[PD] [pd META] metadata format WAS: pd 0.43 branch with the new GUI code

Hans-Christoph Steiner hans at at.or.at
Thu Aug 27 18:28:24 CEST 2009

On Aug 27, 2009, at 11:04 AM, Frank Barknecht wrote:

> Hallo,
> Hans-Christoph Steiner hat gesagt: // Hans-Christoph Steiner wrote:
>> On Aug 27, 2009, at 3:47 AM, Frank Barknecht wrote:
>>> Hallo,
>>> Hans-Christoph Steiner hat gesagt: // Hans-Christoph Steiner wrote:
>>>> How about Outlet0, etc?  Its really just a unique ID, so once  
>>>> parsed
>>>> the
>>>> tag could be displayed as whatever.
>>> Actually I think, "Outlet 0" is easier to parse with Pd: [route
>>> Outlet]-[route
>>> 0 1 2 3]. Having a separator like the ":" makes reading easier. I
>>> guess, for
>>> Pd parsing padding that with spaces would help and not hinder
>>> readability that
>>> much.
>> [route outlet0 outlet1 outlet2 outlet3]
> Okay, you got me here. :)
>> Can you give some examples of why [pd META] needs multiple-word tags?
> For terms with multiple words like "frequency modulation". I know, I  
> need them,
> believe me.

I know its not perfect, but frequencymodulation and FM work.

>> I
>> mean its nice sometimes, but there are very well established tag
>> interfaces that use space-separated tags.  Since this text is in Pd
>> patches, it should follow Pd syntax rules, since Pd users already  
>> know
>> them well, unless there is a strong reason to diverge.  With only a  
>> few
>> exceptions, the function in an object box is the first word in a
>> space-separated list.  In a message, the first word of a space- 
>> separated
>> list is the selector.
>> What's more needed is a quoting mechanism.  Space-separated tags  
>> usually
>> use "two words" quotes to join them.  But that's a bigger issue in  
>> Pd...
> Yeah, that would solve my problems as well.
> But let me repeat: Unlike "META", "REFERENCE" is meant to be  
> documentation for
> the user, so readability is more important than parsability, and  
> parsability
> outside of Pd to us is more important than parsability inside of Pd.  
> The latter
> would be a bonus, but I won't sacrifice readability for it. We're  
> already
> making concessions in that area, e.g. we have single comments for  
> all the
> messages types an inlet accepts. (See "Inlet 1" in the attachement.)  
> Pd syntax
> rules are fine, but English syntax rules where spaces separate  
> words, not
> key:value pairs, are more important here.
> I also don't like "Outlet0" of a similar reason: It's not well  
> readable,
> 0 and O look too similar etc. so the two words should be separated  
> just like
> everything else in English.

Inlet0/Outlet0 could be somewhat hard to read, but I think context  
really helps a lot there.  I could maybe see someone speaking Spanish  
or Italian expecting "inleto" or "outleto", but I can't see a reason  
why anyone would expect there to be InletO or OutletO.

OutletOne, OutletTwo, InletThree is an option, tho not very computery.

> Attached is a comparison of the possibilities we've talked about. I  
> like the
> first one best, which probably will get dashes in the Tags field as  
> a result of
> our discussion. The second one in the upper right and the third one  
> are
> okayish, but the "META"-version on the lower right to me looks like  
> it is
> written for parsers, not for humans.

[pd META] was written more for meta data, since it doesn't include  
things like inlets, outlets, etc.  But it was not so much designed to  
be easily parsed as much as easily written by Pd patchers, yet  
parsable. The non-meta is on the front page of the documentation  
rather than in a subpatch.  I like the idea of having everything  
easily parsable, including the reference text.

One thing that bugs me with [pd REFERENCE] that I find very hard to  
scan is the message types an inlet takes.  They are all bunched up  
into a single comment, making it hard to scan and even read.  The same  
goes with the Gem docs.

I think that if the PDDP template had some of the graphical elements  
stripped out and a couple of other minor adjustments, I think it could  
work quite well.  I attached my version of it from the 'apple'  
library. For example, I find big blocks of text hard to scan.  And  
most of the time when looking at a help patch, people are scanning,  
not reading.  I think the layout of the PDDP template, though more  
work for the creator, makes for very scannable and readable information.

Something to consider in parsing is the possibility of using Y  
location in the parsing.  It would require two pass parsing, since the  
file is not organized by Y position, but wouldn't be so hard to do in  
Pd or easier in string parsing languages.  This makes the front page  
format of the PDDP parsable, though getting the inlet/outlet numbers  
could be a bit tricky.  Having the IOlet number markers have  
horizontal lines would make people naturally put them above the text,  
making the parsing much easier.

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