[PD] Why I don't like the new automagic

Frank Barknecht fbar at footils.org
Tue Jan 27 12:01:24 CET 2009


what follows is a rant against the new automagic patching in 0.42 that
I tried for some time now with the result that I'm looking for a way
to switch it off completely as it makes Pd unusable for me as long as
it is enforced for every operation. 

But first some quick remarks about the latest pd-0.42.3, which I tried
from SVN today: 

It seems that the very useful feature of finishing object creation
with the Return-key has been lost? At least now I cannot use it

Now comes the rant. ;)

All the automagic has made patching very slow for me. It made it
impossible to quickly position an object with the mouse. The
"workaround" against automagic with pressing Ctl-A twice is useless in
my opinion, and it superfluous anyway as pressing Ctl-E twice had the
same effect for years as far as editing is concerned.

I think my main gripe with the new automagic in Pd is that it clashes
with the way, Pd has helped me to think about problems in the past.

I believe, that the choice of programming language is deeply connected
to the way one likes to think about and contemplate a problem. At
least that's why I always stick with the 2-dimensional Pd for
"artistic problems" that in my way of thinking naturally fit in a
2-dimensional plane-layout.  I prefer 1-dimensional text-languages for
certain other problems of the linear "do A, then B" kind.

But now the automagic has made Pd pretty one-dimensional: It tries to
enforce one-dimensional, top-to-bottom thinking, which clashes with my
preferred free-form thinking and thus feels unnatural. Instead of
helping me to think, Pd became an obstacle.

While it is true that most connections in patches go from top to
bottom connecting first in/outlets, this doesn't mean that the
connections and objects were created in this order. In fact, observing
myself (including recording my patching behaviour with
"recordmydesktop") I found that I quite often create objects
bottom-to-top. You can see me patching here:

As a simple example say I want to build a timebase with a metro and a
toggle. I always stupidly create the [metro] first, then the toggle to
switch the metro on and off. This is my way of thinking about this
problem: I think "Hey, I need some regular bangs so I make a metro"
and then "I also need something to switch it on and off". 

I do not think the other way around: "Hey, lets create a switch now."
and then "Hm, what should I switch on with that new switch? A 
metro would be fine." The automagic only fits to this second kind of
thinking but it is an obstacle to the first kind of thinking.

So now my question: Does anybody know how to get rid of the automagic
or bind it to a special keycombo like Ctl-6?

 Frank Barknecht            Do You RjDj.me?          _ ______footils.org__

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