Praxis LIVE build:130508

A new build of Praxis LIVE is now available from the usual place, with Windows (.exe) installer, zip distribution, and of course Linux (.deb) installer. This release has taken a little longer than normal to put together. A project I was involved with over the first few months of 2013 helped fund some nice new features, but it took a little time to get them in a releasable state (read the release notes for a full list of what’s new).

Meeting Point by Digital Prisoners

Meeting Point (2013) – Digital Prisoners – Bonn Square, Oxford.

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New year, new Praxis LIVE

A (slightly belated) Happy New Year to you all, and news of a new Praxis LIVE release.  Just squeaking in during the final fanfare of 2012 was Praxis LIVE build:121231, bringing some major work on the video pipeline, some nice UI improvements, dynamic component support, and the start of a TinkerForge binding (see video below).

Downloads – http://code.google.com/p/praxis/downloads/list
Release notes – http://code.google.com/p/praxis/wiki/ReleaseNotes

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The Influence of the Actor Model (Praxis architecture 101)

No, not a post about my salacious exploits with a C-list Hollywood celebrity (that’s for a different blog :-) ), but a technical overview of a key aspect of the Praxis architecture. Absolutely essential to Praxis’ media neutral architecture, as well as the ability to edit everything live, is an asynchronous, shared-nothing, message-passing system. This is loosely inspired by the Actor Model and other solutions for concurrent / distributed programming (without following any particular concept to the letter). Continue reading

Praxis LIVE build:120430

A new release of Praxis LIVE is now available for download from the usual place. This is primarily a bug-fix release, with a few interface improvements, though there has been some substantial work going on recently that will see more exposure later. This release brings the slider-style property editors mentioned in an earlier post, and fixes issues with audio:sampling:looper, core:timing:animator, OpenGL full-screen, and a range of other niggles.  Read the full release notes here.

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Development Update

OK, I should know better than to mention release schedules! :-)

There’s been some interesting developments going on with Praxis over the last couple of months.  I was busy working on a commission for Dancin’ Oxford, alongside dance artists Naomi Morris and Kate Willis, creating a series of interactive dance installations for Oxford Castle Quarter.  Well, that work’s now completed, and has led to some interesting additions to Praxis, particularly around image analysis and motion tracking.  However, the rather hectic time schedules around this project mean that the Praxis source code is not exactly in a releasable state at the moment, hence the lack of a promised release last month.  I’ve got a few weeks I can concentrate on Praxis now, so will be tidying up, as well as adding some new features – release coming soon!

Work has also started on improving Praxis’ documentation, which is definitely needed.

Praxis LIVE build:120123

A short note that a new build, and first full release, of Praxis LIVE is now available for download from http://code.google.com/p/praxis/

This is a slightly late post as I was concentrating on getting it finished and uploaded prior to flying to Toronto on Wednesday. There’s a wide range of new features, including a live GUI editor, a MIDI control editor, and component editors. The project system, save support and hub management have been revisited to make them much more robust. Many components have been refactored to ensure a more consistent naming and ordering of controls and ports. And the UI has had a bit of spit and polish, with a consistent icon style and colour scheme throughout – it’s looking sexy now! :-)

Read the full release notes.

The image above shows one of the major additions to this release, the GUI editor. Praxis uses MigLayout and the edit overlay allows you to drag components from the palette into a running control panel, and move them around using the arrow keys. Component properties are accessible by double-clicking to open the component editor dialogs (or in the properties window). Drag and drop of existing components, and a UI for other layout features is coming soon.  And I’ll blog a bit more about the implementation as it develops.

NB. Some of the architectural changes mean that projects from EA builds may not be fully compatible.  The examples have all been updated.  It is intended to keep backwards compatibility from this release onwards.

So, it’s a full release – is it beta?

No, though it’s better! :-D  Simply put, a couple of blog posts I’ve read over the last month or so have convinced me that the whole alpha, beta, whatever cycle is just not right for a project like Praxis / Praxis LIVE that is continually evolving.  Different features are at a different stage of evolution – some are what I’d consider release quality, some are beta, and some are quite definitely temperamental, anti-social, and marked as such!  The important thing is that it’s usable, the basic architecture is complete, and the framework (Praxis) and visual editor (Praxis LIVE) are now in sync and developing concurrently.  So, from now on there will be frequent incremental releases on a 4-6 week timetable.

So, what’s next?

Lot’s more components (some of which are already in testing), improved OpenGL support (which didn’t make this release, sorry), and much better documentation (I have a project where I have to teach 2 people to use Praxis LIVE this next month, so that will help!).

And some blogging about the details; the fun (and occasional hair pulling) of Java audio / video; and the joys of hacking on top of the NetBeans platform, without which none of this would have been possible.