[PD] Doc/tutorial thoughts from Max/MSP switcher/newbie (long)

J. Simon van der Walt tedthetrumpet at gmail.com
Fri Apr 3 10:13:35 CEST 2009

Seems there's a lot of activity around docs and tutorials in this community
at the moment. It's great for someone like me, giving Pd another try after a
couple of years of using Max/MSP. Since I last looked at it, things are much
improved. Pd-extended is great; all the libraries I'll probably/maybe need
are packaged away in a .app where I can just forget about them. This is
market leading as far as I'm concerned; much better than Max/MSP (or heaven
forbid, SuperCollider!) - for me as a musician/geek (but not a programmer)
the whole business of trying to figure out which stupid folder some bunch of
stupid files has to be dropped into just - gets - really - boring.

On the docs and tutorials front, again I'm finding a lot of great stuff.
However... just at the moment I'm trying to port one of my favourite max
patches to Pd and finding it unexpectedly difficult to find the information
I need. I find I'm missing three really useful things in Max/MSP; in order
of importance, probably, consistent 'related object' buttons in the help
patches, the Object Thesaurus, and a complete reference manual.

Ok, there are 'related object' buttons in many help files, but for some
reason I can't quite put my finger on, I frequently find myself dead-ended
in Pd, and not sure where to look for an object which might just do what I

This is where an Object Thesaurus would be really great, being able to look
up objects (including those from extended libraries) by what-they-do
category. For instance, the other day I was looking to see if there was
something like the Max/MSP matrix~ and matrixctrl for audio routing. I
couldn't really see where to start, other than trawling randomly through
help files and tutorials in the hope of spotting something relevant.
http://en.flossmanuals.net/PureData/ListofObjects is a good start in this
direction (although that page is formatting oddly for me at the moment?)

Finally, of course, a complete reference page on every object...

nb 1 - of course, for matrix~ I ended up using, er, matrix~ from the cyclone
library. Still wondering if there is another way, rather than just falling
back on Max/MSP solutions...

nb 2 - hope this post comes across as useful feedback from a newish user,
not carping...

J. Simon van der Walt    -----     Composer

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