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Plugin modules


It is very difficult to implement a lot of functions in one small program. Size is very important parameter because SyMon must fit into only one track ie about 30 kilobytes. So the problem is to enable SyMon to gain functionality and be small at the same time.

SyMon provides you with an excellent solution of this problem. It supports plugins. Plugins are located somewhere on your disk and can be hot plugged into SyMon on the fly. SyMon supports the following containers of plugins for now:

  • NTFS partition root directory (since Release R3.17)
  • FAT32 partition root directory
  • FAT16 partition root directory
  • FAT12 partition root directory
  • SyMon plugin partition (before Release R3.17)
To install plugin you need just to copy plugin file into container and then create plugin descriptor for it. Plugins are dynamically linked to SyMon kernel. SyMon looks for new plugins every time you change your settings in setup dialog so you have practically unlimited capabilities of plugin usage. Plugins are remounted on the fly!

SyMon supports three kinds of plugin extensions:

  • OS plugin extension. This kind of extension enables you to create a new method of booting your OS. For example, plugins of this kind can be used to start several OSes located in one file system. They are rendered in standard frame of main menu.
  • Boot plugin extension. This kind of extension enables you to start OS from external media, such as CD-ROM, ZIP etc. They are rendered in control frame of main menu.
  • Tool plugin extension. This kind of extension enables you to add new tools to SyMon. For example, you can add tools for working with FAT partitions.
All these are selected by the plugin developer and don't need to be changed by the end user. Every plugin module supports up to 15 plugin extensions. You can mix different kinds of extensions in one plugin module. For example, you may have three OS plugins and one tool plugin to setup those OSes in one plugin module.

Plugins are free for developers. We plan to publish the documentation on plugin development techniques. You can write plugins both in assembler and C (using Borland C or any other compiler which supports tiny memory model). We provide you with Symon stdlib and startup module to link your code into ready-to-use plugin module.

We suggest you to join us and write plugins for SyMon. Here are the main directions of plugin development for SyMon:

bin src Revision Description of plugin module
Already done
STDPLUG.PLG available   Standard plugin (SyMon color editor and features editor)
CDDRV.PLG available   CD-ROM boot extension
download download 1.1 Demonstration plugin
To do
planned - EXTENDED partition editor, format utility for FAT etc
planned - OS plugins for emulation of System Commander when starting several Microsoft OSes located in one FAT; and emulation of NTloader menu.
planned - ZIP boot extension

Any other suggestions for SyMon extensions are welcome!


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