Let's play a game.

superflea's picture

Let's play a game.

Tomorrow Apple starts hinting that QC is not with the cool kids anymore and will be phased out or kept only as legacy or whatever (a la iWeb), what do you do?

I'm curious because I've been feeling slightly paranoid about the future of QC lately, and also because I like to imagine some kind of alternative that exists independent from Apple while being exactly the same as the QC we all know and love.

Thoughts?

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itsthejayj's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

This 'game' might be worth playing when OSX lion comes out and NDA's are lifted.

As for your paranoid tenancies i know what you mean, but this is the way of software (a la flash) what you learn through using QC you can use in other programming languages.

I believe QC will be around for a little bit longer, as it is such a great prototyping tool. But its up to us to show the realtime community and Apple QCs potential, this way it will get developed with every OSX release!

Alternatives you might want to look at are Openframe works or Processing.

gtoledo3's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

Your game is either no fun, or totally awesome, hard to decide.

By what do you derive that "QC is not with the cool kids anymore and will be phased out or kept only as legacy or whatever (a la iWeb)"? Lack of hypothetical new features? Not enough? Lack of incorporation where it would seemingly make sense? Just curious about your thought process; in no way agreeing or disagreeing.

QC would probably be a better technology if it weren't bound to Apple release cycles in the fashion it is, or wasn't developed by Apple.

psonice's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

I've been thinking for quite some time that QC's value to apple isn't quite the same as what a lot of people here want it to be :)

Take the average kinnect hack or VJ visualisation we see so often here. What is that worth to apple? Financially, zero. Reputation, perhaps a tiny boost. Against that they have the cost of the development team, and support time. If I was in charge of this department at apple, continuing support for QC based on that wouldn't look appealing at all!

On the other hand, look at it from a purely developer point of view. QC is great for designing fancy UIs (hello time machine), transitions and such. It's a brilliant tool for making video effects, overlays and such for apple's video + design tools (hello final cut, keynote etc.). It's also brilliant for prototyping GLSL shaders (which is where I use it mostly these days).

From that side, I think it's absolutely worth continuing development, but again, if I was in charge, I'd push development in that direction - which could make it worse for some parts of the community perhaps. This is probably also why it's a dev tool, and comes with the SDK instead of being a separate product.

cybero's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

Quote:

or wasn't developed by Apple.

like - Open Source, perhaps ?

idlefon's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

What will I do? Well I'll try to SOMEHOW make them make it an open source app (for which its evolution speed will drastically increase) via an online poll or something. Of course it won't work and then I'll be forced to do arrange a terrorist attack on Apple for ruining this awesome software (I'm from Iran, It'll probably make sense to them :D).

Seriously though, I think the future belongs to open source software. not only free but open source! Just imagine there was no Kineme, do you think Apple had gave a crab about OUR needs??

superflea's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

I don't have an obvious reason why they should drop QC tomorrow, but then I wasn't expecting it with iWeb either.  I was watching a video from wwdc 1997 recently, where Jobs was arguing about OpenDoc (or something like that?), and a developer was basically questioning the decision to drop it. Job's reasoning was essentially that it's great and all, but do we need it? And they didn't, so it was dropped in the interest of simplicity and slimming, which I even understand.

I'm just picturing people at Apple going "but do people actually use it?", and arguing that it doesn't have a place in proper programming, and they wouldn't allow it on iOS anyway, etc. etc. Then again, they're not really giving it a chance, are they? But don't get me started on that..

As I said, it's just a "what if" game, but I love my QC very much, and if Apple one day gives it the cold shoulder wouldn't it be cool if the community got together and built an open source equivalent or something? Would that be even possible? Could Kineme do it?

usefuldesign.au's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

I watched that WWDC 1997 closing address by jobs too (thanks to John Gruber) and I'm pretty clear Jobs said OpenDoc was not such a great technology, maybe an interesting idea but not great from a technical stand point. It also served no role in the Apple strategy as Jobs envisioned it therefore bullet. He said they were essentially rewriting it in Java anyhow, so why bother or words to that effect.

With how ever many ?400,000 iOS apps available we had the diametric opposite of the OpenDoc vision becoming the big play in Apples future didn't we. And did Apple itself even intend for iOS apps to be the big 'ecosystem' play that it is? Who knows but it shows if you make good decisions and good products your luck seems to change for the better ;-)

Was great to watch that video. Marc Andreessen recently said at everything-D conference that people don't realise how terminal tech world insiders considered Apple's prospects to be when Jobs returned and how remarkable (and unparalleled) Apples recovery and accent to market leadership was under Jobs stewardship.

superflea's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

Actually you're right about the OpenDoc thing, I guess it morphed in my head somehow :)

I suppose my fears stem from the fact that I've been noticing some negativity towards the prospects of QC on lion on here, and I couldn't find any sign of it on the developer videos from this year. 

