[PD] changing the look of Pd to be more readable

Hans-Christoph Steiner hans at eds.org
Sat Nov 3 19:24:59 CET 2007

I think there is a lot that could be done to the look and feel of Pd  
that would make it much more efficient and usable.  I think it is  
crucial to avoid flashiness, one of Pd's strengths is its lack of  
flashiness (no segmented patch cords! ;)  But small things can make a  
big difference.

For example, I think the inlet you're about to drop a connection onto  
should highlight itself, that would make life a lot easier.  You can  
just drag to the middle of the box to connect to and see which inlet  
is selected instead of having to aim for the tiny inlet.

Another thing is having the inlets and outlets look slightly  
different based on whether they are audio, message, or both.

Another thing would be to automatically shape a cord when it is used  
to feedback to the top of a patch.  This is the only time when I  
think that segmented patch cords are useful.

Some of these ideas already exist, maybe in DesireData, maybe in Max/ 
MSP, maybe jMax, wherever.  I'd like to try to come up with a  
coherent idea of the whole look.  Another thing is choosing the line  
colors, weights, shapes, etc.

I've been thinking a bit of how to make a patch more readable.   
Color, shape, and weight should be used to highlight what is  
important in the patch.  I think that the shapes of the object box  
vs. the message vs. the atom box are a nice feature.  I think that  
having them drawn in sharp, black lines draws too much attention to  
the boxes themselves, rather than the text, which is more important.

Here are a couple of quick sketches I did, while talking with Roman,  
vade, and others:


I'd like to see other sketches along these ideas.



Mistrust authority - promote decentralization.  - the hacker ethic

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