SnartSDR Panel API and "Store'

  • 5
  • Idea
  • Updated 2 years ago
It would be great if Flex published an API for programmers to be able to write panel applets that could be part of the stack of applets (power display, DAX/Mic processing, etc). It would allow us to be able to write applets that could:
- decode digital signals realtime
- see dx cluster spots for visible panadapters
- write loglet features
- etc.

Flex could post these on its storefront and take a percentage of their sales to offset the cost of admin, etc.

What say??

Photo of Neal - K3NC

Neal - K3NC, Elmer

  • 450 Posts
  • 134 Reply Likes

Posted 2 years ago

  • 5
Photo of Milen KG2C

Milen KG2C

  • 58 Posts
  • 13 Reply Likes
While I see the appeal of having third-party features added to the UI, I don't see why you would want a store front to make Flex a gatekeeper to what you can add using the API.
The smart phone app stores were added so that the company providing the OS can be the gatekeeper to everything you are allowed by them to run, and to ensure they can profit from everything you run. Those app stores were made convenient to use only because otherwise people would find other means of installing software that could not be controlled and monetized by the OS provider.

Having said that, an add-on store, provided by Flex could be beneficial if it provides visibility to applications that people might need but not know about, as long as it is possible to install the application directly (assuming the developer offers them for free).
Photo of Neal - K3NC

Neal - K3NC, Elmer

  • 449 Posts
  • 134 Reply Likes
The advantage of a storefront is precisely what you said, Flex could be a gatekeeper. A lousily written panel applet would affect the operation of SmartSDR in total, at which point Flex would be blamed for lousy software. If they could bounce error prone panels off the market, they can protect themselves.
Photo of Peter K1PGV

Peter K1PGV, Elmer

  • 541 Posts
  • 315 Reply Likes
It would act as a "Force Multiplier" by allowing third parties to do cool stuff, thus freeing the Flex team for other dev tasks. But I can't help wondering if building and maintaining the infrastructure wouldn't take more time than it would save?

Photo of James Whiteway

James Whiteway

  • 905 Posts
  • 222 Reply Likes
FRS has said in the past they will not allow plug-ins (essentially what your asking for) to SSDR because of the support issues that can, and most likely would, arise.
Photo of John - WA7UAR

John - WA7UAR

  • 113 Posts
  • 25 Reply Likes
In my own opinion, plug-ins would be solely supported by the original developers -- but built on the published Flex API. I have developed plug-ins for the Wordpress environment that provide unique abilities on that platform. I believe that the FRS platform would benefit greatly from the broader Ham (and Ham/Maker) user communities. 
Photo of James Whiteway

James Whiteway

  • 905 Posts
  • 222 Reply Likes
While I like the idea of plug-in's, I imagine another reason is for some ideas to work (such as Spots on a panadapter) it would require the plug-in developer to have knowledge of SSDR's implementation of it's user interface. That would mean that FRS would need to share SSDR's source code to some extent. Or at least expose those elements of the user interface to outside developers.  I seriously doubt that will happen. And while it's true that a 3rd party developer should be responsible for their code, it will fall on FRS to field problems brought up by users and to decide if it's FRS's code that is causing the problem(s) or that of the 3rd party plug-in developer.
Given all the issues FRS already gets because of Windows Updates etc. I understand why they would not want to add to their developer's workload trying to track down issues. I can see where that would be costly and time consuming for FRS, even if they decide it's my plug-in or yours that's creating the problems.
And users will call FRS first or at the very least post here on the Community expecting FRS to handle the issue.

Photo of Mark WS7M

Mark WS7M

  • 423 Posts
  • 118 Reply Likes
I am not sure what's going on but I replied and liked and they are now gone.

I like this idea a lot!

While I do see FRS concern about plugins, they could just make a store for purchasing API enabled apps that run along side of SmartSDR!