SoftStep API

Share your wishes for the future of SoftStep.
Stew
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:12 am

SoftStep API

Postby Stew » Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:58 pm

As has been mentioned in passing in a couple of other threads, it would be great if KMI would open up the API so that people could develop their own alternatives to KMI's app mode.

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=136#p818
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=320#p1339

@KMI, any thoughts as to whether this might happen at some stage?
Peace,
TheSupport@KMI
Posts: 726
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:30 pm

Re: SoftStep API

Postby TheSupport@KMI » Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:45 am

Have you checked out the SoftStep Max/MSP Development Kit yet? We released it a short time before the 1.2 software. You can access the raw sensor data from the SoftStep (as well as Foot On, Pressure, X & Y Position, and X & Y Count) and directly communicate with the SoftStep's LEDs and display.

You can now make your own custom SoftStep software!

You can download it on the SoftStep downloads page of the KMI website: http://www.keithmcmillen.com/softstep/downloads/
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Stew
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:12 am

Re: SoftStep API

Postby Stew » Sat Aug 06, 2011 3:31 am

Hey Carson,

That's pretty cool. I dabbled a bit with Max/MSP at Uni but not for a while now ... and I've got Ableton Live Suite but not Max4Live. I would imagine I'd be able to get some pretty cool stuff going on with Ableton & SoftStep using the Max Development Kit.

I wonder you end up with a similar issue to using the SoftStep app though, Max/MSP is pretty resource hungry. And I'd still want to integrate external midi devices like my Digitech pedalboard too. Is it possible to use SoftStep in standalone mode with the midi expander but still have Max (or M4L) reading the raw sensor data via USB?

I guess the reason why others were asking for the API was to write the most efficient code for converting raw data into midi so that all the good stuff in SoftStep could be accessed without the computer performance hit.

I can understand why Keith said KMI wouldn't be doing a Cocoa app, it doesn't make sense for you guys considering the effort it would take and that you're marketing to both Mac & PC users. However if the full API was released then it allows others to write apps in Cocoa (or whatever language) that may lead to more streamlined ways of using SoftStep with a computer ... let alone what other things they might dream up!

<confession> I don't even own a SoftStep yet. I've been lurking around here for a few weeks now, poking my nose into everyone's business trying to work out if I can justify spending the cash. Not that I think SofStep is expensive, I actually think it's cheap for what it is. But we've got a bub on the way and the usual household outgoings that never seem to leave quite enough over at the end of the month. Typical story really. Anyway I know it's a cool product but I haven't got to the point yet where I'm thinking "That's it, I've gotta have one!"</confession>
Peace,
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Macciza
Posts: 157
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:23 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: SoftStep API

Postby Macciza » Sat Aug 06, 2011 5:14 am

Hi Stew
I would suggest just taking the plunge and getting one - it will find a place in your setup.
I do a bit of Max as do others on this list so yes some 'custom' stuff will end up coming out.
It is a 'Max app' there kinda is no 'full API' that would allow others to write in other languages apart from Max
Currently the pedal does most of what other pedals do, quite a bit that no other pedal can do and more . . .

The 'resource' issue is not as great as it used to be ( nor as much of an issue as many make out imho)
With the last Mac update it is down to about 650M - it should not be an issue running Live, SoftStep and other apps on a MacBook with 4G of ram and I believe any one doing music should have at least that in their notebooks. It is also important to have a separate user setup for music-making only that maximises ram availability. Lots of additional system features off or manually controlled etc. . . And no internetting whilst doing music etc. . . .

I use the SS with a Roland Vg 99, and FC300 footpedal, a KMI StringPort and it's software, Live, Max etc and other apps and continue to find surprising uses, and limitations that become possibilities to develop.
Different pedals do things differently - my FC300 sends sysex to the VG so patch changes take forever . . . . however i can send PC messages from the SS and the change is almost instant. Yes the VG has other modes that can send PC's but then I lose the name function etc etc Everything has it's pro's and cons . . .

I realise various people have different requirements, expectations and priorities re choosing this product as well as vastly different musical setups to integrate it into but I truly believe it has a lot to offer and that we have really only scratched the surface regarding what it can do.

