I've been talking about a WoW addon called libDataBroker a lot lately. When my Fubar plug-ins started to become more and more scarce, I found out that the authors were switching to libDataBroker. After a bit of research, I quickly switched and haven't looked back since. This blog post is intended to give people a simple explanation of what libDataBroker is and how to use its compatible display addons and plug-ins.
I guess I should get things straight from the beginning. LibDataBroker is an addon library not an addon. In basic terms, an addon library allows different addons to communicate or exchange data with eachother. In technical terms, well, you'd have to ask someone who knows a lot more about coding than I do to get a good explanation on that one. There are many different addon libraries out there that all do different functions. One common example would be libHealComm which allows the different healing addons (VuhDo, Healbot, Grid) to pass information back and forth. Without libHealComm, healers in a raid would all need to use the same addon in order to see eachother's incoming heals and other handy features. Thank goodness for addon libraries giving us freedom of choice.
libDataBroker plug-ins being displayed with the Fortress addon are the three lines of black bars at the top center, two lines of black bars at the bottom right, and the single bar above the chat window. (Click screenshots to see them larger.)
Now that we know what LDB (libDataBroker) is, what does it do? Most everyone is familiar with Fubar and/or TitanPanel. Both are great addons that allow compatible plug-ins (things like xpFu, guildFu, etc) to display useful information through a display addon (either Fubar or TitanPanel). The downside to both is that you have to use specific plug-ins with specific display addons. TitanPanel plug-ins don't work with Fubar and Fubar plug-ins don't work with TitanPanel. Like libHealComm, LDB gives us the freedom to choose. We can choose which plug-ins and which display addons we want to use. Plug-ins are also generally more light weight because they only need to be compatible with LDB not with each possible display addon. Wohoo for using less memory while running more addons! Many addon authors have even converted their launchers (those annoying buttons that clutter your minimap) to work with LDB. Yes, that's right folks, it's time to unclutter your minimaps. You can even pick one display method to handle the data feeds and another to handle the launcher buttons. Hooray for more options. That's the whole point of LDB, to have more options and flexibility while making the addons themselves more stable and light weight.
My launchers being displayed in a drop-down menu from the LauncherMenu addon. Note the clean minimap in the top right.
Here are some links to download LDB display addons and plug-ins:
Start off at Tekkub's page. He's got a good listing of display addons there along with a good start at data feed plug-ins: http://wiki.github.com/tekkub/libdatabroker-1-1/addons-using-ldbbroker-1-1/addons-using-ldb
Next stop, WoWInterface: http://www.wowinterface.com/downloads/cat108.html
Once you've found some plug-ins you want to use, make sure you've downloaded and installed at least one display addon (Tekkub has a nice list of those on his page that I linked to above). For those of you using TitanPanel, if you've got an up-to-date version, they've added LDB, so you can continue to use TitanPanel with these nifty new LDB plug-ins. Once you've got your plug-ins and display addon(s) installed, you're ready to log in to WoW and start setting things up in game. Configuration will be similar to Fubar and TitanPanel. Some of the more complex plug-ins will have their own configuration menus along side the display addon's configuration menu while the simpler plug-ins will just be in the display addon's configuration menu.
My reference sources while writing this blog: http://wiki.github.com/tekkub/libdatabroker-1-1 http://www.vranx.com/information.htm http://forums.wowace.com/showthread.php?t=14903
and a fair amount of playing with different LDB plug-ins and displays.