[PD] better tabread4~

Mathieu Bouchard matju at artengine.ca
Mon Jun 23 22:21:20 CEST 2008

On Mon, 23 Jun 2008, Hans-Christoph Steiner wrote:

> This compactness only really helps speed up the typing of code.  It 
> hinders the reading of code and the learning of code.  Plus it means 
> that us mere mortals, who cannot remember what "c" in [tabread4c~] 
> means, it means we have to constantly ride the reference pages rather 
> than just writing code. Trading all this for typing a few less 
> keystrokes seems to me a very bad deal.  Apparently, people who use 
> Smalltalk, Java, Python, Ruby, Obj-C and even sometimes C++ seem to 
> agree.

The difference being that in other languages you can use word wrap. In Pd 
you can't do the moral equivalent of word wrap across objects, or else you 
weird up the positions of the wires. Pd users spend more time on layout 
than other programmers, even more than those who like to argue about where 
they put the braces. There are more things to consider and worry about 
when doing Pd layout than C++ layout.

Also, object contents are written horizontally AND people are much used to 
hate horizontal scrollbars... such a combination reduces the ability to 
manoeuvre, compared to a system in which aspect ratio of components is 
more like 1:1 (squares, circles). Elongated objects are harder to organise 
in a way where they don't conflict with each other (as in the game of 

The interaction of object width with inlets and outlets is also bad... 
wide objects may require more vertical spacing, to avoid nearly-horizontal 
patchcords in many cases, and contrary to the problem of objects too 
narrow, you never can make an object narrower by forcing the word-wrap of 
inside a box. Newlines, tabs and other whitespace are not saved, contrary 
to all languages that you listed above.

Being faced with lack of options in making nice patch layout, causes 
people to tend to value shorter names in Pd than in other languages.

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| Mathieu Bouchard - tél:+1.514.383.3801, Montréal, Québec

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