[PD] Pd in white on black and OSC

Hans-Christoph Steiner hans at eds.org
Thu Nov 20 19:14:48 CET 2003

On Wed, 19 Nov 2003, e skogen wrote:

> > My 2 cents on PD's gui: I agree that the present gui is minimalistic, 
> > but that should maybe be seen as a plus. I would give priority to pd 
> > evolving into a full-featured audio/graphics/video processing 
> > environment, rather that striving to look cool. 
> I think it's true that Pd has always put more emphasis on technical 
> features than usability features, and has gotten very powerful very 
> quickly because of this. But when dragging simple GOP abstractions 
> across a fullscreen slows my 750 mhz machine to a crawl, it seems like a 
> technical problem just as much as a usability one.

Having a black and white GUI with simple graphics makes Pd more
usable in my opinion.  There are other issues with Pd's GUI that make it
less usable.

> To be honest, I have not looked at Pd's GUI code and I don't know if I'd 
> be able to understand it really. Perhaps there is much that can be done 
> to speed Tcl/tk up. But i'm under the impression that a replacement GUI 
> is still the way to go.

Tcl/Tk may have fallen out of favor these days, but in this situation it
works well, except for some optimization issues.  tigital is working on
porting Tcl/Tk to CoreGraphics on MacOS X, which will make a huge
difference in performance.  He's already gotten some early versions

I recommend trying out Kzrysztof's toxy objects and you'll see that Tcl
has some serious advantages.  I don't think that it would be easy to have
this level of access to the GUI if it was written with wxWindows.
> I'm wondering how this would affect externals developers, though? Would 
> new libraries be built to allow easy access to a new Pd GUI? Or would 
> they be expected to learn the new toolkit (wx or not)?

Any object that has anything beyond the standard Pd box would have to be
rewritten.  It would be a large undertaking on the part of numerous people
with only minor, if any, gains.  I think it would be much more worthwhile
to put that same effort into optimizing Tcl like tigital is.
> I suppose it's a lot easier for me to criticize and ask for software 
> changes when I have so little invested in the code!

Indeed.  No one is going to stop you from writing your own wx GUI for Pd,
in fact, a lot people might help.

> > Tcl/tl is very portable 
> > and feels responsive enough to me even on my old laptop (Pentium 133) 
> > which is not really the best system for realtime audio. I cannot say the 
> > same about wxWindows. 
> You say you cannot say the same about wxWindows. Is that because you 
> have had been results with wxWindows programs, or because you have not 
> used wxWindows before?
> -- eric
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