[PD] external viewers for additional file types ?

Pete Redest postal759 at hotmail.com
Sat Mar 17 05:05:24 CET 2007

I am sure I replied to this, but the msg apparently got lost in cyberspace 

Anyways, here it goes again.

Indeed, it should be easy to check both the file "type" a-la-Windows,
and have PD open only .pd files, after validating some "magic" prefix.
This implies also to not to have a default handler (PD is the default
right now, which is bad news).

As per the need of additional handlers, it is not a necessity indeed.
It is more a matter of completeness and consistency, and I (we?)
being a pedantic perfectionist, like to see these attributes in any
software piece, in particular PD+Gem which are a magnificent display
of the power of open source and community development, supplementing
the good work and generosity of Miller Puckette, yours, and the other
folks that contributed to this project.

The Help Browser, or any browser for that matter, if it lists an item,
it better know what to do with it. Listing a "PDF" and not doing anything
with it does not sound (I dare to say plainly: it is *not*) right. To fix
this, we can skip it from the listing, leading to incompleteness, and
effectively hiding parts (important parts, indeed, e.g. your Gem
document) of the generic "Help" system. Anything that is documentation
of PD is helpful, so that excluding something does not sound like a
very good idea.

In addition, excluding PDF while including HTML (the "fixed"situation,
assuming the PDFs are skipped because they get passed to PD for
processing right now) is plainly inconsistent. Here is a quiz:

The PDF format is a commonly used markup format for presentation
of documents, for which there is full published documentation and for
which there are plenty of free and legal readers.

The HTML format  is a commonly used markup format for presentation
of documents, for which there is full published documentation and for
which there are plenty of free and legal readers.

PDF is used to document some components in PD.
HTML is used to document some components in PD.

Quiz: what grants to HTML the status of "included" in the browser
and denies that same status to PDF?

I had a hard time trying to find an answer to that question, and didn't
find a satisfactory one, (satisfactory *to me*, of course). The only
ones that came to mind were like "I feel that ....". IMO "feelings" in
this business have a limited role. And if I have to invoke feelings,
I "felt" surprised and disappointed that had to find manually othe
progs to open various docs, movie, sound files. Truly annoying.

Further, being so easy to put together a script that will include
the current file types that appear under the various directories
visited by the browser, it seems rather arbitrary not to include
them because it is not necessary to include them. And indeed,
necessary it is not: PD and Gem can work without this. However,
the users, to access a PDF or to view the Gem demo movie,
need to go somewhere else, launch an app, navigate, .... and
FINALLY!! see the desired document/file. I, naturally, ask
an honest question: WHY?.

Anyways, I can fix the current situation of mishandling unknown
formats by adding sanity checks. At the same time I would add
an invocation to an external script, if it exists in the PATH, in
a way that is OS-independent. If it doesn't exist, nothing has
happened, if it does, it can launch a user-defined app. We could
provide some succint initial version of it, in the spirit of my
initial post(s).

Best regards,

>From: IOhannes m zmoelnig <zmoelnig at iem.at>
>To: Pete Redest <postal759 at hotmail.com>
>CC: pd-list at iem.at
>Subject: Re: [PD] external viewers for additional file types ?
>Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2007 09:09:29 +0100
>Pete Redest wrote:
> >
> > Probably the easiest would be to launch an external script that
> > incorporates the added "viewer" table lookup or something like
> > that. Or add the table lookup right into u_main.tk. I don't know
> > much Tcl/Tk so ... will see. Will get to it sometime soon.
>hmm, probably the easiest way would be to not open unkwown files at all.
>(i don't see a real necessity to open a pdf from within pd; i don't
>think that it would be a very good idea to make pd just another
>however, pd _should_ definitely check whether the file it wants to load
>as a patch is really a patch, e.g. by reading the first few bytes.
>if there is "#N canvas", then it is _rather_ save to open the file; if
>it is something else ("%PDF-1.4") pd should just refuse.

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