<confession>I am a very early adopter of the device wanting one before it was even released</confession>
I keep meaning to post some videos of some of the stuff I have been doing but havent for various reasons . Will be able to now as I just got an ext iSight camera for my iMac.

Cheers
MM
KMI StringPort_1650, SoftStep_VK2 v1.2 & MIDI Expander; Mac_Moore Guitar,
Roland VG 8, 88 & 99, YamahaVL 70m; OSX 10.6.8, iMac i7 2.8G QC; MaxMSP 5.1.8, Ableton Live 8.2.2, M4L, SC3, QC, cSound, etc, etc,
Stew
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:12 am

Re: SoftStep API

Postby Stew » Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:15 pm

Go on then Macciza ... post some videos and push me over the edge ;-)
Peace,
Axel
Posts: 26
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 12:04 pm

Re: SoftStep API

Postby Axel » Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:00 am

Macciza wrote:

> It is a 'Max app' there kinda is no 'full API' that would allow others to write in
> other languages apart from Max

Exactly. That's why this thread is how it would be useful to have a full API for the software on the Softstep pedal.

> Currently the pedal does most of what other pedals do, quite a bit that no other
> pedal can do and more . . .

There is a fundamental problem with not allowing other software to talk to a foot pedal that has 3 (I'm counting the yellow :)) Leds and a 4 digit display. You will want to have those visual aids give you hints about the state of your program. E.g. I would like to have the red led flash while I'm recording a loop with my software. Sure I could set up a toggle function in the editor. But I also have a global reset function that I trigger with another button on the Softstep. This also stops the the loop recording, but the Softstep doesn't know about that, so it would stupidly continue flashing and not correctly represent the state of the program anymore. If I could control the flashing of the Led from my software I could update the state of the Led every time the recording state changes. This would be two lines of code. Two lines of code that would do more than the whole huge wanna-do-it-all editor currently is able to do.

By the way, I can do this already with my super cheap Akai LPD 8 editor. If I hadn't bought a Softstep I would have made a footswitch out of the Akai. But I thought: The Softstep also has a display and 3 Led colors instead of one. And it looks great and I would never be able to build something like that on my own. The Softstep could do so much more than the Akai. It just needs to be unlocked. Bring on the API.

> I believe any one
> doing music should have at least that in their notebooks.

I think this is a rather exotic opinion. My software that deals with vastly more data than the softstep editor (we're talking orders of magnitude!) uses only a fraction of the ram. People should not be forced to upgrade their ram because of inefficient software, i.e., software that is used for something it isn't really meant to do.

> have a separate user setup for music-making only that maximises ram availability.
> Lots of additional system features off or manually controlled etc. . . And no
> internetting whilst doing music etc. . . .

I think saving 10 Mb of ram here and 2 Mb there just to allow one big extremely unefficient software to eat all the ram that 50 other processes use for breakfast and then some, is the wrong way to tackle the problem.

I don't know Max, but my guess would be that KMcM chose it since it already has good midi and osc support out of the box. The problem is probably that it's just not made for applications like an editor.

> <confession>I am a very early adopter of the device wanting one before it was
> even released</confession>

I also heard about the softstep before it was released. Since then, I've been wanting one. Now I have one and I want to use it to its fullest potential. I want to do step sequencing on it and I want the possibility to have it display my emails, should I decide this would be a good idea. And I don't want to have to buy a propriatary software that I have utterly no use for otherwise to be able to do it.

I'm actually quite hopeful... I think, there's something in the works ;-)
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Macciza
Posts: 157
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: SoftStep API

Postby Macciza » Sun Aug 07, 2011 7:38 pm

Hi Axel
I think you should find a bit more out about Max - the programming environment. As SS is a Max app the API is the Max objects for Max development - what exactly do you expect ? The MaxDevKit IS the API!

Re the global reset and SS not knowing issue - please check out the 'Key n Pressed' and 'Other Key Pressed' sources in order to achieve what you want. The SS can already do what you want here.

Re The 4G RAM issue. This is industry standard opinion. Also on early Macbooks withs 3G software limit it is better to put 4G in matched pairs . In desktop machines max out the ram as best you can. This is not particularly aimed at SS support but is general best practice. So in my opinion anyone who is trying to get by with 2G ram has little argument to offer if they have mem issues - they need more fullstop.

