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Addon Spotlight: New, old, and outdated!

Matthew Porter

Ho boy, what an exciting time to be a WoW player. New talents, crazy zombie plagues, even an infestation of Headless Horsemen tormenting towns. And of course our favorite patch mini-game, updating addons! By now the dust has settled and we have a better understanding of how the patch affected our addons. Hopefully the worst is over and it'll be smooth sailing as we install Wrath soon. This week in the Spotlight we'll look at new, updated, and retired addons as we rebuild our interfaces in preparation of our adventures in Northrend.

Now that we've all had a chance to rebuild our interfaces, you've probably noticed some of your favorites have undergone some pretty big changes. A lot of addon authors saw the 3.0 patch as a good opportunity to revisit their code and try to make improvements. In some cases this lead to a complete rewrite. Why reinvent the wheel you might ask? Well some authors might have felt they could write more efficient code, leading to a smaller memory footprint. Some addons can make use of new features that Blizzard implemented such as the internal threat meter. Some addon developers might of felt like it was time to either hang up their project and leave it to competitors, or to keep up the pace and evolve with the game. While it's frustrating to login and see your favorite addon is no longer in development, or completely different than how it was, you need to remember that change is good! Let's take a look at a few addons that shook off their stagnation and weren't afraid of change.

New and Improved

One of the key interface elements we use are action bars, and it just so happens each of the major players in this category have undergone a rewrite. First off, Bartender3 became Bartender4. This is one of the more minor rewrites seen by the user as the feature set remained mostly the same. Under the hood though the code is tighter and uses the newest Ace framework. I think the idea behind the rewrite was to stay up to date with the latest Ace libraries in order to help compatibility with other addons that might interact with Bartender4. All in all if you liked the old Bartender the new one should be a relatively painless transition, other than having to setup your action bars again. Unfortunately old user settings didn't survive the move.

Continuing our look at action bars we'll find that Bongos Bar has turned into Dominos. The author realized Bongos was slowly getting bloated as he implemented new features requested by users. I think he intended Bongos to be a lightweight enhancement to the default action bars and felt alternative bar addons handled the bells and whistles better. So after trimming the fat and rewriting the code Dominos was born. "Dominos is intended to be easier to maintain. I wanted to see how much I could do while maintaining compatibility with the standard action button code. I'm not entirely happy with the direction I took with Bongos3. I added features that I do not see myself using personally, and thus feel that those features will be neglected and bug ridden." Those wanting a little more customization than the default bars give you should give Dominos a look.

Rounding out our look at action bars is Macaroon, the successor to Trinity Bars. Trinity Bars was a favorite among people wanting every feature imaginable in an action bar addon. The good news is Macaroon is still as powerful as ever, while being easier for its author to grow and maintain. He explained his reasons for retiring Trinity Bars in favor of the new project in an interesting post to his users. It's a good read for those looking for insight on the thoughts and motivations of addon authors. The design process some addon authors go through mirror that of full blown software writers, and they should be applauded for their work. In short he felt he coded himself into a corner with Trinity Bars, and realized the best way out was to rewrite it using the knowledge learned from the old Trinity code. If you're familiar with Trinity Bars then Macaroon will feel natural. Like the name implies, Macaroon is centered around extending the macro system; giving the user more macro banks and increased character limits. Don't worry as the normal blizzard action id slots are still there too. And be sure to grab Macaroon Xtras to handle your xp/rep, bags, and menu bars. Macaroon is one of the more feature filled and complex action bar addons out there. It's pretty easy to setup, but the amount of options may be overwhelming to some. Give it a whirl and see how it fits you.

There are many more addons that underwent a radical upgrade, but they will have to wait and be featured later. I felt looking at action bars was a good starting point. Before we wrap up today's post, I wanted to take a look a few addons that aren't needed any more, and a few completely new.

Out with the Old, in With the New

On the not needed list is Fiizzwidget's Hunter's Helper. This addon helped keep track of abilities Hunter pet's learned, but now that they innately learn their abilities along with the new talent tree, this addon is retired. Another addon no longer needed is Menagerie. This addon helped collectors swap around their menagerie of mini pets when visiting the bank for a different one. Now that the new mini pet and mount system is implemented, I would suggest you take a look at Zoo Keeper and Mounted. Mounted helps you by writing out a smart mount macro using a weighted list of your mounts. This lets you have a favorite mount that will be called forth most of the time when used, but allows you to show off your mount collection by mixing the chosen mount up a little with a random seed that's set by you. Zoo Keeper helps you sort your mini pets and mounts, and provides a fast way of accessing them with a key binding or Fubar/Titan widget. Our final new addon for today is Overachiever. This handy addon offers some tweaks that make going after achievements easier. This addon makes the achievement tracker persist through logouts, adds information to critter tooltips to see if you "/love" them, adds detailed information to the achievement tooltips, and much more.

/Salute Cosmos

Well that's all for today's Addon Spotlight. Expect to see more new and improved 3.0 addons featured soon, and look for an in depth article on the state of Fubar, Titan Bar, and LibDataBroker in the next Creamy GUI Center. Before we wrap for today I'd like to take a moment and give a big shout out to the Cosmos addon team. They announced that they are closing up shop after serving the WoW addon community since the very beginning. While a small handful of their addons will still be available as the author sees fit, the whole Cosmos package is being retired. I got my first taste of WoW interface enhancement thanks in part to the Cosmos team, and I wish them all the best in future endeavors. Rather you used their addons or not, they deserve props for all their effort and hard work. Thanks all and see you next time!

Are you an addon-addict? Is your User Interface a living work of art? Welcome home, my friends! Every week, Addon Spotlight profiles a different addon, brings you mod-related news and dishes out free addon advice. See out what's been said and done in the addon community by checking out past features or our addon and UI directory.

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