The odd thing is that core animation and quartz are quite prominent in the videos for iOS. I can only guess they want developers to focus on animating in code rather than going the easy way, in order for them to grow as coders.

I still don't see why they wouldn't focus on QC as a great prototyping solution though.

dust's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

Just curious this is all hypothetical? Sorry for chiming in late I have been on vacation. I think quartz composer had it's day in wwdc. There are actual developer examples or sample code downloads available for qc from wwdc. Certainly I would think, now that there are more iPhones than macs that the iOS would get much more attention at wwdc these days.

I didn't attend wwdc but jobs keynote certainly did demo some of qcs new magic in lion. I'm not really at liberty to elaborate as lion things are still confidential. From the current perspective of the quartz framework, it is deeply rooted into the operating system and is an integral component of apples human interface guidelines for both iOS and Mac. I just dont see the technology being abanondend any time soon. I base this on Quartz dealing primarily with graphic related issues and the need for a framework that deals easily with screen related tasks.

Now there is some current debate in regards to apples let's dumb down things in regardes to pro applications and apple not knowing what users need. I haven yet to try any of this new software out yet, so I can not comment but apple certainly knows what people need in order to develop with their systems. Quartz composer being a developer tool owned and curated by apple I believe is in everyones best interest. The quartz framework encapsulates some of the most essential needs and most advanced technologies that almost every application application at this time can benefit from. Quartz composer being a fast and easy high level way to attain acess to these essential things is by far way more useful than iWeb was in my opinion so i do not think anybody has to worry.

Also I think apple may have not at first actually realized how popular qc would be but they certainly could see potential or they would not have purchased the technology. I think kineme is the biggest contributer and proof of qcs success, in regards to support of official plugins that qc now has which in my opinion greatly improved the application. Apple just hired Chris. It was a pretty big deal with apple press related content, so that to me shows that qc is important to future of apple. Not to mention all the top applications using quartz composer and its use in apples own applications. Applications like photo booth that ship with every thing apple makes now is proof enough for me that the technology is important and here to stay for awhile.......

If the current trend is to simplify applications and if this trend carries over into development as well I bet we may see more tools like qc or tools built ontop of qc at an even higher level that simplify things even more. I'm talking stupid simple, well not as stupid simple as iWeb but even simpler than qc already is maybe. I'm glad qc is free, I used shake for many years and would hate to see qc move into an apple pro apps category although there may arguably be a need for a pro development app for the masses that are not entirely familiar with writing code.

The only benefit I see with going open source is that it may facilitate a faster universal cross platform build type of senerio. I think qc is far away from being an open standard in it's own right seeing that qc isn't really one language or may even be considered a language at all.

That's up for debate I suppose as a qtz document is widely considered code. disregarding paradigms it can be more, given the the plugin architecture and protocols a file can utilize. The question should not be to about opening qc up but more about closing it up making it safer and with encryptions but still maintaining the use and extensibility of it's plugin architecture. All those types of things would need to be adressed before opening it up and defiantly before being able to use a qtz file in windows although it would make an awesome unbiqutis and immersive Internet authoring solution if you ask me but again is much more than just that.

cybero's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

Broadly speaking, I'm in agreement with much of what you state regarding the deeply rooted place & consequent significance of Quartz framework[s] to the iOS and OS X.

I don't see a pathway to convert .qtz to a cross platform equivalent any time soon though.

Pity IMHO. [& I agree the likelyhood of a more productive, quicker iteration cycle could well be the result of making QC Open Source].

smokris's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

dust wrote:
I didn't attend wwdc but jobs keynote certainly did demo some of qcs new magic in lion. I'm not really at liberty to elaborate as lion things are still confidential.

Where did you see QC in the WWDC 2011 keynote?

dust wrote:
From the current perspective of the quartz framework, it is deeply rooted into the operating system and is an integral component of apples human interface guidelines for both iOS and Mac. I just dont see the technology being abanondend any time soon. I base this on Quartz dealing primarily with graphic related issues and the need for a framework that deals easily with screen related tasks.

Be careful with terminology.

"Quartz Composer" is a misnomer. Quartz Composer is no more related to the Quartz Framework than anything else in OS X is related to the Quartz Framework.

The Quartz Framework (according to Apple) "provides essential graphics services for applications in two integral parts: the Quartz 2D graphics API and the Quartz Extreme windowing environment."

