I Didn’t Intend to Write about Interface Design…

Now that I’m settling into the flow, development of Fedora’s upcoming Musicians’ Guide (my Summer Coding 2010 project) is progressing much more quickly.  The most surprising thing is that, even if I already know the software well, it can take quite a bit of research and thought to document a method for accomplishing even simple tasks!  It’s not every day that users and developers are forced to think carefully about what they’re trying to do.  Considering some confusing GUI layouts, which can be nearly impossible to figure out unless you’ve already used similar(ly opaque) software, it’s little wonder that more musicians aren’t jumping onto the open-source bandwagon.  Sometimes, of course, there really is no better way to represent the features required.  Software that is designed to imitate a hardware device is probably better off looking like that device than trying to re-invent an intuitive interface.

Testing is now underway for some of the algorithms.  In particular, PulseAudio and JACK configurations need to be tested.  Please visit this web page for details, if you would like to help out.  Remember, the more people who test these algorithms, the better they will be, and the more useful the resulting documentation will be.  Besides, we may be able to unearth a few software bugs here and there!

The three most difficult (for me) programs are coming up this week: Ardour, Qtractor, and Rosegarden.  I want to be sure to capture the unique capabilities of each program, rather than simply writing about the same tasks with three different applications.  I expect to encounter the greatest difficulty with Qtractor, which is still “Alpha” software, and seems to lack any sort of documentation at all.  Perhaps they would be interested in adapting a chapter of this Guide when it’s finished…


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