The challenge in making tools, as in making anything else, is really the making. It’s one thing for an idea to exist in your head, another to really get down to construction. And very often great engineering means testing, means building the idea and then refining it. So prototyping is everything.

That could explain the increased passion for hacking. Whereas big development efforts are a morass of meetings, or traditional prototyping could mean elaborate distractions from testing what we really works, “hacks” work to get something usable more quickly. And that means testing the usability of an idea happens faster.

libpd, an embeddable version of Pure Data, is meant to be a tool that works both in a weekend hackathon and in a shipping product. (For some shipping products CDM helped with, check out the mominstruments site – more on these this week and next, in fact!)

And this set of video tutorials by Rafael Hernandez is the best introduction I’ve seen yet to using them. I usually actually hate sitting through video tutorials. But these are clear, concise, and give accurate advice – and they walk you through the latest version of Xcode, which is sometimes otherwise confusing.

I have no doubt you could watch these over a half hour breakfast and build a cool app hack by the end of the day.

If you don’t yet know Pd, he also has a video series on that:

There are some real gems in there, worth a browse even if you’re a Pd user. Pd is a bit deeper, though, so I’m back to also liking to read and not just watch videos – see also the pd-tutorial and flossmanuals as they cover some more sophisticated techniques.

Maybe you’ll get to do some of this hacking with us in person, if you’re in Berlin:

This week seems to be all about hacking. Tomorrow, I join re:publica, one of Europe’s premiere digital media conferences, to talk about hackathons and collaborative development. Then, this weekend, CDM and MeeBlip are supporting MIDI Hack, a weekend of music creation-focused work hosted at Ableton’s headquarters. Those events are not open to the public and MIDI Hack is full, but we’ll certainly bring some reports your way.

Finally, Monday, we join Matt Black, the co-founder of NinjaTune and Coldcut, for a conversation on the future of musical apps and some tools he’s helping bring to the world for free that make tools more collaborative, more creative, and more connected:

Synced Up: A Conversation with Matt Black (NinjaTune, Coldcut)

Matt will be showing not one but two frameworks that use libpd for sync and creative coding / creative development, too. So if you’re in Berlin and didn’t get into MIDI Hack, you can still join us Monday. And, again, since only a tiny fraction of you are here in the capital of Germany, ask questions in comments here and we’ll bring as much as we can online.

Wherever you are in the world, get the coffee brewing and limber up those fingers for soldering and coding. More to come.

Are you using libpd in your apps?

We need help updating the libpd showcase. It’s got some great apps, but we want to add more recent work:

http://libpd.cc/portfolio/showcase/

Send a description, one video link, and a couple of stills to us. You can contact us directly.

  • Truls Halvparten

    That seems really cool. I made this granularsynth/flute-thing for a university course here in oslo this fall using pd and mobmuplat. I have never used either, or coded for that matter, but it was still a bit frustrating to work within the limitations of mobmuplat. I kind of want to finish the app and get it out there, maybe this could be a solution? I’ll gladly take any tips for that part. I’ve linked to the prototype down below. The paper is in norwegian, but you’ll find a .zip with the pd and mobmuplat files at the bottom if you want to check it out.

    • Honestly, it’s not that hard to use the native iOS tools with Pd. And the other alternative is this OpenFrameworks setup; I’ll be having a look at that, as it’d make porting easier.

  • Truls Halvparten

    That seems really cool. I made this granularsynth/flute-thing for a university course here in oslo this fall using pd and mobmuplat. I have never used either, or coded for that matter, but it was still a bit frustrating to work within the limitations of mobmuplat. I kind of want to finish the app and get it out there, maybe this could be a solution? I’ll gladly take any tips for that part. I’ve linked to the prototype down below. The paper is in norwegian, but you’ll find a .zip with the pd and mobmuplat files at the bottom if you want to check it out.

    • Honestly, it’s not that hard to use the native iOS tools with Pd. And the other alternative is this OpenFrameworks setup; I’ll be having a look at that, as it’d make porting easier.

  • Truls Halvparten

    That seems really cool. I made this granularsynth/flute-thing for a university course here in oslo this fall using pd and mobmuplat. I have never used either, or coded for that matter, but it was still a bit frustrating to work within the limitations of mobmuplat. I kind of want to finish the app and get it out there, maybe this could be a solution? I’ll gladly take any tips for that part. I’ve linked to the prototype down below. The paper is in norwegian, but you’ll find a .zip with the pd and mobmuplat files at the bottom if you want to check it out.

    • Honestly, it’s not that hard to use the native iOS tools with Pd. And the other alternative is this OpenFrameworks setup; I’ll be having a look at that, as it’d make porting easier.

