't implement it yet cause I use Windows
seldomly.

However if users tell me this would help them I'd take the time and get
that done. Then you still have a dependency on curl or such..

Providing mirrors repacking all .tar.gz as zip for windows users should
be no problem. Do Windows Vim users want this?

At some time you start hacking scripts and fixing bugs.. Then installing
git or such might be of value anyway..

You can even think about providing a VimL builder cloing the Mootools
bulider:
http://mootools.net/core
Select plugyins and get a .zip containing all files..

Again: Do Windows Vim users want this?

Marc Weber

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Re: Why Vimball archives are evil?

Jakson A. Aquino
In reply to this post by Stahlman Family
On Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 10:47 PM, Stahlman Family
<[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>
> Tom wrote:
>>
>> For example,
>>
>> now that many users (at least some that I know) are using the plugin
>> loader pathogen, all the plugins are installed as
>> ~/.vim/<plugin_name>/ftplugin/foo.vim. Installing with a  vimball
>> would place the files in their original vim directories.
>>
>> I ask you; What is wrong with tar.gz?
>
> tar.gz is the format I've always used for my plugin. Recently, I've begun to
> wonder whether this might dissuade some Windows users from downloading. I
> don't use Windows much anymore, but when I did, I typically had Cygwin
> installed, so gzipped tar files weren't a problem. I suspect, however, that
> many Windows users don't have Cygwin, and without it, I'm not sure that the
> average Windows user would know what to do with a gzipped tar file. I did an
> un-scientific survey of plugins on the Vim site and concluded that .zip was
> a much more popular archive format than tar.gz. Although my personal
> preference is for tar.gz, I'm wondering whether .zip makes more sense, as a
> sort of "lowest common denominator": I rarely, if ever, have issues opening
> .zip files on a Linux system, but have to use Linux tools to open tar.gz
> files on a Windows system. Thus, the choice of .zip for plugin archives
> might be analogous to the use of Unix line endings for plugin scripts, on
> the grounds that either Unix or DOS format works on Windows, but only Unix
> format works on Linux.
>
> Is there an official recommendation on this subject? I haven't noticed any
> guidelines on the scripts upload page, which simply refers to a "collection
> of bundled files". I seem to remember at some point seeing a script page
> that provided both .zip and some other format, but I'm not sure how this
> would work in practice: the upload file dialog allows you to specify only
> one file, so each archive format would have to be uploaded separately: i.e.,
> distinct version numbers and release notes (though I suppose they could be
> identical).

Actually, Vim's documentation recommends the use of vimball, followed
by zip archives.

:h distribute-script

Th use of Vimball is the easiest way of installing and uninstalling
plugins. I don't use vimball to package my plugin because it has some
binary files (bmp and png) and Vimball doesn't deal with them. An
advantage of tar.gz is that it deals with symbolic links while zip
archives store copies of the linked files. My plugin has symbolic
links but I distribute a zip file anyway because it's easier for
Windows users to install the plugin since Windows has native support
to the zip format.

Jakson Aquino

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Re: Why Vimball archives are evil?

Stahlman Family


Jakson A. Aquino wrote:

...[snip]...

>>
>> Is there an official recommendation on this subject? I haven't noticed any
>> guidelines on the scripts upload page, which simply refers to a "collection
>> of bundled files". I seem to remember at some point seeing a script page
>> that provided both .zip and some other format, but I'm not sure how this
>> would work in practice: the upload file dialog allows you to specify only
>> one file, so each archive format would have to be uploaded separately: i.e.,
>> distinct version numbers and release notes (though I suppose they could be
>> identical).
>
> Actually, Vim's documentation recommends the use of vimball, followed
> by zip archives.
>
> :h distribute-script

Ah! I had overlooked this. I had avoided using Vimball because (not
realizing it was part of the standard Vim distribution) I mistakenly
assumed it would add a dependency. I see that it was first incorporated
in Vim 7. I'm thinking pretty much everyone should be using Vim 7 by
now, so I guess I'll switch to packaging with Vimball.

Thanks,
Brett S.

>
> Th use of Vimball is the easiest way of installing and uninstalling
> plugins. I don't use vimball to package my plugin because it has some
> binary files (bmp and png) and Vimball doesn't deal with them. An
> advantage of tar.gz is that it deals with symbolic links while zip
> archives store copies of the linked files. My plugin has symbolic
> links but I distribute a zip file anyway because it's easier for
> Windows users to install the plugin since Windows has native support
> to the zip format.
>
> Jakson Aquino
>

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Re: Why Vimball archives are evil?

Tom Link-3
In reply to this post by Israel Chauca Fuentes
> That's it, I'd like to know the reasons behind so much opposition against plugins being released as vimball archives.

You cannot (or could not) include binary files like images. In past
discussions I once got the impression that the criticism of vimballs
wasn't so much about vimballs but about the fact that many vimballs
are distributed gz-compressed, which windows users cannot deal with
without the installation of an additional app.

