SM Workspace - the next generation.

Suggest new features, components or other changes to the software

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SM Workspace - the next generation.

Postby trogluddite on Sat Jul 23, 2011 5:01 pm

Following RRsounds thread asking advice on 'project management', documenting and de-bugging schematics, I thought I'd put up this list of suggestions for improvement to the workspace for people to comment on and add their own ideas. Some have already been suggested here before, but I thought it would be nice to collect them all together in one place.

Much as we all like to see new modules/features etc., it has often struck me that the lack of tools for de-bugging and documenting large schematics is often my biggest frustration with SM - it can just eat up so much time trying to hunt down the sources of problems, especially when returning to a months old schematic. So here is my toplist of programmer-friendly features that I'd like to see...

- A proper undo history panel - preferably with the ability to store multiple time-stamped 'branches', plus named and annotated 'snapshots' (similar to Photoshop) that are stored as complete .osm files.
- Schematic searching - for module names, connector names and types (especially wireless!!), text/string box contents, date/time that a module was last edited, etc.
- File save with automatic version number increment.
- A simple way to locate synchronised modules.
- A 'bookmark' system for quick jumping to the most important modules in a schematic.
- A searchable module 'Tag' system - maybe just a quick of assigning a colour or icon to a module. e.g. Red = this one has a bug!
- Docking/floating de-bug window - assign any link to this window to be able to see the value that it's carrying regardless of where you are in the schematic. Could also have trigger counters for any green links in the window. I've always hated having to jump around the schematic to see whether values have changed.
- Hover over a connector and see a pop-up showing the value there.
- Multiple view windows into the same schematic (saved with the .osm file) - you could then tinker inside a module while still being able to interact with the plugin's GUI.
- 'Show Changes' mode - all links begin with their regular colours, then change colour if the value carried gets changed, or a trigger is passed. Would be very handy for trigger reduction tasks.
- Code/ASM debugger - open a window containing a dynamic list of variable values for the highlighted module.
- Properly organisable toolbox with sub-folders etc. and the ability to customise the default folders - and a search feature that actually works properly!!
- User-definable keyboard shortcuts for all menu/context functions.
Last edited by trogluddite on Sat Jul 23, 2011 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Feel free to use any schematics and algorithms I post on the forum in your own designs - a credit is appreciated (but not a requirement).
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Re: SM Workspace - the next generation.

Postby stw on Sat Jul 23, 2011 5:42 pm

A list of very helpful ideas trog! That would lead SM much closer to a complete programming environment!
I fear we will never see any of these. How long do we ask for (IMHO one of the most important feature on that list) a search feature for wireless links?
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Re: SM Workspace - the next generation.

Postby trogluddite on Sat Jul 23, 2011 5:57 pm

stw wrote:How long do we ask for...

Part of the problem there seems to be that the developers are simply not active on the forum, except to post updates.
I thought I might collect up the contents of this thread in a week or two and contact Malc directly by e-mail.
I think that one very important point to stress is that, unlike 'DSP'/VST related suggestions, all of these ideas would be an absolute boon to users of FlowStone, as that software is specifically aimed at the embedded programming market - unlike the (mainly) hobbyist bias of the SM user-base, those are precisely the people for whom these features are needed if FlowStone is ever to compete with the likes of LabView etc.
Of course, this all depends on Malc's workload etc. - but he has been responsive in the past; for example, the cheap upgrade to SM2 for the 'old faithfuls' came about after it was proposed by user e-mails pointing out the business case for encouraging SM users to provide a knowledge base that FlowStone customers could learn from.
Feel free to use any schematics and algorithms I post on the forum in your own designs - a credit is appreciated (but not a requirement).
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Re: SM Workspace - the next generation.

Postby infuzion on Sun Jul 24, 2011 4:08 am

Nice ideas, but honestly without 64bit audio & VSTs, it is becoming more pointless to develop on SM. & lack of OSX & now iOS I'm losing 60%+ of my audience.
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Re: SM Workspace - the next generation.

Postby trogluddite on Sun Jul 24, 2011 9:12 am

Yes, I have no argument with you there - SM has rapidly been becoming a dead duck for commercial plugin development.

Although it's a long shot, my thinking is along these lines...

-The big changes that we'd all love to see are hampered by SM being such a small outfit - without the resources of a bigger programming team etc. OutSim will always struggle to get out of the current 'tweaking the periphery' rut.
- Employing more programmers etc. requires the money to pay them.
- Money to pay extra staff comes from selling more licenses (for Flowstone too, remember).
- Therefore any enhancements, however tangential to our bigger needs, and especially if they attract extra users to both SM and FlowStone, make it a little more likely that OutSim will eventually have the resources to do the things that we all recognise are needed to make SM a real plugin developer's nirvana.

Hence my emphasis on how much the suggestions above would also enhance FlowStone. Embedded systems are a huge market compared to VST programming, and all of the engineers in that field that I have spoken to use LabView/Visual Basic under duress - none of them really seems to like those programs, they use them because they are the only options available. That makes for a much more solid business case for investment in OutSim/DSProbotic's future than merely trying to please a few VST developers operating in an already saturated market-place.
In a roundabout way, SM would surely still benefit though - it could have been killed off when FlowStone was released, so Malc does seem genuinely keen to keep his 'first baby' alive and kicking - but naturally he has to concentrate his limited resources on whatever is most likely to keep food on his table.
Feel free to use any schematics and algorithms I post on the forum in your own designs - a credit is appreciated (but not a requirement).
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Re: SM Workspace - the next generation.

