Is there a simple glossary of terms anywhere?

    Jan 06 2019 | 11:21 pm
    I'm new to max and am doing the kadenze course right now. Frequently I find myself wondering what something means in max, like what is an external, or a package, or a library? How are they different? Seems like theres gotta be a glossary of terms somewhere, but I can't find one.
    Any advice? Thanks!

    • Jan 06 2019 | 11:55 pm
      Max documentation can be a little overwhelming. But the sidebar search should lead you to most topics.
      Online documentation can be found here: To understand what is an external e.g. it is best to use Max' Filebrowser (File->Show Filebrowser) and search for "mxo". It will list everything that is denoted as externals or external objects and the package it belongs to. Also in the file browser you can see the packages when clicking on the cube icon. Besides externals packages contain e.g. max help-files, example patchers and snippets.
      Most of the time you won't have to think about these terms. Externals is just a name for files that contain the code of objects you can use in Max. There are also internal objects. Within Max you normally don't have to be aware of where an object comes from.
    • Jan 07 2019 | 1:12 am
      Thank you, that's helpful, particularly pointing out the hierarchy of packages>externals. Where do libraries fit into this? I couldn't find a straightforward definition in the help documentation.
    • Jan 07 2019 | 7:11 pm
      Sometimes an altruistic lifeform called -Raja The Resident Alien- is visiting the Max forum. He once answered this question but he/she/it also tends to delete its posts after a while. So I could only find the question about "What is a library in contrast to a package?" but not the answer in the forum. Maybe if you shout out loud to the night sky your question might get heard and Raja chimes in. As far as I remember the packages were introduced with Max 6 and aimed for making distribution of libraries easier.
    • Jan 07 2019 | 9:02 pm
      why not just assemble it it again. an object is a file* which you can call in an object box in a patcher window. there are two types of objects: externals and patchers. externals are the most basic building blocks, they are compiled binaries written in a high level language. patchers are max documents which you create with max itself. a snippet is a group of objects and connections, saved independently from a patching window, for later recall. a prototype is the summation of an object name and your custom settings for it (like "red slider", which could be an instance of a slider object set to have a red color.) a package is a custom assortment of various files (i.e. a "library") to be used with max, but following a certain guideline how the paths should look like. you can also distribute and install things in other ways into max, but then all files are either in the search path or outside. in a package, you can mix that. a rubber ball might have a bounciness of around 0.75, a foam ball perhaps of 0.25, and a ball made of peanut butter 0.0
    • Jan 07 2019 | 9:10 pm
      Martin THANK YOU for explaining that, seriously, I saw that thread too and was like wtf, even the forums for MAX are opaque and confusing ; )
      Roman, thanks, what's a library?
    • Jan 08 2019 | 11:31 am
      i dont think it has a certain meaning in the realms of max. a library is when someone puts together a few files which belong together. like when i send you my collection of patches. or the default image files in your max folder.
    • Jan 08 2019 | 1:44 pm
      Thank you, that's helpful. I get that using and understanding these and other terms will become clear with experience, and that if defining them were important it'd have been covered in any of the many available beginner tutorials.
    • Mar 27 2020 | 7:30 pm
      Hi Nate, I agree that a Glossary of terms would be very useful for Max/MSP/Jitter/Gen, etc. Languages have dictionaries, thesaurus and grammars to help clarify meaning. Software needs the same thing imho. The existing Max 8 Documentation has a lot of info:, which could be organized into a Glossary. If you submit a feature request - it would at least draw attention to this idea.
    • May 05 2020 | 4:11 pm
      Yes, a glossary would be super helpful for beginners like myself. I realize there's a help file for everything but even those can be overwhelming if you're simply trying to learn the language at the onset.
    • May 05 2020 | 4:19 pm
      Hi Chris Hillen - I submitted a feature request - you could do the same and it might help...
    • Jan 13 2021 | 4:57 am
      Maybe if you shout out loud to the night sky your question might get heard and Raja chimes in.
      @Martin HAHA! so sorry i never saw this until now(would've made my day if i had, i remember i could've used cheering up around this time in 2019 too). i don't think i knew the answer to this question, though(?)... i mean, to this day, i'm not quite sure what a 'library' means in Max world(a 'library' sounds more like how people used to organize patches/help-files/externals/assets all in one collection before packages used to exist, so it's probably something like a package that's created without the package-manager). anyways, seems like everyone got their answer eventually. i wonder if they'll make the glossary, too... probably not too difficult with the integrated nature of the docs(then people will want glossary terms hyperlinked everywhere else they appear in the docs... that will be some tedious work)... they could alternately bring back the wiki, and users could try to create an additional set of help-docs for all those things the community think need documenting but which Cycling74 might not have time/resources for at the moment(Roman's suggestion to 'assemble it again' ourselves is a good one).