[PD] gui development (was puredata evolution)

Damian Stewart damian at frey.co.nz
Mon May 28 19:52:13 CEST 2007

Kevin McCoy wrote:
> The gui needs work - do you mean we need more/better looking gui 
> objects?  When I was working on OS X, I couldn't really use very many 
> gui objects at once because of Apple's crappy closed implementation of 
> tcl/tk; the lag was terrible.  Pd devs can't really do anything about 
> that (though it is a huge problem).  A significant portion of pd users 
> are on OS X.

I have used pd on Windows, OSX, and Linux, and in all cases the tcl/tk 
performance was about equivalent: good enough (I certainly don't notice any 
lag issues with OSX), but it started to break down once there were too many 
objects on screen.

I understand this is a problem with tcl/tk. As I understand it, tcl/tk is 
basically a semi-scripted programming language in itself, with a gazillion 
features that pd neither uses nor needs to use. It would be dead-easy to 
re-implement the current GUI in C or C++ using a cross-platform low-level 
graphics library, which would not only give us enormous visualisation 
capability, but I think is necessary to support any more advanced GUI 
development, since tcl/tk already slows down too much if there are a lot of 
lines or objects on-screen. This would also give us real-time 
data-structure visualisation as well, which would be *great*.

Indeed this is a project I'd like to take on, but I can't penetrate the GUI 
code, can't figure out where anything hooks in to anything. Anyone care to 
give me some pointers?

> Pd's gui definitely does need work, but without a clear roadmap it will 
> be hard to say what priority that is, right?  Watching that google talk 
> has me thinking about all kinds of things.

The GUI doesn't need to have a particular priority relative to any other 
parts, surely; GUI development and core development can occur in parallel; 
this would also have the nice side-effect of enforcing looser coupling 
between the GUI and the engine.

damian stewart | +44 7854 493 796 | damian at frey.co.nz
frey | live art with machines | http://www.frey.co.nz

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