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A Neophyte Tackles the FG Extension - What is Extensibility? Why is it Important?

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One can look up ďextensibilityĒ on line and get some lengthy explanations. The concept and implementation of extensibility is complicated, but the meaning boils down to this: a principle or methodology of software design that allows for the program to be added to (extended) without having to modify the fundamental program. In other words, you can kludge things on!

Letís take an example, the simple shovel. It is usable by many different kinds of people. Gardeners, ditch diggers, housewives, even trial lawyers and CEOs can turn earth or shovel manure. Is it extensible? Was it designed and implemented in such a way that I can attach devices to it to achieve new or changed functionality? Not really.

What about a step ladder? It essentially allows us to be taller. Then someone added that little swing out platform near the top and the ladder became extensible. One can hook a paint tray on to the platform and extend the functionality to help paint a house. It could be argued that this is an over simplified example of extensibility. But I hope Iíve made my point: because stepladders come with the platform I can do more things than just be tall and I donĎt have to reengineer the ladder.

Software products do not have to be extensible to be successful - nearly every smart phone app is not extensible, and theyíre wildly successful. Fantasy Grounds is an exception to the closed system mentality, itís amazingly extensible - put some code in auxiliary files and FGĎs functionality can be vastly changed without touching the underlying program. So why would Smiteworks do this? I believe it is vision. It is my understanding that Smiteworks is a small company. Extensibility allows rule sets and modules to be developed with less staff and with less capital. Each rule set is really just an extension of the CoreRPG. Exposing the extensibility to the public is even more remarkable. Anyone can enhance the Smiteworksí product and increase itís appeal to more and more players. Weíre each and every one of us richer for it.

You may be wondering, ďWhen do we touch the code?Ē Next blog post Iíll talk about available resources and after that weíll look at our first piece of code.

Until next time keep on role playing.

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