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

Roman Haefeli reduzierer at yahoo.de
Sat Nov 3 20:11:40 CET 2007

hi all

i like the idea of optimizing pd's appearance, although i think it's
only details, that should be improved. personally, i'd prefer boxes like


1) 1px border looks better. 2px or more looks like drawn with a clumsy
2) a border is still needed, otherwise the boxes seem to disappear and
the strong presence of connections with very light boxes looks strange
and makes it hard to follow a patch.
3) borders are grey not black in order to emphasize the text.
4) light grey filled boxes in order to better distinguish patch from

why i like in the examples from:
1) the inlets and outlets.
2) anti-aliased connections


On Sat, 2007-11-03 at 14:24 -0400, Hans-Christoph Steiner wrote:
> 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:
> http://eds.org/~hans/pdsketch/
> I'd like to see other sketches along these ideas.
> .hc
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