  • Freeks

    Sadly too advanced for n00bs πŸ™
    Any good and easy tutorials on PD patching and C++?

    • Depends on what part is advanced / what you’re trying to learn?

    • dyscode

      Check out MobMuPlat (.com) also. Free Pd runtime environment for iOS. Easier than real coding ( You need to edit and adjust the patches on a PC, still).

  • Freeks

    Sadly too advanced for n00bs πŸ™
    Any good and easy tutorials on PD patching and C++?

    • Depends on what part is advanced / what you’re trying to learn?

    • dyscode

      Check out MobMuPlat (.com) also. Free Pd runtime environment for iOS. Easier than real coding ( You need to edit and adjust the patches on a PC, still).

  • Freeks

    Sadly too advanced for n00bs πŸ™
    Any good and easy tutorials on PD patching and C++?

    • Depends on what part is advanced / what you’re trying to learn?

    • dyscode

      Check out MobMuPlat (.com) also. Free Pd runtime environment for iOS. Easier than real coding ( You need to edit and adjust the patches on a PC, still).

  • andres claiman

    ThatΒ΄s looks great. And who knows some libPD to Android video tutorial?

    • Think someone would need to get inspired by this and make one. πŸ˜‰

      But the book is pretty good:
      http://libpd.cc/read-the-book/

      And unlike Xcode, the dev tools I think have changed less on the Android side.

  • andres claiman

    ThatΒ΄s looks great. And who knows some libPD to Android video tutorial?

    • Think someone would need to get inspired by this and make one. πŸ˜‰

      But the book is pretty good:
      http://libpd.cc/read-the-book/

      And unlike Xcode, the dev tools I think have changed less on the Android side.

  • andres claiman

    ThatΒ΄s looks great. And who knows some libPD to Android video tutorial?

    • Think someone would need to get inspired by this and make one. πŸ˜‰

      But the book is pretty good:
      http://libpd.cc/read-the-book/

      And unlike Xcode, the dev tools I think have changed less on the Android side.

  • I’ve played a bit with libPD when the book came out, but I’m sold on MobMuPlat as it makes it much easier to create a useful app, complete with Audiobus support.

    http://www.mobmuplat.com/

    As a bonus, you don’t need to give Apple another $99 yearly for the privilege of making software for their iDevices when you use MobMuPlat as the host for your PD patches.

    Last year I ported my performance system from my Macbook Pro to my iPhone using a Pure Data patch running in MobMuPlat and a few other apps: http://no-insects.blogspot.ca/2014/10/meta-trombone-on-ios.html

    I’ve added some guitar pedals since then and I see no reason to return to my laptop for live performances.

    • josh

      Nice, thanks for the tip. The interface designer looks like a nice step up from the earlier PdDroidParty app.

    • Um, you’re referring to libpd and MobMuPlat as if they’re somehow alternatives.

      MobMuPlat is built with libpd. πŸ˜‰ In fact, we should add it to the showcase.

      Also, I’ll defend the money spend on Apple – you get some nice stuff for your cash there.

      • Hey Peter,
        Yes I’m aware that MobMuPlat is made with libPD, but having done both:

        1) coded an app in Xcode with libPD
        2) used MobMuPlat to host a patch

        I know which “alternative” I prefer…

        I have no issue spending money on Apple devices, but their practice of preventing their customers from loading user-created software unto iDevices without paying the yearly developer fee always felt odd to me. But my first computer had a blue screen that proclaimed its readiness to receive my code every time I turned it on…

        • Oh, yes, MobMuPlat is very cool!

          I just wanted to be clear that MobMuPlat is a tool based on libpd, not an alternative to libpd.

          Yes, it’s annoying that Apple requires the developer fee to load software on a device you own. However, that said, anyone doing any reasonable amount of development should still consider the fee as it includes other services they’ll find worthwhile. It depends on what your goals are. That’s not a commentary on Apple’s decisions, just an acknowledgement that most people doing even casual development will find it a hundred bucks well spent.

          • that is — 1. MobMuPlat *is* libpd πŸ˜‰

            2. I’ll defend spending the money on Apple (I won’t necessarily defend Apple… not that it matters!)

  • I’ve played a bit with libPD when the book came out, but I’m sold on MobMuPlat as it makes it much easier to create a useful app, complete with Audiobus support.

    http://www.mobmuplat.com/

    As a bonus, you don’t need to give Apple another $99 yearly for the privilege of making software for their iDevices when you use MobMuPlat as the host for your PD patches.

    Last year I ported my performance system from my Macbook Pro to my iPhone using a Pure Data patch running in MobMuPlat and a few other apps: http://no-insects.blogspot.ca/2014/10/meta-trombone-on-ios.html

    I’ve added some guitar pedals since then and I see no reason to return to my laptop for live performances.

