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Future plans. All-in-One application?

Posted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 6:00 pm
by jiho
Hi all, Hi Stephen,

This is my first post to the forum so I start by thanking Stephen for the great work on Max (which I use extensively) and on other Audio apps (that I tested a bit). Everything works fine, gives very good results and does what I want to do.

I was wondering where the (rapid!) developement of Max and what I would call its "companion" apps was heading. Does stephen want to keep them separated? Are they separated now for ease of developement (progres is probably easier on three small apps that on a bigger one)? How do users would like to see them evolve?

I, for one, would really like to see all these apps nicely wrapped under a unique interface, monolithic (i.e. one window) as much as possible. This would create a complete alternative to iTunes, which s*** when it comes to encoding and is not really good at playing these nice open source formats Max can rip.
In fact the only thing that annoys me a bit in Max et al. is the user interface which tends to be a bit all over the place. Many small windows give a "feature-rich" impression (which max does not need: it IS feature-rich) but are usually less usable than a one-window interface. If some of you use graphic apps sometimes, compare the usability of Adobe Illustrator (many small windows all over the place) and of Inkscape (monolilthic interface).
I realize that this will require some work on the interface while focus now seems to be on features, I also realize that this is probably long-term developement plans but I was interested in hearing about this at this stage.

Thank you again.

Posted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 3:25 am
by sbooth
Combining Max and Tag is an idea I have toyed with from time to time, as is writing a player since much of the needed code infrastructure is there. The thought of integrating all three had occurred to me but I always assumed that a step like that would be something rewritten from scratch, reusing code where I could and applying the lessons learned from Max. I suppose that Max has matured enough as a piece of software that usability is becoming a focus whereas in the past the focus was purely on adding features. I still have a few "big-ticket" items I want to add before I start focusing on refinement too much, though. I will start a new thread in this forum concerning new features to solicit some input.

Posted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 7:24 am
by krmathis
I prefer they stay as separate applications, specialized for their limited task.
That way you keep the interface clean, and the users (in this case me) don't feel they have a 'bloated' application. With lots of features the might not use...

Instead of developing a new audio player, why not write a CoreAudio plugin?
That way you can play all your FLAC, WavPack, etc. files in any application that access CoreAudio. Such as iTunes and QuickTime Player.
Dibrom ( founder) planned to do this as part of his Euphonos project. But the development seem to have stopped.

I can only speak for myself, but I don't see me switching from iTunes. At least not until we get a 3rd. party player with AirTunes support.

I would also very much like to see an ABX application for Mac OS X. Which I think would be a nice addition to your current line of audio applications. With an ABX application the users could perform an ABX test to help them pick an audio codec and bitrate which is transparent to their ears (for lossy encoding of cource).

Any comments? :wink:


Posted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 8:01 am
by jiho
thank you for the enlightening answers. I guess the interface refinements will come after the "big-tickets" and other feature requests, which is natural. When it comes to that it seems that the interface type is a question of point of view. Personaly I do not find the interface of max and others currently very "clean" as krmathis points out (tought they are really decent, don't misunderstand me :wink:). Maybe the next thread you'll want to post after the feature prioritarization and the one with th poll for multiwindows dialog is a call for interface ideas (mockups, text summaries and soon). I'll be interested in discussing these issues as I do for Inkscape. I think I am not to bad when it comes to human interface usability.
Meanwhile, keep up the good work. Max's great!