2015 has been a major year for Praxis LIVE development, even though this blog has been a little bit quiet recently. Somehow my level of writing always seems to be inversely proportional to the level of activity and features being added to the software. Well, that’s my excuse why a 9-month gap between posts is a good thing, anyway! ;-)
So, here’s a little review of some of the big things that have happened in the world of Praxis LIVE this last year …
So, you’ve got a String property that’s a fragment of Java code, and you want to open and edit it within the NetBeans editor; you want access to code completion, hints, and all that NetBeans goodness; and, you want your String property to update every time you hit Save. Well, that was the challenge facing me in integrating the NetBeans editor into Praxis LIVE for version 2.
core:math:add component with code open for editing.
So, after months of development (and not much blogging!), Praxis LIVE v2 is finally released into the world. And after some radical changes in its underlying architecture, Praxis LIVE is now getting much closer to my original vision of a hybrid visual IDE for creative coding.
Want to run a project across multiple computers on a local network? Want to code on one computer and have it inserted into a running pipeline on another? Want to run pipelines across multiple local processes (VMs) for better performance? The latest alpha release of Praxis LIVE v2 finally makes distributed hubs a reality (an idea that’s been around since the architecture was originally designed).
Live coding Java (Processing) & GLSL code on one laptop while it runs on another.
If you’ve been following the Twitter feed recently you may have noticed that Praxis LIVE has gained an all new look. However, the recent changes are far more than skin deep, with a radical rethink of many aspects of the project.
Praxis LIVE development (and blog posts, I know!) took a back-seat over the first half of this year as various other commitments took over. But in many respects, that time off has been good for the project, and initiated a rethink of how to continue developing and supporting Praxis LIVE into the future. A major part of that will be concentrating on those key aspects of the project that make it unique (media-neutral – distributed – edit everything live), and better use of existing third-party code even if it requires compromises to be made.
New annotation driven live-compiled components and code completion
The JAudioLibs’ AudioServer API is a Java library loosely inspired by PortAudio. It was initially designed early in the development of Praxis LIVE in order to provide a common callback-based interface for working with low-latency audio. This API has since found its way into a variety of other projects, primarily by people wanting to use the JACK Audio Connection Kit from Java (JAudioLibs’ JNAJack was developed at the same time). Using the AudioServer API provides an application the ability to switch easily between JavaSound and JACK at runtime. It can also make working just with JavaSound a little easier.
Praxis LIVE & Hydrogen linked through JACK
For some time I have been considering how to extend the AudioServer API to improve runtime service discovery, provide better access to features of the underlying audio libraries, and make it easier for people to contribute new implementations. A recent email from Ollie Bown, developer of the excellent Beads audio library, prompted me to spend some time over the last week trying to finish this work (the development version of Beads has been using this API for some time).
TinkerForge is an excellent and easy to use open-source hardware solution for physical computing. Praxis LIVE is an open-source visual development environment, particularly (not exclusively) designed for working with audio & video, with the ability to run projects from the command line or as standalone (NetBeans runtime) applications. So, what happens when we bring these two worlds together?
This is best watched in full-screen HD!
Experimental support for a few TinkerForge components has been in Praxis LIVE for some time. However, in the weeks leading up to the last release, these were tidied up and expanded. There is now a concerted effort to complete these bindings, and promote Praxis LIVE as a (maybe the?) visual development environment for TinkerForge. Praxis LIVE is great for working with other media – use an IR sensor to control an OpenGL filter, shout to switch on a light, or use an OSC controller on your Android phone to control a servo. It’s also fun for just working with TinkerForge by itself.