RFC: Generic wrapper for external helpr applications

Enrico Weigelt enrico.weigelt at vnc.biz
Mon Nov 19 07:41:52 PST 2012

Hi folks,

I'm currently thinking about a generic ways for configuring external
helpers, eg. mail client, web browser, etc. (at least on *nix ;-p)

For now, many applications (eg. libreoffice) have their own settings,
which adds additional code/complexity and requires the user to set it
in each single application. Let's imagine some approach which allows
it on a system-wide, user-wide, system-wide as well as application-wide
basis - how could that look like ?

>From individual application side, it just wants to know which command
to call. It then just would call an universal wrapper, eg. like this:

 common-helper-app --caller=LibreOffice web-browser --url="http://foo.bar"
 common-helper-app --caller=LibreOffice web-add-bookmark --url "http://www.libreoffice.org" --title "LibreOffice Homepage"
 common-helper-app --caller=LibreOffice mail-compose --mailto "foo at bar.org" --subject "Hello world"
 common-helper-app --caller=LibreOffice mail-mailbox --inbox
 common-helper-app --caller=LibreOffice show-document --auto --file "~/my_image.png"
 common-helper-app --caller=LibreOffice edit-document --auto --file "~/funny_pic.jpg"

If an application wants to launch an settings dialog for itself, it would call:

 common-helper-app --caller=LibreOffice configure

This 'common-helper-app' could be written in shellscript or whatever language
one likes and is provided by the distro. It's now fully up to that command to
decide what really to do (it could even consider session specific things like
whether to use a graphical or text terminal, use desktop environment
specific settings, etc, etc).

What do you think about this idea ?

Mit freundlichen Grüßen / Kind regards 

Enrico Weigelt 
VNC - Virtual Network Consult GmbH 
Head Of Development 

Pariser Platz 4a, D-10117 Berlin
Tel.: +49 (30) 3464615-20
Fax: +49 (30) 3464615-59

enrico.weigelt at vnc.biz; www.vnc.de 

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