Apple could eliminate Quartz Composer, without significant impact to their operating system and applications.

dust's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

i was just referring to the new photo booth effects i saw in the keynote. i didn't actually see quartz composer running or anything sorry if i was unclear there.

smokris's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

superflea wrote:
wouldn't it be cool if the community got together and built an open source equivalent or something? Would that be even possible? Could Kineme do it?

We've been thinking about it...

gtoledo3's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

In smokris land, think=currently doing? lol....

vade's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

Those effects have absolutely nothing to do with QC.

mattgolsen's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

A "bolt-on" node based interface over a cross platform language that's already fairly mature? With the abily to switch between regular code and a node layer? Yes, please. I would love it.

jersmi's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

smokris wrote:
We've been thinking about it...
Wow.

kimba23's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

"Thinking" about making an open source qc seems to be a natural path to be taken by kineme. You guys do great stuff, quartz builder rules, kineme 3D is great... i actually own most of your paid plug-ins. So making a fast evolving QC is a no brainer IMO. Of course i bet is not an easy task, and there is probably money to be made. But seeing how much kineme (and its community) know about QC and that there is a "niche" market for it, maybe it is a matter of looking at some numbers. In the other hand, this "thinking" makes me think that apple efforts regarding QC are not as bright as they should be, Also having cwright as an apple employee would make for some conflicts of interest i suppose. Anyways, a Quartz composer Open (QcO) has +100 from me. And i will be willing to pay for it, hands down!

gtoledo3's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

Some of the limiting factors that are ingrained into QC, that keep it from being as useful of a tool as it could be, go hand in hand with it being a tool developed by Apple.

-Limited official patch API. Apple hobbled QC by providing a limited plugin API, while making the full plugin API non-supported. One can speculate that this was perhaps to limit "crazy stuff" from happening, but it also impacts what can and cannot be done with the system easily, documentation, and further, was a duplication of effort that didn't serve our interests, though they may have served Apple's. Also, the non-standard one has some things that one wishes were possible, or easier as well, after delving, but will likely not get updated, because it's not as if you can file a bug on it (and even if you did, who would care or fix it?)

-Framework Updates/Deprecation. Unlike other frameworks, where stuff gets deprecated once it has proven itself to be the wrong path given current technology and "what users want" makes itself more obvious, new methods pop up as consequence, and you know the old stuff is going away, I feel that Apple gauges QC as being a tool for users that cannot handle that kind of concept (perhaps... because they limited a whole subset of users by providing a crappy plugin API, inherently drawing types that get whiny about stuff not working out of the box, or old code getting broken).

-Major Updates go along with OS updates.

-Fundamental parts are tied to frameworks that aren't the Quartz Composer framework, and are therefore subject to breakage whenever they update, without Quartz Composer fixes being pushed concurrently.

-Apple isn't an R&D company.

-Apple doesn't have an interest in making software development extremely rapid or easy for people, up to a certain point.

-Apple has no possible financial interest in a system that allows one to target different operating systems or non-Apple devices.

-Apple has no possible interest in eliminating paradigms that are "wrong" with QC, and quite possible cannot fully conceive of the things that are wrong or limiting with it, or even if people could, why should Apple do that? I bet that many users here have different ideas of what QC should ideally be, and I'd guess that would be similar inside of the hallowed gates of Apple (not being patronizing with that comment at all. I definitely revere what Apple has accomplished at many points in their history).

-QC, the graph editing app, looks good, and is slick to work with. I really, really prefer using it to many other graph/node editors. There are paradigms that are really strong. That said, if one looks at environments like MaxMSP/Jitter, VVVV, and then at things that are being offered by frameworks like Cinder or openFrameworks, I think we probably all feel that the ideal for generating instant, interactive graphics, and maybe even doing other activities, is something that leverages the benefits of all, without repeating mistakes.

-I think the Apple QC team is super smart and savvy. Perhaps we've come to a point though, that all of the reasons above, and reasons that I don't have the willpower or attention to detail at this time of night to list, make it obvious that the ideal system for us, and a larger group of similarly minded people, is something that will never be achieved in Cupertino.

usefuldesign.au's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

I mostly agree except:

gtoledo3 wrote:
-Apple isn't an R&D company.
They aren't not an R&D driven company either. Although acquisition seems to be the path of all the big IT corps today.
gtoledo3 wrote:
-Apple doesn't have an interest in making software development extremely rapid or easy for people, up to a certain point.
Watch the sjobs WWDC 95 closing address where he pitches "5-10 times faster app development" under proposed Rhapsody OS environment. I think they still care about pitching benefits to developers (Microsoft is one always just one hit product away from a comeback), even though there's too many iOS fart app and content thievery developers.

