Now what? Time for some coffee…as I mull over my next direction. My ultimate plan is to read every ounce of documentation. However, before I delve too heavily into the docs, I want to see what online resources are available online at Cycling ’74.
I checked out every link on the interesting work page, but if you really want to get a sense of the max/msp community at large and what’s possible check out the C74 Perspectives channel on youtube.
I’ll definitely want to come back and read these articles and interviews, once I have a deeper understanding of max/msp itself. For now, I think I’ll check out some more videos before returning to the help docs. It’s a chance to discover what’s new in Max 5, although I don’t even know what’s old! Of course, I’m going to continue documenting my trivial discoveries because it’s fun and keeps me motivated.
patching and workflow
Right off the bat, keyboard shortcuts. “Type n and get an object box at the current cursor position, m for message box, and so on.”. Trying out the “and so on” part:
- b for button
- c for comment
- f for flonum
- i for number
- t for toggle button
There’s a Presentation mode to which you can add objects:
Here, I’ve added 3 objects to presentation mode:
The object’s size or location in Presentation mode doesn’t have to correspond to its size or position in Edit mode:
I’m interested to see what kind of debugging capabilities max/msp has. I don’t imagine we’ll be stepping thru lines of code, but something more robust than console output would be great.
First, simple error messaging. Trying to send a “foo” string to a number input results in an error – which is correct. And our initial suspicion of the Max window being a console output is verified.
Wow. Max/msp supports watches and breakpoints, what a nice surprise. Now, let’s see if we can get a demo of watchpoints up and running. The first thing, would be to bring up the watchpoints window…
But what to do isn’t clear to me yet. Time to drop into the help docs and do a search for “watchpoints”, which turns up this promising looking result:
So, a watchpoint monitors messages being passed thru patch cords. In that case, lets attach a slider to a number and then a watch var between them.
The newly added watchpoint:
While running the patch, you can see the value traced to the window:
I’ll cover signal probes, and breakpoints later on. I’m not ready to utilize all the debugging facilities just yet, but knowing of their existence is half the battle.
Ah…integrated docs, probably the number 1 reason I chose to pickup max 5. It looks as if the integrated help system has even more functionality, starting with the Clue window.
You know, before we get into the Clue window, one of the things I hate about Mac is the mess of floating windows.
Flash CS3 has a great panel docking/flyout mechanism. I wish max/msp had something similar. Imagine it, a toolbar of objects on the left side, with zoom and pan (hand icon) tools. A maximized patcher surface, where multiple patch windows appear in tabs across the top. On the right and bottom sides, docked panels for the max window, clue window, etc.
And while I’m thinking about UI, I’ve got to say, the single worse UI design choice in max is the placement of the forward/back buttons for the help docs. Every single browser has these buttons located at the top left – it’s called spatial memory people! I always find myself instinctively moving the mouse up and to the left, before I remember, damn…it’s at the friggin bottom. </rant>
Back to the Clue window. Hovering your mouse over the item in question reveals only a title.
Only when drop into edit the object text, does a description appear.
I’m not sure if this was intended or is a bug. Either way, the Clue window doesn’t appear to be useful, we’ll see.
Clicking on the left inlet of an object reveals a reference menu. Below, I’ve clicked on the left inlet of a Number object:
The listing of attributes, messages, and actions is quite nice. Clicking on the top-most attribute bgcolor inserts a message object and connects it to the number’s inlet.
I replace the args with a red color and test it out.
The quick ref panel might be handy.
The last thing to note is given a selected object, it will then appear in the Help menu.
Until next time!