[PD] UI developer volunteering to help

cdr _ at whats-your.name
Sun May 4 05:37:48 CEST 2008

On Sat May 03, 2008 at 11:06:04AM -0700, David Golightly wrote:
> Hey folks,
> My interest (at first) would not be to add anything or enhance the
> appearance of things; I'm more interested in helping to improve the PD
> workflow by making PD easier to use.
> Something like an optional "snap to grid" feature for instance would be nice
> for auto-aligning and cleaning up patches.  While I understand the argument
> that bending patch cords increases the visual noise of a patch, it's already
> noisy when patch cords cross at acute angles or when the data flows from
> bottom to top (which is necessary to do many things in PD).  Perhaps
> creating some logic to bend patch cords at right angles only, tracing the
> aforementioned grid?  I won't have time to work on this at first though, so
> it's worth thinking about for a while.
> I agree that the startup paths dialog needs a lot of help - when you run
> PD-extended it's already full of paths for externals, leaving you nowhere to
> put your own paths!
> I get really annoyed that there's no way to bulk-edit GUI elements
> (vsliders, etc.).  For instance, if you draw a whole bunch of vsliders, then
> realize that you forgot to set "no init" to "init", you have to manually
> open each one and click the button.  To make matters worse, they tile
> automatically, so after a number of the vslider properties dialogs have been
> open, the buttons to close the dialog are below the bottom of the screen!
> I would also really like it if you could do all of your basic patching in PD
> without using the mouse.  Perhaps some key bindings like (in edit mode):
> <tab> to select an object, cycling through the objects/messages in the
> current patch (<shift-tab> to reverse)
> <enter> to type in the selected object/message
> <shift-arrow> to select one of the selected object's outlets
> <space> to create a new patch cord
> <tab> to cycle through the rest of the objects on the page (<shift-tab> to
> reverse, or <esc> to cancel the operation)
> also, when typing in an object or message, pressing <esc> should "blur"
> (deselect) the object/message, restoring its previous value ("cancel");
> <tab> should select the next object for editing, and <shift-enter> should
> "blur" the object, setting its value to what you just typed.
> Does PD currently have any key bindings guidelines?  I'd be interested in
> finding out what's already taken (though none of the combinations I
> mentioned above appear to be currently in use).
> What do you all think about this?  I'm starting to dive into the tk, it
> looks like however almost all of the GUI is in pd/src/u_main.tk, which at
> around 4300 lines is substantially larger than any of the C src files.  It
> would be nice if we could organize this a little better by breaking up the
> large source file into smaller, more module files, though I haven't yet
> investigated how much work that would be, and anyways we can live with the
> current organization if it's too much trouble.
> So, I'm interested in starting with fixing some of the messy dialogs, then
> working toward getting a mouse-less edit mode.

youve been around long enough to know that DesireData exists, right?

it has everything you described, at least in some imperfect state

> -David
> On Sat, May 3, 2008 at 10:05 AM, Dan Wilcox <danomatika at gmail.com> wrote:
> >  When I see stuff like fancy icons etc, I'm always a bit afraid that those
> > of us on low res machines (1024x768 in my case) would get really screwed in
> > the end as one cool, large, fancy, chromey module would take up half the
> > screen!  IMO tiny pd boxes are always better as they save space and increase
> > whitespace, increasing readability ... and a well named abstraction is more
> > powerful then loads of graphics.  Those signal inlet, outlet signs in
> > SynthMaker are annoyingly large too, whereas in PD a thicker line is
> > completely obvious enough.
> >
> > I guess it all comes down to who PD is aimed at ... people who need a
> > fancy interface or people who want to get some work done. (ohhh I went
> > there!)
> >
> > What I would like would be a unified set of common interface elements as
> > already suggested.  A better [knob] would be nice for instance
> >
> > 2 bits
> >
> >
> > On Sat, 2008-05-03 at 12:21 +0200, Frank Barknecht wrote:
> >
> > Hallo,
> > Langsam Wieder hat gesagt: // Langsam Wieder wrote:
> >
> > > if you want to collect some ideas how a real usable and pretty
> > > interface for a modular environment could look like, have a look at
> > > http://synthmaker.co.uk/about.html
> > > it's got bendable links... you never have to leave edit mode... and
> > > have a look at how ALL interface elements as bitmap & vector knobs,
> > > sliders or wavedraw display consist of modules themselve.
> > > the environment is off course not as powerful as pd, but the interface
> > > is just a joy to work with.
> >
> > I've never worked with that, however I'm always irritated, when
> > patching environments have their cord connections flow left to right
> > instead of top to bottom. IMO that's such a waste of space in
> > languages, that are written horizontally. If you look at the "Midi to
> > Poly" object here: http://synthmaker.co.uk/images/components%20L.png
> > you'll see that most of it is just an empty grey rectangle, whose
> > width is just there to make room for the object name. If the
> > in/outlets were top and bottom as in Pd and Max, the box could be much
> > smaller without losing any information.
> >
> > Of course if objects are just icons instead of works, left-to-right
> > can work, but as Matju once said: "a word says more than a thousand
> > pictures" - icons are very limited. No wonder, SynthMaker also
> > includes a (quite nice) text editor for dsp code.
> >
> > Ciao
> >
> >   ---
> > Dan Wilcox
> > robotcowboy.com <http://www.robotcowboy.com>
> >
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> >
> >

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