Indaba Music, a community and suite of online tools for musicians, announced today they’ve revamped their online recording and production tool using Java and JavaFX. The result: a platform-agnostic, online interface that allows you to record music “directly to the Internet.” And the band Weezer is excited enough about it that they’re giving their official endorsement.

Indaba, along with some others, already had an online music production tool. The new version expands on that idea, allowing you to record audio signal directly online, and beefing up tools for mixing, editing, and looping. Just like tools like GarageBand, a pre-built set of loops is ready for people to quickly mock up songs.

With some help from Sun’s JavaFX technology, the browser/desktop barrier isn’t as noticeable. You get a graphical-looking interface that works the same anywhere, plus the ability to drag audio files to and from your desktop.

Interestingly, Weezer’s endorsement focuses on the fact that they don’t know how to use other music software. I have to admit some skepticism here – a lot of musicians I think are savvy enough to get to use creative new music software, and a lot of the basic functions of the Indaba software itself are straight out of tools like ACID and GarageBand. Nor do you have to worry about any JavaFX tool blowing away your REAPER, Logic, Live, Pro Tools… well, you know.

On the other hand, while this is basically just an ACID-style audio production station in the browser, I’m curious about what new applications might take advantage of in-browser collaboration that don’t look like existing audio tools. Maybe we’ll have specialized tools for working out specific ideas or sharing snippets in-progress. And there’s no question that building some tools in the browser makes sharing more immediate.

I’ll be talking to the Indaba folks and the JavaFX team a little bit about the technology, and with Sun in particular I’ll be sure to ask about some of the future potential here for other tools. If you have questions, let me know.


  • Interesting. I wonder what the latency is like when auditioning while recording at the same time

  • Peter, you're right on track considering what new apps will take advantage of this technology. This opens a lot of doors for people who are using different DAWs and platforms to share tracks and collaborate.

    I'd be curious to know if they'll have options to download the tracks locally, perhaps in a way to keep things lined up in the timeline. If nothing else you could "freeze" all the tracks so you could line up equal length files in the DAW of your choice.

    I'd like it if they had an "export as protools session, ableton session, etc.." Some syncing capabilities with the user's local DAW would be nice, too.

    Ableton has made some nice efforts in this area as far as knowing when you've touched a file and if it needs to be shared or not (with the new syncing/sharing service they offer). But that is limited to Ableton, whereas this is on the web for everyone.

    Such possibilities 🙂

  • How do you get to the JavaFX bits? The only thing I see is a Flash app. I >do< have Java disabled, as I'm running on a Mac.

  • Uhhh… why would disable Java just because you're running on a Mac? Recent JREs have been fine. You won't be able to run Java apps with Java off just as you can't run Flash apps without a Flash plug-in.

    It's in a limited beta for now. It's not widely available.

  • This – – is why you want to disable Java JUST BECAUSE you're running on a Mac. Sad, but oh well.

    I realize you can't run Java if you turn Java off, but never know with Sun. Maybe they actually distribute JavaFX as a separate plugin. Who knows.

  • Well, this part is just utterly ridiculous:
    "Tinnes noted that many companies use web applications that rely on a specific Java version, and that Java updates can break those applications. "This may be the reason why Apple's Java updates are so infrequent," he wrote."

    We're talking security updates. I expect the reason Apple's Java updates are so infrequent is a lack of manpower working on their implementation.

  • Johan Strandell

    I'm guessing Patrick has turned off Java because of the recent security issue with Java and the OS X browser plugin.

    That said, I think it's interesting with all these web based audio applications being developed (this, Hobnox, etc). Right now I think we're still at the stage were it's impressive that something like this can be run in a browser, but it definitely has promise for the future.

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  • Johan, what's interesting to me is to see capabilities available in apps like this one, which require functionality that can't be handled by pure HTML/CSS/JS, even if HTML == the uber hotness of HTML5. Flash (Flex) and Java (JavaFX) can handle such things though.

    And Peter, sad but true, at least for the corporate world. Lots of companies can't/won't move off of specific versions of IE, for instance, because the apps they've built/purchased won't run on anything but a specific version. Same is true for major versions of Java, or even platform-specific versions of Java. This is to some extent a win for Flash, which has less issues like this.

  • Yeah, of course — what I'm saying is that it should be very, very possible to make forwards – and backwards – compatible code. And the idea that Apple isn't updating for that reason is pretty laughable. I haven't seen major regressions in minor Java releases, truly.

  • decrepitude

    Great idea (in essence) that's way ahead of it's time. Maybe when the earth is covered in fiber.

    Because of the obvious issues with latency, Indaba is still an off-line sort of thing. You create audio content offline in your DAW of choice and then load up tracks in the browser-ready tracking app. The upside is the thousands of artists to potentially collab with. But the downside is having to take a step back using the limited online DAW.

    I think I'd rather look into Ableton's new project share.

    But I'm tempted to join Indaba just to take a look around. They've got a good marketing angle by getting well known artists to participate.

    Honestly, I think it's just another attempt to cash-in on the growing trend of social networking sites. But just like the California gold rush, only a few prospectors are gonna hit pay dirt.

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  • wow,, it's my pleasure to hear this,., Impressive

  • Great! impressive.