? What is PION?

PION is an acronym for Plug-In Over Network. It is a paradigm for creating cross-platform plug-ins.

Most audio, video, and image editing software support adding additional features and effects by using plug-ins. Usually these plug-ins need to be redeveloped for a specific platform such as Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, or iOS. Mobile platforms have many restrictions and technical challenges making traditional plug-ins impossible or needlessly complicated to develop. The PION paradigm is a way to develop plug-ins that can be used on every platform, are simple to make, have little administrative overhead, and can approach native performance.

How does it work?

Plug-ins are developed using the latest web technology (primarily HTML and JavaScript or Web Assembly) and are hosted in a web browser. The host app interacts with the plug-in through the local network. Here are the steps for hosting a plug-in:
  1. The host app creates an embedded web browser or web view (an external browser could be used as well).
  2. The host app creates a simple TCP server on or ::1 (localhost) on an available port.
  3. The host app directs the web view to navigate to the plug-in's URL, appending the port number as a parameter (if not the default port), such as:
  4. The plug-in opens a WebSocket to or ::1 (localhost) on the port provided (or the default port).
  5. The host and plug-in communicate through this connection to exchange information through JSON or raw data.
Ideally standard protocols would be defined for audio, video, and image processing. Multiple plug-ins could be hosted in multiple webviews or HTML iframe elements on different ports.

+ What are the advantages?

PION has many advantages over traditional plug-in development:

- What are the disadvantages?

! Where can I see it in action?

PION is in beta testing in the GoldWave Audio Editor. Use Options | Plug-in | Effect | Plug-in Over Network to add plug-ins. Use the following links to add PION effects to GoldWave. Note that the new Chromium Edge browser is required to host the plug-ins and the Edge SDK is still in beta testing, so things may not work when the Edge browser is updated (currently the January 2020 version 80.0.361.62 is required).
  • https://goldwave.com/pion/echo.html
  • https://goldwave.com/pion/mix.html
  • https://goldwave.com/pion/scan.html

Plug-in Over Network, PION, PIONAPI and PION logo are trademarks of GoldWave Inc.

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