[PD] New deken feature, create system user folder (was how-do-i-install-externals-and-help-files page (was Re: Linux Global folder for externals)

Roman Haefeli reduzent at gmail.com
Sat Mar 4 19:54:49 CET 2017

On Sam, 2017-03-04 at 13:09 -0300, Alexandre Torres Porres wrote:
> 2017-03-04 13:00 GMT-03:00 Alexandre Torres Porres <porres at gmail.com>
> :
> > the whole discussion here seemed to be the need to create that
> > folder automatically, to make things easier for the user.
> > 
> I dont know if it's clear what a complex user experience it is to
> manage externals in Pd right now. Seems that the whole idea with
> deken and all was to make it painless, but we're not there yet.

I was troubled by the fact the Pd user was expected to have prior
knowledge of sane paths before they could successfully use Deken.
That's why I am a proponent of the creating the user specific folder
(assuming that this would be only user writable one, which is not
necessarily true, we see now). Now, things are pretty good, you can use
Deken and rely on it that it will find a good location for you. Of
course, if you want to be "smart" you can screw things up, but this
true with any software system. So I really can't share your notion that
things are complex from a user perspective. You can use Deken out of
the box now. You actually don't need to know all the complexities
behind the scenes for it to work. But I do think it is good for me and
for you that you went through the trouble of documenting all this. It's
good that _we_ know how things work. 

> Why creating such folders (like the user folder) would be better for
> the user? Cause now it's just hard because you need to create the
> folder yourself, and that requires, first of all, prior knowledge on
> how pd works internally, which might be fine for developers, but not
> to users... second, the ~/Library isn't  normally viewable in the
> finder on a Mac, so you also gotta have knowledge that it this folder
> is hidden, where it is hidden, and how to hack the system so you can
> see it... 

> Yes, this is for the Mac, but other systems have other peculiarities,
> which just unfolds and adds complexity.

On Windows >= 7 and on any Linux I know the only user writable option
is the user specific folder. I know now this is not true on Macs,
depending on what check boxes you checked in the system preferences for
the user. Does it harm? Deken still silently works, you can download
externals and then - more importantly - load them in Pd without
thinking about paths at any time. 
>  But they do have a similar logic/idea, that the user doesn't or
> shouldn't have to touch some folders, since they can be dummies who
> may screw up and compromise the system. Therefore, is it
> the Software that creates folders in such a place... but not Pd...
> and the decision to not do it was consciously made, but I still don't
> know why. 
> I have asked a few times now, I still have no answer to why there's a
> good reasoning not to do it when Pd is installed on your machine... I
> looked for previous discussion in the list, I couldn't find, any
> possibility anybody would join in and answer me please?

As far as I know, most software doesn't write any user specific stuff
at installation time. How should it know which users are going to use
the software and what happens if a user is added _after_ installation?
It totally makes sense to create any directories and/or write files
when they are actually needed. Pd doesn't need /Users/alex/Library/Pd,
so why should it create it?

> Anyway, since Pd does not create it, for some reason, we're down to
> giving that task to the deken plugin, but it's not quite there yet.
> Nonetheless, I still think the best solution is that Pd installs the
> system folders automatically when it is installed (not only the user-
> specific in ~/Library, but also the global in /Library). 
> Other features that would make things easier for the user is that if
> both deken and the "Preferences => Path" tab had easy access to the
> folders Pd automatically searches for externals (global, user and
> application). As it is, it's simply impossible to navigate to the
> user-specific folder and also to the application folder.
>  On the other hand, I can actually navigate to the system folder
> (/Library) just fine in Mac Os.
> So, as it is, the most convenient place for mac users to install
> externals is the global folder, so they can easily navigate there in
> the Path... or in the Finder to manually drop or delete folders. That
> is, if only it had been created there...
> I hope I have made it clear how complicated and still somewhat
> painful managing externals in Pd still is, and how there's much room
> por improvement! It was only when I sat down and wrote a 13 page
> tutorial on how to manage externals that I realized how hard it is,
> cause I didn't even addressed all of these issues.

It's hard if you want to do specific stuff that requires special
knowledge. I don't see how it is hard if you want to just download and
use an external. Having said that, loading stuff from libraries
correctly is still complex, more complex than necessary, in my opinion.
I wish calling the library by name would be enough, regardless of its
internal layout.


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