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Friday, March 18, 2005

A must-read blog post by Tom Muck

I just got done reading a post by Tom Muck about rogue extensions for Dreamweaver. Though his post is geared towards Dreamweaver, it is important to note that the same issues exist for other Macromedia programs such as Flash and Fireworks which also rely on the Extension Manager to install/uninstall extensions. Tom's post is a must-read for anyone using any Macromedia product that uses the Extension Manager to install extensions.

A rogue extension can come from any extension developer, including reputable companies. There are no regulations in place to prevent extensions from the problems described in Tom's post.

For the average user it is not easy to determine if the extensions offered by any particular person or business are safe to install without worry that their configuration will be corrupted. At this point, the average user is left to trial and error...

Rest assured that any extension that I've written and will write will never "overwrite" a Macromedia default file. If it means that I can't release the extension without modifying one of Macromedia's files, oh well. I'd rather know that I haven't caused the frustration of even a single extension user than be selfish and write my extensions without regard to repercussions.

I feel it is important to spread the word about the potential for problems. Tom's points are all very valid concerns. At the same time, I hesitate to write on this topic because it could easily be seen as trying to bash a potential competitor or further my own business.

On the other hand, if I say nothing at all, then what? The potential for conflicting extensions becoming a common problem is definitely there in my opinion. I can't just sit back knowing this and say absolutely nothing about it.

This post alone possibly risks causing certain companies/people to become upset with me for speaking out about it. I sure hope it doesn't ruffle any feathers because my intentions are good, but I guess that's a chance I'm taking...

I doubt it is Tom's intention, and it certainly is not my intention to scare people into avoiding extensions. If you run into a problem, removing\renaming your User's Configuration should restore things normal. Worst case scenario, you'll have to reinstall.

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