Subject: MAX Digest - 21 Dec 1997 to 22 Dec 1997
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 00:01:29 -0500
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Reply-To: MAX - interactive music/multimedia standard environments
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There are 2 messages totalling 91 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

  1. Handling MSP
  2. perspective


Date:    Mon, 22 Dec 1997 14:05:01 -0500
From:    Tommy DOG 
Subject: Handling MSP

Dear Uncle Max,
I was going to address this topic to David Zicarelli via E-mail but I think
it may be worth-while to bring up here since it relates to archiving issues
as well as this list.
As I was backing things up on my Zip drive it occurred to me that in
organizing my library of Max patches that MSP objects might need to be kept
in their own directory. I don't know how many people will update their
copies of Max with MSP but I suspect a lot will, this brings up the
question of whether MSP will be treated differently or addressed as a
some-what separate entity.  Though it is not a stand-alone application it
is a much greater dividing line in terms of compatibility and that should
be taken into consideration when one uploads to the various archiving
I am aware that there are a large number of people using older machines and
older versions of Max and it is important that we try to insure some sort
of organization in terms of compatibility. I think that a discussion on
whether or not to add a MSP section to those ftp sites to go along with the
FAT/PPC and 68k folders is relevant to this group.
I don't need to ask whether or not there are any opinions on this subject,
as we all know that in this group those opinions are not things kept secret.


Date:    Mon, 22 Dec 1997 13:29:06 -0800
From:    Peter Elsea 
Subject: perspective

Well, 5 years and 3 versions later we can be content that we were on the
right side of the argument. Of course, most of the points raised were straw
men, comparing Max to things it was never intended to be.

Parallel processing? Object Oriented? Well, Max has objects (so does my
living room) but the claim that Max was OOP was never made in my hearing.
When you get into writing externals, you will find encapsulation, public
and private methods, and polymorphism if you want it, but there's no
inheritance, and little need for it. We do have code cloning, since we
share source files, and that works well enough. After all, the actual
operation inside most objects is pretty simple.

(For non- programmers, Object Oriented Programming is a system that allows
someone to write a chunk of program code, called a class, and someone else
to write another class that includes the features of the first class
without knowing how it works. Furthermore, if the first chap changes
something, that change will propagate down into all later versions. OOP is
most useful for huge programs that are written by teams.)

If you must compare Max to something, try application frameworks, like
PowerPlant. An application framework gives you the features all programs
need, such as keyboard input and graphics display. Options available might
be support for database management, or in the case of Max, MIDI input and
output. Max is the best AF for music around, but I wouldn't want to write a
database in it. (Well I did once, but that's another story.)

Not Musical? That's like saying a blank canvas is not artistic. You can
include any type of musical structure you want, that's the point.

The timing complaints were the most valid, and I daresay things are not yet
perfect, but at least the weirdnesses are predictable and consistent now.

Poor in its use of graphics? Well, most of us have come through the icon
madness of the early 90s with a renewed sense of respect for printed
labels. My favorite feature of 3.5 is that the names of the objects on the
interface menu are now shown as you browse across them.

Scalability? Well yes, it is difficult to write large programs in Max, but
the problem with other environments is that it is difficult to write small
programs. We forget this after the fact, but it takes about a year's study
of C or Lisp to able to write the equivalent of notein->noteout.

Data Types? I guess they meant structures, and they were right. That's part
of what I tried to address in the Lobjects, with, I think, a certain amount
of success. Typing is primarily helpful as a way of making self documenting
code. Everything boils down to ints, floats, symbols and lists in the end.
(But David, I would dearly love a real char.)

Of course it's all transitory. Five years from now, we'll all be using PD
or common music and talking about how quaint (but fun) Max used to be.

Peter Elsea
Electronic Music Studios
University of California, Santa Cruz


End of MAX Digest - 21 Dec 1997 to 22 Dec 1997