RE: [-empyre-] capacious processing

Thanks very much, Marius and Peter. I look forward to following the progress
of Processing. There is definitely room for tools which introduce
programming concepts apart from the command line, and which are oriented
toward artists.

The tool I use, mostly, is Director, as does Peter, if I'm not mistaken; I
admire his Director is pretty wonderful in a lot of ways,
but it has some failings (among which are those I mentioned earlier), mostly
because of its history (it began in 1987) that make it difficult, if not
practically impossible, for Macromedia to raise it beyond a
prototyping/small app production tool. But strengths and weaknesses are
intertwined; it goes back to 1987 so it has non-object-oriented baggage that
will finally kill it, but it is rich in features. Recent things like
'imaging Lingo' in Director look promising in its departure from a
timeline-based approach, but this is at the cost of adopting quite a
complex, erm, sort of command-line approach which completely forsakes the
tool's timeline-based supports and metaphors. On a slightly different front,
I have made a tool for Director developers which makes creating/destroying
sprites pretty easy, and this also departs from the timeline-based
structure, to some extent. Though the solution is more or less optimal
within the Director environment, Macromedia does not officially support
dynamic sprite creation/destruction, so it is quite literally a hack
solution, if hacks support things the tool is not intended to support.

I have on many occassions felt it would be great to see a tool like Director
developed from scratch among networked programmers, a tool that learns from
the history of Director and avoids the non-object-oriented heritage and
other failings of Director. Timeline metaphors are very useful conceptually
and they allow non-programmers entry, but usage of timelines should be
*entirely* optional, ie, use them if you want, but they simply involve
processes that are *completely* controllable via programming structures so
that you don't have to use the timeline if your needs and project scale make
the limitations of the timeline inappropriate.

Director is by no means 'purist'. I'm not sure what it would even mean to
have a 'purist' tool. Purist in what sense? Director has been and is a tool
at the service primarily of artists, though, which I love about it, even
though it is proprietary. DHTML was, from the start, a Microsoft initiative,
and it has kind of hit the rocks but might recover. DHTML was never so much
oriented towards support of artistic enterprises as, um, enterprise level
ecommerce. It's important that artists be front and centre in formulating
the specs and even in building the tools of art. So I applaud your efforts,
Marius, and look forward to the development of your Processing tool. We are
heading into a new month and topic and featured guests on empyre, but the
topic of software tools by artists for artists (and of course the larger
world) is one which I hope we can revisit at greater length some time in the
future of empyre. As Nick and Noah indicate, such efforts are crucial to
digital art.


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