    • josh

      Nice, thanks for the tip. The interface designer looks like a nice step up from the earlier PdDroidParty app.

    • Um, you’re referring to libpd and MobMuPlat as if they’re somehow alternatives.

      MobMuPlat is built with libpd. πŸ˜‰ In fact, we should add it to the showcase.

      Also, I’ll defend the money spend on Apple – you get some nice stuff for your cash there.

      • Hey Peter,
        Yes I’m aware that MobMuPlat is made with libPD, but having done both:

        1) coded an app in Xcode with libPD
        2) used MobMuPlat to host a patch

        I know which “alternative” I prefer…

        I have no issue spending money on Apple devices, but their practice of preventing their customers from loading user-created software unto iDevices without paying the yearly developer fee always felt odd to me. But my first computer had a blue screen that proclaimed its readiness to receive my code every time I turned it on…

        • Oh, yes, MobMuPlat is very cool!

          I just wanted to be clear that MobMuPlat is a tool based on libpd, not an alternative to libpd.

          Yes, it’s annoying that Apple requires the developer fee to load software on a device you own. However, that said, anyone doing any reasonable amount of development should still consider the fee as it includes other services they’ll find worthwhile. It depends on what your goals are. That’s not a commentary on Apple’s decisions, just an acknowledgement that most people doing even casual development will find it a hundred bucks well spent.

          • that is — 1. MobMuPlat *is* libpd πŸ˜‰

            2. I’ll defend spending the money on Apple (I won’t necessarily defend Apple… not that it matters!)

  • I’ve played a bit with libPD when the book came out, but I’m sold on MobMuPlat as it makes it much easier to create a useful app, complete with Audiobus support.

    http://www.mobmuplat.com/

    As a bonus, you don’t need to give Apple another $99 yearly for the privilege of making software for their iDevices when you use MobMuPlat as the host for your PD patches.

    Last year I ported my performance system from my Macbook Pro to my iPhone using a Pure Data patch running in MobMuPlat and a few other apps: http://no-insects.blogspot.ca/2014/10/meta-trombone-on-ios.html

    I’ve added some guitar pedals since then and I see no reason to return to my laptop for live performances.

    • josh

      Nice, thanks for the tip. The interface designer looks like a nice step up from the earlier PdDroidParty app.

    • Um, you’re referring to libpd and MobMuPlat as if they’re somehow alternatives.

      MobMuPlat is built with libpd. πŸ˜‰ In fact, we should add it to the showcase.

      Also, I’ll defend the money spend on Apple – you get some nice stuff for your cash there.

      • Hey Peter,
        Yes I’m aware that MobMuPlat is made with libPD, but having done both:

        1) coded an app in Xcode with libPD
        2) used MobMuPlat to host a patch

        I know which “alternative” I prefer…

        I have no issue spending money on Apple devices, but their practice of preventing their customers from loading user-created software unto iDevices without paying the yearly developer fee always felt odd to me. But my first computer had a blue screen that proclaimed its readiness to receive my code every time I turned it on…

        • Oh, yes, MobMuPlat is very cool!

          I just wanted to be clear that MobMuPlat is a tool based on libpd, not an alternative to libpd.

          Yes, it’s annoying that Apple requires the developer fee to load software on a device you own. However, that said, anyone doing any reasonable amount of development should still consider the fee as it includes other services they’ll find worthwhile. It depends on what your goals are. That’s not a commentary on Apple’s decisions, just an acknowledgement that most people doing even casual development will find it a hundred bucks well spent.

          • that is — 1. MobMuPlat *is* libpd πŸ˜‰

            2. I’ll defend spending the money on Apple (I won’t necessarily defend Apple… not that it matters!)

  • James Husted

    I want to up my PD chops to make programs that will run on my Q-Bit Nebulae Eurorack module which got the ability to run PD files in its latest firmware update. Nothing like software in a modular synthesizer hardware wrapper.

    • The free intro from Andy Farnell’s book is an excellent primer for Pure Data: http://aspress.co.uk/ds/pdf/pd_intro.pdf

      (I will try to resist looking at more reasons to go modular)
      (oh, it does Csound as well….)

      • David B

        That Andy Farnell is amazing, and hardcore. Cheetomoskeeto who posted these videos also has really extensive introduction to PD on his channel too

  • James Husted

    I want to up my PD chops to make programs that will run on my Q-Bit Nebulae Eurorack module which got the ability to run PD files in its latest firmware update. Nothing like software in a modular synthesizer hardware wrapper.

