Comments on the new UI

    Oct 15 2011 | 1:42 am
    Firstly I'd like to say congratulations to the cycling 74 team for their work on Max 6. Especially for the dict object, that's going to be incalculably useful for my future projects.
    Generally I think that a lot of the patching UI changes are positive developments. Curved patch cords are a blessing. The new autocompletion is very smart and I can definitely see a massive increase in usability for people new to the software. However, I think there are some major inefficiencies in the new window model, the new object explorer and the sidebar.
    To me, the object explorer feels like a step backwards. The old object palette was perfectly suited to the task of creating new objects. You could easily see where the object was going to be placed, and you had one click access to any available object. It also allowed really easy access to prototypes, which now requires the object to be created first.
    In the new object explorer, I can't see everything at once, I have to scroll up and down to find the right object. I also now have to click and drag all objects onto the screen to get them in the place I want. This is really inefficient compared to the old method. The fairly obvious alternative to this is just to use the new object shortcuts, but this seems to go against the idea of making the software easier to use. Also, as a terribly inaccurate typist, it's quicker for me to perform two clicks to select an object from a palette than it is for me to press N and try to type the object name.
    In Max 6, all double-clicking does is bring up the object explorer window (or pulls focus to it in the sidebar), which then does not disappear (or switch focus back) when the object creation process has ended. The interface effectively forces you to constantly have an area of your screen taken up with a fairly large display of icons. This is wasted space. I only need to see this window when I'm creating a new object.
    Another unrelated annoyance for me is that the colours which served to differentiate attribute categories in the inspector window have gone. I can't really see why these have been removed. They definitely helped me easily identify attributes and navigate the list.
    I can absolutely appreciate the need for the object explorer to exist. It's a good way of quickly browsing objects (and the fact that all typed objects are now included is a big plus). But I can see that it's going to slow down my workflow a lot. I'm not saying this out of lack of willingness to change my patching habits, but I really think that this new system is a step backwards. Please bring back an option to use the object palette.

    • Oct 15 2011 | 7:03 am
      I have to agree about the new object explorer. Where previously I would use it when hunting for GUI objects that I'd forgotten the name of, I will now avoid using it at all costs because of the extra hassle required to close it when I'm done. Having a large piece of the screen taken up by the object browser is not an option.
    • Oct 15 2011 | 8:35 am
      I much prefer the new object explorer, but I'm frustrated by the autocompletion - in Max 5, autocompletion would actually 'complete' what i typed into an object box. The suggestion box that pops up is fantastic, but sadly it doesn't autocomplete anymore.
      On a side note, I think there should be a way to disable the wheel menu completely. I don't find it useful and it gets in the way when I'm patching things that sit close together.
    • Oct 15 2011 | 3:54 pm
      I agree with christtripledot. I only type names of objects (much quicker for me) and have actually never used the old explorer. The new one seems better though, especially for noobs (remember double clicking the first time *shudder*).
      Yes, the weel can be annoying, just as the old blue inspector dot could be. Maybe you could add a delay? I can see using it but not most of the time.
    • Oct 15 2011 | 3:57 pm
      Oh, and the lack of (real) auto-completion is killing me. I've made so many dacs and phasors and *s stuff without the tilde. Please take it back.
    • Oct 15 2011 | 4:21 pm
      #autocompletion: hit the key to cycle through possible autocompletions. Space or return to start typing args/finish the box, respectively.
    • Oct 15 2011 | 5:23 pm
      Yes, the arrows work fine for that too. The thing is that in Max 5, if i wrote "dac" and pressed enter, I'd get a dac~. Now I don't get anything. I'd like it so that the top option was preselected instead of having to press down or tab. It just one keypress, but 1*all the objects I create = lots of 1's.
    • Oct 15 2011 | 5:40 pm
      @maxwainwright, give it a couple of days. I think you'll find the new setup ultimately to your liking. If I'm wrong, apologies in advance... ;-)
    • Oct 15 2011 | 8:52 pm
      Ok. I am a fast presser of keys, I guess. Maybe I won't notice it. :-/
    • Oct 15 2011 | 9:35 pm
      "I'd like it so that the top option was preselected instead of having to press down or tab. It just one keypress, but 1*all the objects I create = lots of 1's."
      I'm sure many experienced users already know the names and functions of the objects they want to create. For me the inconvenience of an extra keypress far outweighs the new user-friendliness. Considering all the talk about improving the patching experience, it should be noted that both the new autocompletion and the wheel menu significantly detract from the patching experience for more seasoned users. Sorry to be a grouch; it's just honest feedback.
    • Oct 15 2011 | 11:01 pm
      Had even bad experiences with the weel. And when I did want to use it I had difficulties "finding" it.
    • Oct 16 2011 | 5:52 am
      Love the potential for plot~! I've wanted a multi-dimensional data viewer for years. Request (unless I'm missing something) - could we set the colours to the different plots in a similar way as multislider?
    • Oct 16 2011 | 7:40 am
      First off. Thank you for Max6. Max has become addictive for me again.
      @Anyone not liking object explorer taking up space all the time:
      go to object explorer, click 'Explorer Settings' menu at the very bottom-left, choose 'Hide Explorer After Creating Object'. Like a "Max5-Pallette Mode" :) Brilliant.
      @Anyone not liking object wheel taking up space all the time:
      Hold down shift while mousing over your object, seems to do the trick for me.
