[LAD] Portable user interfaces for LV2 plugins

Olivier Guilyardi list at samalyse.com
Wed Mar 2 14:11:22 UTC 2011

On 03/02/2011 02:27 PM, Paul Davis wrote:

> On Wed, Mar 2, 2011 at 8:20 AM, Olivier Guilyardi <list at samalyse.com> wrote:

>> With this method, notably used by game devs, there's one code base, with thin
>> platform drivers.
> i should comment here: although this is the *theory* behind game
> development, its very far from the reality. for a variety of reasons,
> i've been exposed to some of the internals of a number of real world
> games recently, and they are the biggest mish-mash of toolkits and
> APIs that i've come across. although its not the rule, its not
> uncommon to find windows games, for example, that use up to three
> different APIs for delivering audio.
> its certainly a good theoretical target, but don't hold up game
> development as an example of somewhere that actually follows this
> practice uniformly.

Okay, well, I'm not into game development. I just mentioned that because there
are a few game devs who actually rely on that kind of portable toolkit on
Android. But I have no clue of what's really involved in highly complex games.

Now, this discussion is more about audio and music apps.

What I meant is to have the portable code base expose:
process(*input, *output)

And now, yes of course, you need thin drivers which calls this function. And if
you want to support 4 platforms, you may need a dozen of drivers, yeah, but it
sounds ok to me, as long as all the logic resides in the portable code base.

At least in my very case, this should allow me to perform audio I/O on any
mobile and non-mobile platform I can think of.

>> But this later problem could be solved with a simple audio-oriented UI toolkit,
>> which would render using OpenGL. A such toolkit could actually be very
>> lightweight. For instance you do not necessarily need to embed entire charsets.
>> A couple of characters (digits, "dB", etc..) could be sufficient in many cases.
> i know its the reality that you're facing right now, but as a bit of
> an old-timer, i have to say that a lot of this discussion reminds me
> of the early days of windows on 16 bit processors when people went to
> all kinds of crazy effort to pack stuff into a hardware-limited
> situation. it doesn't help things right now, but i just want to remind
> you (as an old-timer) that just about every one of the limits you're
> trying hard to pay attention to will evaporate within the next 5 years
> :)

First 5 years is a real lot of time when it comes to computing. I think that
it's very risky to predict what will happen. Maybe you're right about technical
limits evaporating, or maybe that technical approaches will take entirely new

Also, if you are talking about the browser limits, well, browsers are getting
more and more advanced, web UIs are used in a variety of cases, yes. But the
more powerful the machines become, the more audio applications will need to be
powerful as well. And there always will be a gap between native optimized code
and high level interpreted stuff. At least in the foreseeable future.

Also, my OpenGL idea, although merely brainstorming so far, is not only
applicable right now. It could also allow to build innovative 3D audio UIs. You
could even embed 2D plugins UIs into a 3D scene.

My point about OpenGL wasn't only about optimization. It just appears to be very
portable, and yes also suitable for high-performance UIs today. And it seems to
 me like it can only get better in the future.


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