    • The free intro from Andy Farnell’s book is an excellent primer for Pure Data: http://aspress.co.uk/ds/pdf/pd_intro.pdf

      (I will try to resist looking at more reasons to go modular)
      (oh, it does Csound as well….)

      • David B

        That Andy Farnell is amazing, and hardcore. Cheetomoskeeto who posted these videos also has really extensive introduction to PD on his channel too

  • James Husted

    I want to up my PD chops to make programs that will run on my Q-Bit Nebulae Eurorack module which got the ability to run PD files in its latest firmware update. Nothing like software in a modular synthesizer hardware wrapper.

    • The free intro from Andy Farnell’s book is an excellent primer for Pure Data: http://aspress.co.uk/ds/pdf/pd_intro.pdf

      (I will try to resist looking at more reasons to go modular)
      (oh, it does Csound as well….)

      • David B

        That Andy Farnell is amazing, and hardcore. Cheetomoskeeto who posted these videos also has really extensive introduction to PD on his channel too

  • lala

    These days building your own stuff is declared as the solution for everything, it isn’t. It’s just another rabbit hole.
    I don’t want to build the house where the cow lives in, I just want the cows milk to cook some pudding.

    • lala

      Talking about “elaborate distractions” πŸ˜‰

  • lala

    These days building your own stuff is declared as the solution for everything, it isn’t. It’s just another rabbit hole.
    I don’t want to build the house where the cow lives in, I just want the cows milk to cook some pudding.

    • lala

      Talking about “elaborate distractions” πŸ˜‰

  • lala

    These days building your own stuff is declared as the solution for everything, it isn’t. It’s just another rabbit hole.
    I don’t want to build the house where the cow lives in, I just want the cows milk to cook some pudding.

    • lala

      Talking about “elaborate distractions” πŸ˜‰

  • mcpepe

    Nice!! Does something like this exists for Max/MSP?

    • GJOstudio

      That’s what I want to know as well, but this is a great tutorial on PD IOS
      love it

  • mcpepe

    Nice!! Does something like this exists for Max/MSP?

    • GJOstudio

      That’s what I want to know as well, but this is a great tutorial on PD IOS
      love it

  • mcpepe

    Nice!! Does something like this exists for Max/MSP?

    • GJOstudio

      That’s what I want to know as well, but this is a great tutorial on PD IOS
      love it

  • KMcMaster

    Got a few questions:

    So I followed the iOS tutorial and most of the PD tutorials learning just a basic sequencer.

    But i’m having trouble getting the on/off switch from the iOS tutorial to trigger the sequencer.

    The toggle in PD triggers the OSC and the “sequencer” but when ran through iOS it just triggers the OSC. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/t777t2j19k2slqp/MyPDProject.zip?dl=0

  • KMcMaster

    Got a few questions:

    So I followed the iOS tutorial and most of the PD tutorials learning just a basic sequencer.

    But i’m having trouble getting the on/off switch from the iOS tutorial to trigger the sequencer.

    The toggle in PD triggers the OSC and the “sequencer” but when ran through iOS it just triggers the OSC. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/t777t2j19k2slqp/MyPDProject.zip?dl=0

  • KMcMaster

    Got a few questions:

    So I followed the iOS tutorial and most of the PD tutorials learning just a basic sequencer.

    But i’m having trouble getting the on/off switch from the iOS tutorial to trigger the sequencer.

    The toggle in PD triggers the OSC and the “sequencer” but when ran through iOS it just triggers the OSC. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/t777t2j19k2slqp/MyPDProject.zip?dl=0

  • Matt Jackson

    I’m following the tutorial, but after updating the submodules, I get a completely different folder structure and the rest of the tutorial doesn’t make sense anymore.

  • Matt Jackson

    I’m following the tutorial, but after updating the submodules, I get a completely different folder structure and the rest of the tutorial doesn’t make sense anymore.

  • Matt Jackson

    I’m following the tutorial, but after updating the submodules, I get a completely different folder structure and the rest of the tutorial doesn’t make sense anymore.

  • Geoff Angus

    Brilliant. Thank you for taking the time to do this.

    Now I have a solid template from which I can easily build new projects.

    Also, I’m recommending this video for anyone who is struggling with UIAlertViews! 2 lines!!! lol

  • Geoff Angus

    Brilliant. Thank you for taking the time to do this.

    Now I have a solid template from which I can easily build new projects.

    Also, I’m recommending this video for anyone who is struggling with UIAlertViews! 2 lines!!! lol

  • Geoff Angus

    Brilliant. Thank you for taking the time to do this.

    Now I have a solid template from which I can easily build new projects.

    Also, I’m recommending this video for anyone who is struggling with UIAlertViews! 2 lines!!! lol