imageThis illustrates why people are jumping for Processing.js, even if it cripples many of the things that make Processing cool. Paul Downey inadvertently hits the nail on the head:

… somehow hadn’t got around to actually doing anything with it. You see it’s the whole Java thing that puts me off; when it comes to playtime life’s far too short to wrangle a CLASSPATH or compile an applet.

Ah-hah — there’s the reason: developer laziness, and fear of Java. And rightfully so. Configuring a full-blown IDE for Java can in fact be some effort — I think it’s well worth it when you’re doing lots of work over time, but what if you just want to sketch?

Here’s the good news: Processing’s "founding fathers" Ben Fry and Casy Reas agree with you.

The thing is, these JavaScript developers I think haven’t bothered actually trying Processing — the real Processing in Java. The creators of Processing understood that traditional Java development could be a pain. So the whole point of the Processing IDE that you get when you download — a simplified text editor that understands the Processing language — is saving you exactly that trouble. You almost never, ever have to deal with "wrangling a classpath." It just doesn’t happen, certainly not with the included libraries (which do a lot more than Processing.js can). In fact, there’s even a download for Windows that takes care of installing Java for you. Nor do you have to worry about the effort involved in "compiling an applet." Again, Processing does the work for you.

In case you’re interested, what Paul did is reasonably cool — he set up Processing.js inside TiddlyWiki, the personal notebook tool.

But, Paul, in the time it took you to do that, you could have been off and running in the Processing editor. Give it a shot, really. As I said, I think the hack for JavaScript is very much in the spirit of Processing as an open platform. But if you don’t experience it in Java, you’re missing out on a lot of what it can do.

  • To be perfectly frank, I dont think this is something 99% of folks doing realtime media work are worried about – 99% of folks are not tool builders or coders.

    Processing is amazing for doing procedurally generated content, but has lackluster realtime video support, and I really dont think it can or will match what can be done with proprietary native applications.

    This is not to say one cannot do creative things with processing, far from it, look at Flight 404 for example, but there is a reason you never see realtime video (I really do mean video) performances done with processing….


  • Yeah, but vade, then I'd counter that 100% of people doing realtime media work don't care about JavaScript, which is what brought this on. If someone is comfortable with JavaScript, and they're looking at Processing.js, I think they'd be equally if not more comfortable with full-blown Processing. The number of people with this kind of lightweight coding background (a little JavaScript here, a little ActionScript there) is growing. There's nothing stopping them from doing something interesting in Processing. I'd never make a sweeping statement about how Processing will transform the Earth or something, partly because I'm not prone to say things like that in the first place, but mostly because what 1-2% of the world does is often of greatest interest to me.

    Realtime video support — I agree, but Processing's modularity means this could be a non-issue in future. The problem is QuickTime Java. I'm curious if the On2 video licensed for JavaFX could also be ported to Processing, for instance. And then there are strong open alternatives like ffmpeg… project for the summer for me is trying to make one of these work in Processing.

    Proprietary — what, are we comparing Processing to After Effects? They're completely different tools. Why not use both?

    And let me flip this around: I don't think proprietary native applications can or will match what can be done with Processing, period.

  • Oh, and if you mean proprietary as in Max/MSP/Jitter, again, I think they're different. Using a native library, Java should theoretically get video performance akin to what Jitter can — and, bonus, can outperform a patching environment in expressing and executing logic.

  • Processing is perfect for learning, it's the best environment for learning programming today!!!
    When you need more power, you've aquired the abilities to try another environments.
    The best tool for real time anything is OpenFrameworks, a bunch of libraries oriented to arty projects on C++, that's the closest you can get to the processor power, (machine code anyone?)
    So, keep on learning concepts and algorithms on Processing, and look for another environment when you need it.

  • Pingback: Want Easy Processing? Use the Downloaded Tool()