[PD-dev] Multiple Instance of pdlib

Peter Brinkmann peter.brinkmann at googlemail.com
Wed Feb 26 03:37:45 CET 2014

Good point. I wasn't involved when Peter first started the project and I'm
> sure, back then, multiple PD instances seemed waaay off into the future.

That's not actually what I was thinking when I was putting together the API
of libpd. My goal was simply to create the thinnest possible wrapper in C
that would make Pd embeddable, and then to add the thinnest possible Java
bindings that would make the C API available to Android devices. The
latter, with all the static methods in PdBase.java, drew some criticism
from some Java people, but I still believe that minimality is the way to go
for a library like this.

I also figured that support for multiple instances, if it ever happened,
would be an excellent excuse to start over and create a new API that would
be informed by the mistakes of the original API. I have little faith in
up-front design that tries to imagine what might happen in the future, but
I do believe in Brooks's admonition that you need to be prepared to throw
the initial version away.

As it happens, the original API has held up rather nicely, and I would
change relatively little if I were to start over right now. One minor
regret is that the libpd API has a few function names that don't include
verbs, a vestige of the initial rush to get stuff to work. A bigger concern
is that in virtually all use cases, it's good to have lock-free ring
buffers between the messaging functions and the audio processing callback,
for both input and output. We've been retrofitting ring buffers as needed
and that worked out okay, but it probably would have been cleaner to have
them in the core library.
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