I personally too prefer github repositories though. There are several
plugins that make life with plugins distributed this way easier: the
aforementioned pathogen, vimpluginloader by ZyX (that AFAIK integrates
with Marc's vim-addon-manager), (shameless plug) my own tplugin, and
maybe others.

Regards
Tom

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Re: Why Vimball archives are evil?

Nikolay Aleksandrovich Pavlov
Ответ на сообщение «Re: Why Vimball archives are evil?»,
присланное в 09:46:30 25 сентября 2010, Суббота,
отправитель Tom Link:

> I personally too prefer github repositories though. There are several
> plugins that make life with plugins distributed this way easier: the
> aforementioned pathogen, vimpluginloader by ZyX (that AFAIK integrates
> with Marc's vim-addon-manager), (shameless plug) my own tplugin, and
> maybe others.
Sorry, but my vimpluginloader is a library for developers. It does not fetch
anything neither itself nor with vim-addon-manager, but is able to source
runtime dependencies when they are required (that is why it is pluginloader).
The prefered form of installing is vim-addon-manager, package on vim.org
contains all dependencies bundled in one tar and so you will have to resolve
conflicts every time you will try to install two different my plugins from
vim.org.

Текст сообщения:

> > That's it, I'd like to know the reasons behind so much opposition against
> > plugins being released as vimball archives.
>
> You cannot (or could not) include binary files like images. In past
> discussions I once got the impression that the criticism of vimballs
> wasn't so much about vimballs but about the fact that many vimballs
> are distributed gz-compressed, which windows users cannot deal with
> without the installation of an additional app.
>
> I personally too prefer github repositories though. There are several
> plugins that make life with plugins distributed this way easier: the
> aforementioned pathogen, vimpluginloader by ZyX (that AFAIK integrates
> with Marc's vim-addon-manager), (shameless plug) my own tplugin, and
> maybe others.
>
> Regards
> Tom

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Re: Why Vimball archives are evil?

Tom Link-3
> 1 Sorry, but my vimpluginloader is a library for developers.
> 2 It does not fetch anything neither itself nor with vim-addon-manager,
> 3 but is able to source
> runtime dependencies when they are required (that is why it is pluginloader).

Based on the description on vim.org and clause 3, I had the impression
that it solves the same problem as tplugin (which could be described
with 3 too). tplugin-loader doesn't rely on extra work on part of the
developer (1) though, which is why it probably isn't? But maybe I just
don't get it.

Regards,
Tom

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Re: Why Vimball archives are evil?

Nikolay Aleksandrovich Pavlov
Ответ на сообщение «Re: Why Vimball archives are evil?»,
присланное в 14:59:19 25 сентября 2010, Суббота,
отправитель Tom Link:

> Based on the description on vim.org and clause 3, I had the impression
> that it solves the same problem as tplugin (which could be described
> with 3 too). tplugin-loader doesn't rely on extra work on part of the
> developer (1) though, which is why it probably isn't? But maybe I just
> don't get it.
Yes, third clause is ambigious. Removed it, thanks.

Текст сообщения:

> > 1 Sorry, but my vimpluginloader is a library for developers.
> > 2 It does not fetch anything neither itself nor with vim-addon-manager,
> > 3 but is able to source
> > runtime dependencies when they are required (that is why it is
> > pluginloader).
>
> Based on the description on vim.org and clause 3, I had the impression
> that it solves the same problem as tplugin (which could be described
> with 3 too). tplugin-loader doesn't rely on extra work on part of the
> developer (1) though, which is why it probably isn't? But maybe I just
> don't get it.
>
> Regards,
> Tom

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Re: Why Vimball archives are evil?

Christian Brabandt
In reply to this post by Tom Wieland
Hi Tom!

On Fr, 24 Sep 2010, Tom wrote:

> I ask you; What is wrong with tar.gz?

It is not easily extractable on Windows, if you don't have any extra
archiver installed. And this is not always possible to install them. So
I release my plugins as .vba.

Plus, anybody that is not familiar with vim, might not know where to
extract these archives. Vimball takes care of that for you.

I would even ask, what's wrong with .vba?

regards,
Christian

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Re: Why Vimball archives are evil?

MarcWeber
Excerpts from Christian Brabandt's message of Sat Sep 25 13:44:03 +0200 2010:
> It is not easily extractable on Windows, if you don't have any extra
> archiver installed. And this is not always possible to install them. So
> I release my plugins as .vba.
Same to .tar.gz then. If you open the file in a text editor you'll see
one line:
" Vimball Archiver by Charles E. Campbell, Jr., Ph.D.
Using google will find you:
http://vim.sourceforge.net/scripts/script.php?script_id=1502

So its not a real issue IMHO. I"d like Vim users to tell me that they
have had trouble finding this information.