Separate user is also pretty standard fare - I don't need all sorts of background process's running if what I want to do is make music. It's not just RAM but the background processes, disk access etc . .

As I said find out more about Max, before passing judgement - it is perfectly suited to applications such as the SS and far more. The fact that it was a Max app was a major part of it's appeal for I figured access would be made available in Max (and yes you could get max to display your emails via the SS if you wanted) - not as a C/C++/C# library. If this is the path you want to pursue I would suggest checking out the monome/arduino community and build/code your own pedal . . .

Cheers
MM
KMI StringPort_1650, SoftStep_VK2 v1.2 & MIDI Expander; Mac_Moore Guitar,
Roland VG 8, 88 & 99, YamahaVL 70m; OSX 10.6.8, iMac i7 2.8G QC; MaxMSP 5.1.8, Ableton Live 8.2.2, M4L, SC3, QC, cSound, etc, etc,
Stew
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:12 am

Re: SoftStep API

Postby Stew » Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:34 pm

Macciza wrote:

> Re The 4G RAM issue. This is industry standard opinion. Also on early
> Macbooks withs 3G software limit it is better to put 4G in matched pairs .
> In desktop machines max out the ram as best you can. This is not
> particularly aimed at SS support but is general best practice. So in my
> opinion anyone who is trying to get by with 2G ram has little argument to
> offer if they have mem issues - they need more fullstop.

Macciza, you're obviously experienced with making music on computers (it shows from your other posts) and while I respect your experience I do take exception to the comment above.

"industry standard" ... ? which particular industry are you referring to? I've spent many years working in commercial music production, mostly multitrack productions involving real live musicians, remember them ;-). As I'm sure you are well aware, multitrack recording doesn't place the same kind of burden on memory. Latency and disk IO are the main culprits. I've been running 2GB of ram on my macbook for years now and often use G4/G5/MacPros in studio environments with only 2GB ram without issue. Sure, if you're doing stuff with samples, virtual instruments or Max/MSP the playing field changes pretty quickly, but for recording audio 2GB is plenty.

It's one of the big reasons I'm holding off from buying SoftStep at the moment. As I've said before money is tight, so even dropping the small amount for SoftStep is a big consideration at the moment. I'd love to be able to get a new Macbook Pro too, maxed out to whatever amount of ram you can stuff in them these days (is it 8GB?) but that's so far out of budget at the moment it's not even worth thinkning about.

Funny thing is my liitle ol' Macbook keeps on plugging away. If the processor gets too bogged down, I bounce/freeze tracks. Ok, it can be a bit sluggish with a full session running, but it's still going. Much as I WANT to upgrade I don't NEED to. However it sounds like I would HAVE to if I wanted to run SoftStep.
Peace,
Stew
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:12 am

Re: SoftStep API

Postby Stew » Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:36 pm

... just out of interest Macciza, are you using Max4Live, Ableton & Softstep together?
Peace,
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Macciza
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: SoftStep API

Postby Macciza » Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:01 pm

Hi
Yes - I do run M4l, SS Editor and Live together as well as others. Worked when I had 4G but have since upgraded.

I still stand by my RAM comments - systems are increasing larger - if your machine came with 2G; add more - if it is moderner and came with 4G add more. It will give better results than juggling/complaining about RAM issues. In line with that I added an extra 8G to mine recently. If I had a MacBook I would make sure it had at least 4G. Am well aware of the various ram issues with music making and thats why I go with these rules, fast drives etc. i need to provide the best resources I can to avoid any possible issues. RAM can be found fairly cheaply these days.

For a 'gigging' machine I am actually thinking that a new MacMini would be ideal and reasonably cheap, as an alternative to MacBookPro.
Various possibilities in setup and control etc, could give good results but it is not an actual laptop . . .

Cheers
MM
KMI StringPort_1650, SoftStep_VK2 v1.2 & MIDI Expander; Mac_Moore Guitar,
Roland VG 8, 88 & 99, YamahaVL 70m; OSX 10.6.8, iMac i7 2.8G QC; MaxMSP 5.1.8, Ableton Live 8.2.2, M4L, SC3, QC, cSound, etc, etc,

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