[PD] Help Docs: element vs. item

Hans-Christoph Steiner hans at at.or.at
Tue Aug 11 18:52:56 CEST 2009

On Aug 10, 2009, at 12:05 AM, Mathieu Bouchard wrote:

> On Sun, 9 Aug 2009, Jonathan Wilkes wrote:
>> --- On Sun, 8/9/09, Hans-Christoph Steiner <hans at at.or.at> wrote:
>>> Check the Pd Definitions wiki on http://puredata.info/dev for some  
>>> discussion on this
>>> stuff.  And please add anything there that you think
>>> should be there.
>> On the Pd Definitions wiki, they are referred to as elements, and  
>> I've
>> already changed the reference patches to reflect this.
> I wouldn't quite advocate using the PdDefinitions as they are now.  
> Much of the way people talk about pd is ambiguous, and that includes  
> Miller too. The Pd Manual itself has a fair amount of vague talk,  
> but then, the PdDefinitions page handpicks quotes in it without  
> regard to whether "the definition of float" is about float-values,  
> float-atoms, floatatom-objects, the floatatom class, the strings  
> recognised as floats, or the strings that floats are outputted as;  
> and likewise for several other
> definitions lifted from the manual.

The idea of that section of the PdDefintions wiki is to collect all  
bits of text that contribute to the definition of what  is a symbol/ 
float/atom/etc.  That's why there are many bits. If there is anything  
missing please add it.

> "atoms are either numbers or symbols" -> that's only when you look  
> at what you can write in a messagebox that can end up as-is in a  
> message. This ignore comma atoms, semicolon atoms, dollar atoms  
> ($1), dollsym atoms ($1-blah), and pointer atoms (which can't be  
> produced by the parser).

Well, this defintion comes from the "object boxes" section, not  
message boxes or messages.  There is no discussion of messages in the  
section where that is defined.  But that's a minor detail.


> "There are two atom boxes, floatatom and symbolatom" -> this is  
> irrelevant to the definition of an atom, of a float, or of a symbol,  
> in that you could make patches without ever using any atomboxes and  
> you could still see all the characteristics of float values and  
> symbol values shine through.

> "Anything that is not a valid number is considered a symbol." ->  
> this is only in the context of parsing, and only once the commas and  
> semicolons are dealt with.
> "The selector is a symbol, which appears in the patch as a non- 
> numeric string with no white space, semicolons, or commas." -> the  
> manual doesn't take into account any weird thing you can do in Pd,  
> even with pure pd, and even without hand-editing any .pd files. E.g.  
> this patch:
> #N canvas 0 0 450 300 10;
> #X obj 12 31 makefilename %d;
> #X msg 12 13 123;
> #X msg 12 67;
> #X msg 12 49 set \$1 \, bang;
> #X obj 12 85 f;
> #X connect 0 0 3 0;
> #X connect 1 0 0 0;
> #X connect 2 0 4 0;
> #X connect 3 0 2 0;
> ends up saying:
>  no method for '123'
> but "no method for" errors always state the selector, and here, 123  
> is a selector, which is a symbol, but is printed in a way that makes  
> it look like a float.
>> Because of the way they are laid out, I don't think there is any  
>> ambiguity between first element and selector in the help patches (I  
>> don't think "selector" is used in any of them, but I'll check and  
>> make sure).
> Selector ought to be used to talk about all those so-called "meta- 
> messages", not only because the Pd Manual does, but also because the  
> manuals of several other programming languages call that same thing  
> by the same name. It's not like selectors are a weird thing from  
> outerspace that got stuck into Pd for no reason (even though some  
> facts about Pd's selectors are a bit weird).
> _ _ __ ___ _____ ________ _____________ _____________________ ...
> | Mathieu Bouchard - tél:+1.514.383.3801, Montréal, Québec


Information wants to be free.    -Stewart Brand

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