[PD-dev] seeking advice on Pd gui overhaul

Jeff Mann jeff at jeffmann.com
Wed Mar 3 00:30:06 CET 2010

I have an interest in using Pd on smaller embedded platforms, such as 
ARM-based ones.

Especially with the higher-end ARM chips with floating point units these 
days, I think Pd could have some interesting applications on the new 
tablets and various other ARM-based devices coming down the pipes - or 
already out there. Personally I work a lot with sensors, actuators, and 
control systems for interactive installations, and being able to run on 
multiple small, inexpensive processors without requiring a PC, is a big 
advantage that Pd has over Max, for example.

You can see with the PDa project, that it seems the gui is one of the 
biggest barriers to getting it to work on many different platforms.

So, if anyone's considering writing a non-tcl/tk gui, I'd like to give a 
nudge towards Qt rather than juce. While juce can apparently work with 
the iPhone, no-one has used it on any other non-intel system as far as I 
can tell. On the other hand, we have Qt/Embedded, which is very mature 
and is the standard in the area of PDAs and all kinds of mobile and 
embedded platforms. It doesn't even necessarily need X11, as it provides 
its own small-footprint windowing system.

Having said that, I understand that the first step would really need to 
be a cleaner interface between pd-core and pd-gui. From what I've read, 
there's a lot of drawing stuff going on inside pd-core that really 
expects to be working with tcl/tk. It doesn't seem to make sense to go 
ahead with a non-tcl/tk gui before this is sorted out. So, if people 
have programming energy to contribute, maybe that's a good starting 
point. Another advantage to that is to reduce the load and improve the 
ability to run pd-core on small "headless" processors, communicating 
with pd-gui over a network.

I don't know if any of this is particularly relevant or useful to anyone 
else, since my use-case is perhaps not so common. But I thought I'd just 
throw it into the ring for consideration.



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