And as I said: If it was a problew we could start mirroring them as
.zip. So unless someone replies telling "Yes, that would be fine because
*I*'ve had trouble opening .vba files - and I was too dump to find the
community resources (chat, mailinglist)" I stop thinking about it :)

I gave those windows users a chance to reply - noone did. So I conclude
that its no issue for Windows users unless I'm proofed wrong.

Marc Weber

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Re: Why Vimball archives are evil?

Christian Brabandt
Hi Marc!

On Sa, 25 Sep 2010, Marc Weber wrote:

> Excerpts from Christian Brabandt's message of Sat Sep 25 13:44:03 +0200 2010:
> > It is not easily extractable on Windows, if you don't have any extra
> > archiver installed. And this is not always possible to install them. So
> > I release my plugins as .vba.
> Same to .tar.gz then. If you open the file in a text editor you'll see
> one line:
> " Vimball Archiver by Charles E. Campbell, Jr., Ph.D.
> Using google will find you:
> http://vim.sourceforge.net/scripts/script.php?script_id=1502

I am not sure I understand. IIRC, vimball needs an external archiving
tool to extract tar.gz files. And there are no on Windows XP. But
vimballs can easily be extracted, as the vimball plugin is distributed
with vim.


regards,
Christian

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Re: Why Vimball archives are evil?

MarcWeber
> I am not sure I understand. IIRC, vimball needs an external archiving
> tool to extract tar.gz files. And there are no on Windows XP. But
> vimballs can easily be extracted, as the vimball plugin is distributed
> with vim.

Not all vimballs are compressed. Eg narrow_region.vba is not.
So maybe only vba.gz files are hard to install for Windows users.

But this doesn't change the facts:
- we could easily fix it (mirroring)
- but we should only do so if Windows users say they are interested

But no Windows users did say that (about themselves) yet, did they?

So you should talk about .vba.gz explicitly then.

Marc Weber

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Re: Why Vimball archives are evil?

Christian Brabandt
Hi Marc!

On Sa, 25 Sep 2010, Marc Weber wrote:

> > I am not sure I understand. IIRC, vimball needs an external archiving
> > tool to extract tar.gz files. And there are no on Windows XP. But
> > vimballs can easily be extracted, as the vimball plugin is distributed
> > with vim.
>
> Not all vimballs are compressed. Eg narrow_region.vba is not.

I know. I created it that way exactly for that reason, that I can
install it on my job's system without requiring an external archiver ;)

> So maybe only vba.gz files are hard to install for Windows users.

Yes.

>
> But this doesn't change the facts:
> - we could easily fix it (mirroring)
> - but we should only do so if Windows users say they are interested

True.

>
> But no Windows users did say that (about themselves) yet, did they?

No. Well, I did, kind of ;) There used to be a time, when I couldn't
extract gzipped files on Windows (XP). But I don't have XP anymore.

> So you should talk about .vba.gz explicitly then.

True.

regards,
Christian

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Re: Why Vimball archives are evil?

Alessandro Antonello
> > But no Windows users did say that (about themselves) yet, did they?

Hi, all.

I am a Windows user my self and I think that all Windows users that use Vim
already have things like Cygwin (I have it), MSYS, GNU tools for Windows, or
something like that. Just because a Vim user is someone that must be familiar
(or maybe not familiar but must have it) with tools like `ctags', `man pages',
`grep' and others. Maybe because of that there is no much complain about the
`vba.gz' or `tar.gz' format.

"The average Windows users doesn't even know Vim exists". That's for sure.
And even if he knows that Vim exists he does prefer to use Notepad++, ConText,
UltraEdit32, etc (too bad for them).

Regardless of plugins format, `vba', `tar.gz', `zip', `rar', etc, they are all
good. The most important thing is the installation instructions in the plugin
page. Also the configuration information and options in a separate file or
inside the script.

Alessandro Antonello

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Re: Why Vimball archives are evil?

Nikhilesh S
In reply to this post by Tom Link-3
On Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 10:46:30PM -0700, Tom Link wrote:
> ... (shameless plug) my own tplugin ...

Cool. I use pathogen but the long loadup times of vim bothers me. Will
tplugin work as a drop-in replacement for pathogen (with TPluginRoot
~/.vim/bundle)?

Does it handle helptags?

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Re: Why Vimball archives are evil?

Tom Link-3
> Will tplugin work as a drop-in replacement for pathogen (with TPluginRoot
> ~/.vim/bundle)?

There should be no problem. You should run :TPluginScan and restart
vim. Autoloading doesn't work for all plugins though. For some plugins
(~ 5%), tplugin isn't able to find their command definitions. I'd
appreciate it if people told me about such plugins.

> Does it handle helptags?

Since tplugin doesn't add all plugin directories to &rtp right away,
the situation is slightly more complicated. The current version on
github adds all helptags to the master doc/tags file in the first
directory in &rtp to solve this problem.

Regards,
Tom

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