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Plugin Oriented Programming

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Pop is used to express the Plugin Oriented Programming Paradigm. The Plugin Oriented Programming Paradigm has been designed to make pluggable software easy to write and easy to extend.

Most large projects eventually need to follow a modular and pluggable design, so why not start a project using a plugin design?

Pop can be used to extend an existing project to add plugins, or to build a project that is 100% pluggable.

Getting Started

A more complete Getting Started Guide is available inside of the documentation for pop. The best place to start is in the doc's Getting Started Guide found here:

First off, install pop from pypi:

pip3 install pop

Start by making a new directory for your project:

mkdir poppy

Now create a simple python script called to create the hub and start the plugin system.

The hub is the root of the namespace that pop operates on. Don't worry, it is not that complicated! Think of the hub like a big self variable that is shared across your entire application. The hub allows you to save data that is relative to your plugins while still allowing that data to be shared safely across the application.

import pop.hub

# Create the hub
hub = pop.hub.Hub()
# Load up your first plugin subsystem called "plugins"

This script has created your hub and loaded up your first subsystem, or sub. The pypath option tells pop where to load up the python package that contains the plugins.

Now lets create the python package and make it start to work! Make a new directory called poppy as the base python package and then another for your plugins.

mkdir -p poppy/poppy

Now that you are in the new poppy directory create the new plugin subsystem's initializer. Create a file called poppy/poppy/ and give it an __init__ function. Like a class you can initialize a new plugin subsystem, or a new module.

def __init__(hub):
    print('Hello World!!')

Now that you have a plugin with an initializer you can run it! Go back to the same directory as the file and execute it.


With a project up and running you can now add more plugins, more code and more subsystems!

Examples and Tutorial

The are a lot of capabilities even though it is easy to use pop. There is a greap example repo called poppy that shows some of the basics of using pop:

Also check out our tutorial

Plugin Oriented Programming Manifesto

Software development needs to evolve to work with larger software projects and larger, more distributed teams.

Modern software development has been built on proven, powerful development models. These models were introduced in the distant past and have been deeply validated. These development models evolved from the models used to create early computing systems and languages.

Plugin Oriented Programming takes an approach to programming that stems from the developer first. Instead of making programming models that express how a computer works, Plugin Oriented Programming takes the approach of making development easier for developers and teams, both open and private.

Finally, Plugin Oriented Programming does not seek to supersede other development paradigms, it is not a revolution, it is an evolution. Inside POP you can use OOP, Functional, Procedural paradigms and more. Pop instead gives a canvas to create pluggable interfaces that can be easily used to expose functionality.

POP Concepts

Plugin Oriented Programming is expressed through a number of concepts. These concepts grow out of a decade of developing plugin based systems and plugin software.

These listed concepts are the high level concepts of Plugin Oriented Programming. Of course there are a number of smaller concepts, but these define the high level view of the paradigms.

The Hub

Pop creates a hub around which all assets, plugins, variables and communication occurs. The hub allows for plugins to be shared between each other, so plugin systems can cross communicate.

Plugin Subsystems

Plugin subsystems allow for new plugin containers to be defined. A plugin subsystem is where the plugins reside and are available on the hub.


Plugin patterns are patterns used to define how a plugin system should behave. Some plugin systems are library functions, some are used to generate data, some are used to pipeline processing etc. Defining a plugin pattern allows for the creation of code models so that plugins can fit inside of plugin subsystems easily.


Contracts allow for plugins and plugin subsystems to be enforce. A contract is used to enforce that new plugins follow the defined patterns for the given plugin subsystem.

Shared Data

Shared data is critical for Plugin Oriented Programming. The hub combined with plugin subsystems create a hierarchical namespace. This namespace, by convention, defines if data is private, protected or shared. This allows for smooth data hand offs between subsystems while still making data only modifiable to certain areas of the code. The shared data concept is also very useful when working with async code, as queues and events are available to the application in a simple, shared way.

Application Merging

Merge able applications is the concept of multiple applications can occupy the same hub, or be merged. This allows for better compartmentalization of applications while still be able to combine many small applications into a single large application.

POP Vision

This expression of Plugin Oriented Programming works very well inside of Python. Because of the flexibility of Python objects and namespaces it was an optimal language to build pop.

But moving forward I would love to see Plugin Oriented Programming become a reality in more languages. The paradigm allows for hot swappable plugins, but this is not a requirement. I would love to see Plugin Oriented Programming exist in a language like Go, where everything is compiled to a single binary. I think that some languages have the optimal makeup for Plugin Oriented Programming, particularly Julia, but also other dynamic languages.

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Plugin Oriented Programming

License:Apache License 2.0


Language:Python 100.0%