Forums > Misc

tips to eliminate mouse in patching workflow

Feb 24 2013 | 1:48 pm

I am primarily an old-school, text based programmer, so I am (maybe too much) comfortable with typing as opposed to reaching out to the mouse/trackpad to handle click events. I even change shortcut key bindings in IDEs I use to those in emacs, so that I won’t have to reposition my hands to reach awkwardly positioned keys like home, delete, numbers etc. You know, the act of typing should be the least distracting aspect of coding…

I find it really difficult to be in flow state when I am working with Max thanks to the mouse/keyboard dichotomy in the patching environment. I constantly need to reorient myself to reach for the mouse, and then to go back to the keyboard. I understand that Max is unthinkable without mouse control, but I would be happy to be less dependent on it.

Let me give you some examples:
Probably the most common mistake I make is to hit n instead of m, vice versa. At this point, I involuntarily press esc, to delete the object. but escape does not work, (even del does not work). So I have to select the object with the mouse and then delete it.

For message boxes, I can hit enter for new line, then shift+enter to exit the box, which is great. but this feature does not exist for object boxes. My first instinct is to hit enter as the box grows too long, and I lose the focus on the object, so I reach for the mouse… or I finish typing all the attributes and end up with a long object box, again use the mouse to resize the object.

Connecting the boxes is another hassle. and I know if I have to complain about THAT, I should probably use some other creative software. however, I believe connecting the boxes could be improved. for example, after creating an object, alt+c could display auto-complete-enabled list of existing boxes, and I could just type and/or use tab to select the object etc.

anyway, these are just some of my frustrations with using the graphical patching environment. I know I could be more productive with Max if everything was under my fingertips. I wonder what other people are thinking about this? how satisfied are you with the usability of the interface? what are your little hacks, and tips to make patching smoother on Max?

All the best,

Feb 24 2013 | 2:05 pm

for object boxs, if you create one by error, you can press enter and then backspace, since the object box will still be selected ; no mouse needed. For the resizing things, this can be indeed annoying, best you can do is uncheck "auto fix width" in options so that the width you see before pressing enter and after are the same ; if you really feel like it you could try add a keyboard shortcut (somewhere in the configuraitons ?) to check/uncheck this option, since you’ll want to switch sometimes. For connecting the boxes with keys, you’ll love Nathanael Decaude’s Toolbox – but i see now that it’s not your point… what is it that you’re missing with the auto-completion feature ?
But yea, Max is a graphical thing… you better expect to use the mouse =p

Feb 25 2013 | 8:32 am

I haven’t heard of Nathanael Decaude’s Toolbox, but I would like to check it out if you could post the link. I couldn’t find it anywhere.

with auto-completed list, I was imagining a list of boxes that are already on the patch. so something like the search feature that is more interactive and with an extra feature to select a particular inlet/outlet…

thank you for your answer.

Feb 25 2013 | 12:05 pm

the "selective object auto-complete" you’re talking about doesn’t seem necessarily useful… since most of the time, the boxes i want to create are new ones, and you can duplicate/copy paste the ones already there ? there is also a cool feature, that if you put a message box next to an object, it will automatically auto-complete with messages relevant to said object box. And you can also shift (ot right-) click inlets to see what are the messages relevant to a particular inlet. But for the objects, i don’t see how this would work, as (in my way of doing things anyway) there is no necessarily some objects i’m more likely to connect together ; i mean it will nearly always be a different object i connect to a particular object each time…

and @nicolas danet : updated 7 days ago, wow ! :p
edit : the changelog, and the version number, don’t indicate any change since 2009. Hm… waht to believe ?

Feb 25 2013 | 5:25 pm

Hello, I’m the toolbox author.

Version 14 is the stable version
Version 15 is the dev version. It adds an undo function when you press the ‘z’ key.

Apr 10 2013 | 8:33 pm

I just wanted to bump this post because of how overjoyed I am to know of its existence. Dear Max Users! spare yourself from arthritis! :)

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Forums > Misc