Info needed: How are decisions made about what features make it into Blender?

Blender Guru once commented about the strange relationship between Add-Ons making money for their creators because they are separate from Blender vs being integrated into Blender and made free for everyone.

It made me think about Add-Ons that I wish were part of Blender itself, instead of being an Add-On. (How many people have Node Wrangler turned on? All of us?)

And it also made me think: What is the decision-making process about how this code is integrated? Or rejected? And how is this process revised and kept up-to-date?

Can an Add-On ever be bought out? Can an Add-On developer offer their code for free? Is there a way that users can request a code be integrated? Etc, etc…

There may already be some resources out there that answers all these questions, but I wasn’t able to find them. If you have answers yourself, or can point me in the right direction, it would be much appreciated. Thank you.

If I’m not mistaken, Pablo has commented about this process in some of the Blender Today streams. As far as I understand, for add-ons to be integrated within Blender there needs to be a mantainer willing to update the add-on for each release (and it shouldn’t be a too big add-on). And for patches, the code usually needs to follow some standard, iirc.

@AndyCuccaro Thanks for replying. I think I saw the same Blender Today stream where Pablo mentions this. Is any of that info officially documented at all? I.e. As part of the website, for example?

I feel that a proper explanation of this process would help people understand why Blender is so remarkable, and how they can help to make it better.

(As well as gaining a realistic understanding about the limitations of the process too, so they don’t ask too much from Blender or call for changes to be implemented with an unrealistic timeline, etc).

If you (or anyone) knows where this info is written down please link to it. Thanks!

Yes, it is at Process/Addons - Blender Developer Wiki

@Garek Thank you! This will help me understand the general Add-On info, which is still a bit of a mystery to me. I also see that there’s areas of that website that have answers to other questions I’ve asked. Thank you again. :slightly_smiling_face:

It would still be interesting to get a more overall understanding of the decision-making process about how code is integrated, but perhaps that just comes with gained knowledge over time. In my mind I think I was looking for one of those cool motion-graphics youtube explanations with a nice voice-over narrating all the steps so that I can have all the info in 2 minutes, haha! …actually, that would be fantastic if something like that exists. If anyone knows of something like that please link it.

In the meantime, I have a lot of reading ahead of me… Cheers

If you have more questions about process and you feel it isn’t covered in wiki feel free to ask them here and/or tag @ThomasDinges since he is Developer Community Coordinator. Wiki does not necessary up to date and feedback from people new to a process can help change that. :slightly_smiling_face:

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@Garek It’s funny you should say that. Since starting this thread I’ve literally been watching the latest Blender Today LIVE #176 which introduces Thomas Dinges, and have also (just 5 mins ago) tweeted him a link to this thread. :slightly_smiling_face:


I am no Addons expert, but will try to answer your questions. :slight_smile:

Bundled vs extra download
As already pointed out, if someone wants to have their addon inside of Blender, they need to submit it via our channels and maintain it longterm Process/Addons - Blender Developer Wiki The addon must also add to Blenders mission and not link to commercial webservices etc, see the mailinglist for details: [Bf-committers] Blender Addons Policy

Selling addons
See License — for details on “Sharing or selling Blender add-ons”

Addon vs inbuilt functionality
Addons are a nice way to experiment with new features and additions. They are also independent from Blender releases. An addon can bring out 2-3 new versions during a Blender release, so new features and fixes can be made available quicker, than waiting for a new Blender release.

If the addon adds a large value, that is relevant for many Blender users, it’s possible to integrate the functionality into Blender itself. But that of course requires someone who ports the code from Python to C/C++, and also make sure it fits with Blenders design and code standards Process/Contributing Code - Blender Developer Wiki The submitted patch will go through code review, and module owners will check if the code can be included, if changes are required or if it fits with Blenders design in the first place. Ideally developers should connect with module teams before working on something (that is not only relevant for addons but for any code contribution), to make sure the change is designed well and has a chance of inclusion.

I hope that helps a bit.



Thanks, Thomas. That does help.

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