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

Mathieu Bouchard matju at artengine.ca
Wed Jan 28 21:50:24 CET 2009

On Tue, 27 Jan 2009, Hans-Christoph Steiner wrote:

> I think there is a ton of potential to the ideas in desiredata and 
> things like the new editing tricks in pd-vanilla 0.42.  But they also 
> have the large potential to cause harm to peoples' workflow.

In desiredata, the workflow is almost completely backwards-compatible and 
pretty much everything new is made of new keyboard shortcuts that don't 
exist in pd. It should be noted that the new automagic is Miller's 
innovation whereas desiredata put this feature on Ctrl+6 as a proof of 

> This is a central reason why I am involved in rewriting the GUI from 
> scratch for pd-devel.  I want to make Pd's GUI easy to modify and 
> extend.

The GUI is not solely u_main.tk ... even after removing t_tkcmd.c. Plenty 
of C code is part of the GUI... look at most of the sys_vgui commands: 
they don't let the client figure out things on its own; they make 
decisions about the appearance. After all, the g_*.c files are not called 
"g" for nothing: the "g" stands for graphical or gui.

And the problem with rewriting anything from scratch is that the bigger it 
is, the longer it is before you have something working properly again, and 
it's even worse when there's not even a list of features that can tell you 
what has to be still supported and what's just an artifact of how it's 
implemented. Pd users have come to depend on the strangest of features. I 
always thought that gui objects could be made opaque, but in the end, I 
can't even do that without breaking someone's patches, and then, I can't 
even change the priority of those gui objects: the object behind has to be 
the one receiving the clicks! if I change that, it also breaks someone's 
patches. This is just two examples out of 666.

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

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