gtoledo3 wrote:
-Apple has no possible financial interest in a system that allows one to target different operating systems or non-Apple devices.
Except developers for iOS/OS X are already using cross platform tools like QT and other shared cross platform C++ libraries to do multi-platform OS X Apps. So why not make life better for them so they lead on the Mac app b/c it's easier and cleaner and then follow on the PC app when the direction is clearer.

gtoledo3 wrote:
-Apple has no possible interest in eliminating paradigms that are "wrong" with QC, and quite possible cannot fully conceive of the things that are wrong or limiting with it, or even if people could, why should Apple do that? I bet that many users here have different ideas of what QC should ideally be, and I'd guess that would be similar inside of the hallowed gates of Apple (not being patronizing with that comment at all. I definitely revere what Apple has accomplished at many points in their history).

-QC, the graph editing app, looks good, and is slick to work with. I really, really prefer using it to many other graph/node editors. There are paradigms that are really strong. That said, if one looks at environments like MaxMSP/Jitter, VVVV, and then at things that are being offered by frameworks like Cinder or openFrameworks, I think we probably all feel that the ideal for generating instant, interactive graphics, and maybe even doing other activities, is something that leverages the benefits of all, without repeating mistakes.

Not having a spread datatype that you can plug into most patches that handle scalars/colours is a big hole. Grasshopper is so nice in that regard. I hear VVVV has that too.

gtoledo3 wrote:
-I think the Apple QC team is super smart and savvy. Perhaps we've come to a point though, that all of the reasons above, and reasons that I don't have the willpower or attention to detail at this time of night to list, make it obvious that the ideal system for us, and a larger group of similarly minded people, is something that will never be achieved in Cupertino.
Mirror mirror on the wall…

smokris's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

Do these two statements:

kimba23 wrote:
Anyways, a Quartz composer Open (QcO) has +100 from me.

and

kimba23 wrote:
And i will be willing to pay for it, hands down!

conflict? (Assuming "Open" in the first quote means "Free/Open Source Software".)

What specific advantages do you (plural) see in a post-Quartz Composer visual programming environment being Open Source Software?

idlefon's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

Fast and vast updates. No more waiting for OS updates. More developers could be in contact with QC's core (source), so they could change more fundamental things (if needed any fix) according to the community's needs. The community will be in direct contact with the developers and could suggest stuff easily.

But probably the most important advantage would be the simple fact that QC's lifespan is no more attached to needs/preferences of just ONE company/organization . It will have many parents so it'll never be left alone!

kimba23's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

smokris you are right..It is a conceptual conflict... i was thinking of something like vvvv, which is not strictly open but free for non commercial use. idlefon's point of not being dependent of apple is one of the strongest.... there are also very trivial/pragmatic reasons like: It is a drag to have to install xcode to use it [i think this really affects its adoption (3 gigs download + registration)]. It would be easier to promote/adopt if it is non dependent of a secretive multinational megacompany; in fact the very existence of kineme, as a set of evolving plug ins and even as a community/website, is a testament of this.

superflea's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

I'd be more than happy to pay for it, open source or not. Does it have to be free if it's os?

I was going to suggest we all pitch in and put some money down to get the thing started. The main platform could be a free download and the plugins could cost money. Or the other way around, or whatever. Anything it takes to make sure the project is well funded and developers have income to assure continued support of the project.

50% of what I use in QC is Kineme stuff already, and I was happy to pay for that. I would almost rather pay for each item rather that have it for free, Kineme based or not. This way I can at least assume that it's ready for proper work and stable. The more hacky/ experimental things can be free. Perhaps there could be a central store where devs can sell their plugins?

cybero's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

Quote:

It is a drag to have to install xcode to use it [i think this really affects its adoption (3 gigs download + registration)]

Unfortunately true.

mattgolsen's picture
Re: Let's play a game.

I don't think Open Source and Pay software are mutually exclusive from each other. There are a few different interesting models you all could use.

Starting with a base editor that is feature complete (compared to QC) as a foundation, which could be open source. This ideally I think should be free. However, an internal app-store/market (don't call it an App Store! :) ) that your plugins could be sold in, as well as other developers would be great. This way, the app gets distributed, people can experiment and play, but also have the ability to extend their capabilities.

I think following the app store type pricing model would behoove you as well. It would make it more accessible to artists, and you could even have tiered pricing based on the environment the plugins are used in (ie. cheaper for personal, limited use, if used in a commercial environment, increased pricing). That would obviously rely on the honor system though.

Modularity would be key though I think. Instead of having standalone apps such as QuartzBuilder, they could be installable modules that give the ability to export sketches/comps as executable.

This sort of thing would create an entire new ecosystem for visual/data artists. Nothing like this exists anywhere.

Thoughts?