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GIMP-fu and You: Writing GIMP Scripts

A lot of the power of GIMP lies in its huge collection of plug-ins and scripts. But you might not realize how easy it is to write your own plug-in, or to modify an existing one.

You can write GIMP plug-ins in Python, Perl, C, or a dialect of Scheme called Script-fu. In this tutorial, Akkana Peck will show you the trade-offs of each language, and will take you through the details of installing, debugging and modifying existing scripts or plug-ins in several languages, as well as writing new code.

Script-fu is the default language for GIMP 2.2 and earlier, and the only language that's available in all platforms, so we'll spend the most time on that. Don't worry -- even if you don't know Scheme or Lisp, it's not that hard to get a handle on script-fu. You'll also learn some tips for making sure a script will work with GIMP 2.3's new "Tiny-fu" interpreter, and how to port older scripts to tiny-fu.

Along the way, you'll learn how to use GIMP's Procedure Browser to check on details of the functions available in the GIMP API.

We'll also go through some of the details of gimp-python, which has long been available on Linux and has become standard on all platforms in 2.3. You'll learn how gimp-python differs from script-fu and see why it's more powerful.

If time and interest permit, we can talk about developing C and Perl plug-ins, or using GIMP's command-line batch processor.

This tutorial is aimed at people who aren't afraid of looking at code, but you don't have to be an experienced Scheme or Python programmer. We'll start by looking through existing scripts and understanding how and why they work before diving deeper. Even if you haven't programmed before, you might find GIMP scripting is not as hard as you thought!

Project: GIMP 


Akkana Peck

Akkana Peck is a freelance software developer and the author of the recent Apress book "Beginning GIMP: From Novice to Professional." She has been working with open source software for some 20 years, much of that as a Mozilla developer, and has contributed to GIMP, Mozilla and an assortment of other projects. Akkana is a longtime member of the GIMP community and enjoys giving GIMP courses and presentations, as well as filling up her hard drive with digital images. She lives in San Jose, California, with her husband and a motley assortment of old computers.

Akkana Peck

Akkana Peck is a freelance software developer and the author of the recent Apress book "Beginning GIMP: From Novice to Professional." She has been working with open source software for some 20 years, much of that as a Mozilla developer, and has contributed to GIMP, Mozilla and an assortment of other projects. Akkana is a longtime member of the GIMP community and enjoys giving GIMP courses and presentations, as well as filling up her hard drive with digital images. She lives in San Jose, California, with her husband and a motley assortment of old computers.

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