[PD] How's Pd limited?

Eugene Lazarchik evgenius.lazarchik at gmail.com
Mon Feb 22 10:19:48 CET 2016

Where do I start?

* Dynamic patching is officially not supported and bug/feature requests get
ignored. I had to jump through a lot of hoops to use dynamic patching with
GOP but I discovered a bunch of weird issues with subpatches not getting
redrawn and connectors left hanging after object deletion. Had to build
ugly hacks/workarounds since nobody's gonna fix the issues in PD. Sending
loadbangs to dynamically created objects is a pain, as well as trying to
dynamically connect them to something (most examples of using the "connect"
message use hardcoded object ID's).
* Support for lists is quite limited. Wanna create a multidimentional
array? Build your own. Want a hash map? Build your own. Luckily there's
list-abs but it's weird that such basic functionality (that's present in
most programming languages) is not a core language feature.
* Sends and receives are global which creates a potential for conflicts. $0
can be used to avoid that but it looks ugly and many libraries, patches,
and I think even help files, don't use it.
* Help files are *.pd which sounds neat at first, until you realize that
they're not easily searchable and can't be viewed online.
* Bugs and weird behavior when handling special characters. There's no
consistent way of escaping them. Sometimes characters disappear when saving
and loading a patch.
* Limited support for comments. Special characters are not allowed (really?
these are comments!). Automatic line wrapping doesn't work well since after
saving/loading a patch often changes how text is broken into lines. So I
have to put each line as a separate comment.
* Dependence on font sizes. By default object boxes scale automatically
depending on the text inside. When you add more text, all inlets/outlets
move. I installed a different version of PD and font size is slightly
different and all objects are of a different size now.* Want to add an
outlet to the beginning of a trigger object? Enjoy disconnecting and
connecting all other outlets since there's no way of automatically move
* Want to print all messages flowing through a connection for debugging
purposes? Remove the connection, then create a [t a a] object, then create
a [print] object, then connect [print] to the second outlet, then connect
[t a a] to the previous and next object (If you don't use the [trigger],
messages will only be printed after they flow through the whole system).
After you're done, delete the objects and re-create the connection. Not
very convenient for quick debugging.
* Vanilla provides only minimal functionality while most of the convenient
objects are supposed to come from external libraries. There's multiple
issues with that. First one is that libraries are less standardized and
consistent. They have different approaches, sometimes duplicate each other,
use different conventions for naming, inlets/outlets, etc. Second issue is
that libraries often become dead/unmaintained.
* Big patches/abstractions become unreadable really fast. Connectors are
always straight lines and there's no support for dummy intermediate
"points" for connecting stuff. I use [t a] and [+~] for these purposes but
it'd be nice to have native support for this.
* Standard GUI objects are ugly and have limited functionality.
* There's no good support for the concept of functions/procedures. Let's
say we need to take some input, do some transformations and produce output,
and we need to do that in multiple places in our patch. We can copy the
objects but that will make the patch use more memory and there will be no
code reuse. Another way is to make that an abstraction, but it's silly to
make abstractions for every little thing that we need in 2 places. Also,
instantiating 2 abstractions still uses more memory. We can try reusing the
same code but we'll have to make multiple output connections so we'll need
proper routing in order to figure out where to send the result. I made an
abstraction to simplify that but this should be a standard feature of PD.
* *.pd format is not very friendly to Git. Try viewing diffs and resolving
merge conflicts. Moving a subpatch on the screen causes different
coordinates to be saved in the file, often resulting in conflicts. Cutting
and pasting renumbers all objects and connections. This makes using
branches and working on the same files impractical.
* PD seems to be maintained by only a handful of people and new
features/bug fixes are rarely released. I used to code in C and was
thinking of contributing but I found no good guide for new contributors. I
wasn't even able to compile PD on my Mac (there's multiple build scripts in
the sources but none of them work). I'm also not sure what the testing
process should be (to make sure I'm not breaking any existing functionality
or support for operating systems or devices).
* PD community uses mailing lists for communications, haha. In order to
find useful information I have to view one message per page, with tons of
distracting quotes from previous messages.

These are just the first things that came to my mind...

On Sun, Feb 21, 2016 at 6:30 PM, Niklas Reppel <nik at parkellipsen.de> wrote:

> Hmm, i always thought that the dynamic creation and destruction of sound
> sources (oscillators etc.) pretty inconvenient in PD,
> compared to a source-code based approach.
> Maybe i missed some developments here, but the last time i checked (a year
> ago maybe), this was clearly quite
> a hassle, even though i know it's possible.
> On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 03:49:43AM +0200, Matti Viljamaa wrote:
> > Perhaps a bit of broad question, but I find it interesting in order to
> speculate about future additions.
> >
> > How do you think Pure Data is limited?
> > _______________________________________________
> > Pd-list at lists.iem.at mailing list
> > UNSUBSCRIBE and account-management ->
> http://lists.puredata.info/listinfo/pd-list
> _______________________________________________
> Pd-list at lists.iem.at mailing list
> UNSUBSCRIBE and account-management ->
> http://lists.puredata.info/listinfo/pd-list
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.puredata.info/pipermail/pd-list/attachments/20160222/ec30a009/attachment.html>

More information about the Pd-list mailing list