Multimedia (was re: HeatedDiscussion)

Andrew C. Greenberg werdna at
Thu Mar 16 02:42:42 UTC 2000

>Out of all of the content forms, Squeak seems closest (at this time) to
>being able to be an authoring system for multimedia (such as Director) and
>being a development system for business applications (such as VB).  This is
>not to say that Squeak should be limited to these areas!  However the
>amount of work needed to bring Squeak into an area such as , eg, music
>composition and notation (like, to take a piece of software I use,
>Sibelius) is much greater.

I find it peculiar to be comparing Squeak, a program development 
system, with Sibelius, a special-purpose application.

Sibelius is very nice, indeed.  It does many cute things and is very 
WYSIWYG.  Try to get it to do something it was not programmed to do, 
however.  Try extending it.  What you see is sometimes all you get.

Squeak is certainly not Sibelius, but given that you have Sibelius, 
why would you want to make another Sibelius from Squeak?  Certainly 
Sibelius could be written in Squeak, but why do that?  And try 
running it on all the platforms Squeak can run.  Compare how it runs 
on different platforms.

Did you think that a solid product like Sibelius was easy to code in 
C, or that it was easier to code Sibelius in C than it would have 
been to code it in Squeak?  A massive effort would need to be 
undertaken in any language, and on any development system to produce 
the identical product.  But this proves little.

Certainly, Sibelius would not be anything like what it is were it 
attempted in VB, and certainly nothing like Sibelius is even remotely 
possible from Hypercard.

But the other hand, have you seriously looked at what others have 
already done in Squeak?  For example, consider Stephen Travis Pope's 
Siren package and his earlier MODE, both described in much greater 
detail at:

 From Stephen's documentation:

The Siren system is a general-purpose software framework for sound 
and music composition and production; it is a re-implementation of 
the Musical Object Development Environment (MODE), the software 
component of the Interim DynaPiano project. Siren is a collection of 
about 200 Smalltalk class libraries for building sound/music 
applications; it is known to work on Squeak running on Macintosh, 
Windows, and UNIX-based computers with support for MIDI and audio 
I/O. These files constitute the full Siren release (with a 
pre-compiled Smalltalk virtual image). The full source code of the 
current version is available via anonymous Internet ftp file transfer 
from the directory pub/Siren on the server (i.e., 
the URL of the directory is

There are several elements to Siren:

*  the Smoke music representation language (music magnitudes, events, 
generators, functions, and sounds);
*  voices, schedulers and I/O drivers (real-time and file-based 
voices, sound and MIDI I/O);
*  user interface components for musical applications (UI tools and 
widgets); and
*  several built-in applications (editors and browsers for Siren objects).

As you can see, having a raw, but malleable content development 
system is often quite useful; sometimes more than a 
What-you-see-is-all-you-get solution.

Makes you think, doesn't it?

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