      Some thoughts...
      slight awkwardness in patch chords:
      wish i could mouse over the grab-points/red&green-diamonds to reroute using one click. instead i have to click on the patch chord so the grab-points show up then click again to reroute(same as in Max5, but just sayin).
      the arrow for the contextual menu on a patch chord also seems unnecessary since i can just right-click to get the same? maybe i'm missing something. then again... i guess you want it to be clear for new users. i'll live.
      object explorer:
      small weirdness - i can double-click on anything to get it to appear, except newobject. would be great to be able to double-click on newobject and just get a blank newobject to type into(for those times, while using object explorer where i can't find a ui object quickly enough and just decide to type it in... otherwise, i have to drag newobject to the palette or type 'n', in both cases, the object explorer will remain open).
      nother small weirdness - if i've got 'explorer settings' set to 'hide explorer after creating object', it should do so even if i drag from the explorer to my patch to create the new object. (dragging from the object explorer still seems like it's the object explorer creating it.... whereas typing 'n' and not having the explorer disappear does make sense, dragging without disappearance after creation does not.)
      big weirdness - with the object explorer, seems like i should be able to choose the abstractions or similar menu, then add a file to it from the finder and have it show up there? (when i drag a maxfile from my finder to, for example, the palette under 'abstractions', there's a '+' icon attached to mouse cursor which seems to indicate it'll be added there but nothing gets added... unless it adds to somewhere unexpected but can't seem to find my added file anywhere so i think it's fair to call that a bit 'counterintuitive'). or perhaps just make that misleading '+' icon disappear.
      wild suggestion: the object explorer could be ridiculously useful if it was a combination of the object explorer AND the file browser all in one(that could also disappear upon creation of objects or abstractions, etc. with the 'explorer settings' set appropriately). because I notice a beaaaaauuuuutiful addition to the file browser: the contextual menu that pops up giving me the option to have files appear in my patcher as bpatchers, abstractions, subpatchers and such. F-ING GENIUS!
      (Ok, back to snorting patch chords and popping pill shaped object boxes.)
    • Oct 16 2011 | 8:50 am
      Y'all are crazy:
      OH! and i just found another weirdness: that should probably say "begin_max6_patcher" and "end_max6_patcher"(and the forum condensement should read "pasted max 6 patch...", too) ;D
      Thanks again for gettin' stir crazy on the UI improvements. :)
    • Oct 16 2011 | 3:04 pm
      Max 6 is backward compatible with max 5 with regard to the file format. Changing to 'begin/end_Max6_patcher' would likely break that compatibility.
    • Oct 16 2011 | 3:54 pm
      i was just joking. (it is obviously an annoyingly useless comment to make during a beta, particularly changing 'pasted max 6 patch' on the forums this early ;)
      [Edit: ALTHOUGH! now that i think about it. it wouldn't be a problem for backwards compatibility. the compression format is still the same so people could easily change the 6 to 5 themselves and it would be backwards compatible enough because it would function(also, regular .maxpat files in general are not in that same compressed format, so it wouldn't be a problem to change it just for the compressed format)... and there are objects in 6 like 'dict' and 'gen~' which aren't backwards compatible with 5 anyways. But i'm not seriously asking for that anal-retentive of a change ;D]
    • Oct 16 2011 | 10:38 pm
      Most has already been said, the only thing I immediately missed was the "object menu", I think its a shame that its gone.
      You know; when you create a new object (press n) then don't type anything but hoover the mouse in front. An '=' would appear, click it and you get a menu with a quick overview of available objects.
      I didn't use it very often (in the beginning I used to) but I do occasionally when I'm looking for a specific object (although truth be told I nowadays almost every time rely on the documentation).
      Although I think the object explorer isn't all that bad (I especially like the part that I can put it onto a specific location and it will remain there every time it appears) it also isn't as easily searched as that object menu.
      I guess I'm mostly missing the quick overview where you could quickly see all sections at once without having to scroll all the time.
      So many categories make it a bit hard to get a good overview at times. Also lack of consistency. For example; within the Max section the "+" or "*" objects fall under the 'Math' category. But within MSP these are suddenly operators. I can see this creating confusion.
      But apart from that, in general, it looks promising. I get the feeling though that auto completion feels a bit slow, but cannot rule out that this is caused by my virtual environment (I never run beta code on my main box; this resides in a virtual machine).
    • Oct 16 2011 | 11:26 pm
      Lili,anyone?; can we get these Max6 threads moved to the Max6 beta forum?: just seems wrong that every discussion, (good and bad) about the new Max6 has ignored the forum created for them...
    • Oct 17 2011 | 12:20 am
      This is the right place for all this. Just check Lilli's sticky topic. I quote: "For the Max 6 beta, feel free to post discussion to the 'Beta' area of the Forums, found here:".
      Please don't confuse beta-newcomers like myself with this.
    • Oct 17 2011 | 9:53 pm
      opps, I suspect was responding to wrong post. being the confused one.
    • Oct 28 2011 | 4:27 pm
      I find the new UI also a bit overcomplicated and not so smooth and easy to follow as Max 5 UI and I will have to get used to it, but there is one little detail about sidebar which would make me happier with new UI when fixed. I would prefer to open a sidebar as a separate window (so it would became sidewindow), which would be really handy for those who work with two screens. So I can place it in my second screen and use as a kind of "assistance" window, with first screen clear for patching.