Postby sunsynth on Sun Jul 24, 2011 10:33 am

+++ 100 Trog...

SM has rapidly been becoming a dead duck for commercial plugin development

I registered SM 4 developing but until now none of my Progs are ready 2 sell... :(

it could have been killed off when FlowStone was released, so Malc does seem genuinely keen to keep his 'first baby' alive and kicking - but naturally he has to concentrate his limited resources on whatever is most likely to keep food on his table.
I registered Flowstone mostly 4 that reason...

Part of the problem there seems to be that the developers are simply not active on the forum, except to post updates.
This is really a big drawback :(
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Re: SM Workspace - the next generation.

Postby infuzion on Sun Jul 24, 2011 3:21 pm

trogluddite wrote:Part of the problem there seems to be that the developer are simply not active on the forum, except to post updates.
Corrected. I think Malc is the only programmer anymore for SM? & that is only part-time, due to having to run 2 other businesses...
For OSX & iOS development to happen, more programmers need to come on.
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Re: SM Workspace - the next generation.

Postby DigitalWhiteByte on Sun Jul 24, 2011 5:16 pm

I do not want to sound the usual grumbling,
But the strange thing is that to have a solid development of Synthmaker, we should drag the Flowstone with us.
In my opinion, is the strategy of separating the products was not a good choice.
About embedded systems, I do not think that this market if the condition is to have a development platform as SM, that if tomorrow the trend is that of the cryogenic systems, it will be abandoned.
If Outsim and DSPRobotics, wants to come up sales, you have to invest, and begin to make the product scope of the trend, for example tablet systems.
I think he had more Synthmaker sales in recent months, which Flowstone.
If you do not have resources available to the developers, at least you could try to release an SDK for at least increased the chance of being more open to experienced developers, I think this increases both the sales of those that synthmake Flowstone, eliminating some gaps that the main developer has no time to devote Malc, this is my humble opinion with an imperfect English.
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Re: SM Workspace - the next generation.

Postby trogluddite on Sun Jul 24, 2011 7:40 pm

DigitalWhiteByte wrote:product scope of the trend, for example tablet systems

Quite right, the generic idea of FlowCode/SM is perfect - many, many people would love to use the truly graphical object style programming, and the concept is appllicable to much more than just the PC platform, audio/VST and Robots.

Makes me think of this blurb from the FlowCode site...
DSP Robotics wrote:The way computers have been programmed over the years is continually evolving first there was machine code (A9) then assembler (LDA), then came so called high level languages like Pascal, Fortran, Basic, C++ (If (x > y) ), these were then modified to become visual languages (basically the same code but you could arrange your graphics on screen). Then came object orientated languages, again the same code but with more structure. That was until now when FlowStone changed everything and gave the world Graphical Programming!

Notice how the programming languages become more generic and less platform specific over time - until you get to FlowStone! It would take huge investment - but FlowStone/SM does have the potential to be the next link n that chain - the next 'universal' language that all programmers learn and use - if only.....
Feel free to use any schematics and algorithms I post on the forum in your own designs - a credit is appreciated (but not a requirement).
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Re: SM Workspace - the next generation.

Postby infuzion on Sun Jul 24, 2011 10:05 pm

trogluddite wrote:Notice how the programming languages become more generic and less platform specific over time - until you get to FlowStone! It would take huge investment - but FlowStone/SM does have the potential to be the next link n that chain - the next 'universal' language that all programmers learn and use - if only.....
You are correct, the platform is becoming less & less specific. C++ & Java you can use anywhere (well Obj-C for iOS), & there even languages that write language, which I think is the next wave:
http://haxe.org/
https://github.com/facebook/hiphop-php/wiki/
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Re: SM Workspace - the next generation.

Postby trogluddite on Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:52 pm

Oooh yes, you've nailed the killer feature for OutSim to aim at :- export to... Java, C++, PHP, microcontroller hex, etc, etc...
That would surely catch on - just draw a diagram of your process and then it just works no matter what you're porting it to. Let's face it, the thing that puts people off learning programming, even highly trained engineers, is the damned punctuation and all that typing!! Why use 1000 words when you could just draw a picture?
Feel free to use any schematics and algorithms I post on the forum in your own designs - a credit is appreciated (but not a requirement).
Don't stagnate, mutate to create. Without randomness and serendipity the earth would be just another barren rock.
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Re: SM Workspace - the next generation.

Postby infuzion on Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:24 am

UML FTW
Need help? First search the forum & WiKi, then post in the help forum with a clear topic, request, & OSM. Then please WiKi the correct solution. If you want my personal assistance, I charge by the hour or for an exchange of services.
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Re: SM Workspace - the next generation.

Postby Nu Audio Science on Fri Jul 29, 2011 3:44 am

infuzion wrote:Nice ideas, but honestly without 64bit audio & VSTs, it is becoming more pointless to develop on SM. & lack of OSX & now iOS I'm losing 60%+ of my audience.


Lets be honest here dude
With no IOS and maybe Android too, that other thing that Outsim make (I forget the name ?) has no future anyway, it is supposed to be for robotics and stuff but that scene is moving heavily to IOS and Android control.

NAS
Oh blimey
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