iOS Module Browser Update - Need Your Feedback!
  • The iOS module browser needs some love. We want it to be more inviting, organized, and useful. Here are some brainstorms that I'm having, and would love to have your input!

    Note: These are just my ideas, can't guarantee what Taylor will decide to do.

    Module browser would be tabbed with folders.

    Folders can be user-created, but 3-5 would be defaulted: FX Pedals, Modules, Nodes, Forum, Templates.

    These folders would show up in your iCloud drive, and you can create folders, drop patches, and whatever else from your Mac.

    User-created folders would go after "Templates."

    If there are a bunch of folders, they won't compress the tabs so much that the titles get elided (like: FX P... or Mo...) they will at least be the size of the text. More folders can be accessed by swiping across the top of the tabs.

    Audulus will remember the last folder you have open, so if you always use FX pedals, that will always be the first thing that comes up when you press "create," and if you always use Nodes, they will come up.

    Each section would also have a search option that limits dynamically like the patch browser.

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    FX Pedals

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    FX tab is guitar-pedal-people oriented. Just audio in/out - no CV. Deliberately very simple.

    Right at the top of the screen as you open the create menu for the first time is a little introduction/help section. It will explain the basics of audulus signal flow (left to right) and how to use the FX pedals with Audiobus/AUM/interapp audio. You'll be able to hide/expand this section as needed.

    Create a new patch, and tap one of these pedals, and an audio i/o will be automatically created around it.

    Tap another pedal and it's automatically inserted after the last pedal (can of course rewire them if you want).

    The audio i/o will be muted until you turn it on (to prevent feedback, in case you don't have your headphones plugged in).

    The audio i/o will have input/output volume and maybe some extras - thoughts?

    You can swipe up/down to reveal the different kinds of pedals.

    You can swipe left/right on individual kinds of pedals to see more.

    Each FX pedal will be a mini-tutorial inside - very neat and lots of explanation.

    Tag section? Maybe sorts stuff by "time-based" or "modulation" or "sequenced" etc, since stuff like "delay" "reverb" etc., would be redundant with the panel on the left.

    Long press: press and hold on the pedal and you'll get a pop-up option for mono or stereo. If you just tap (no long press) it will just automatically create a mono effect. If you create a stereo pedal, two copies of it will be made for left/right channels. If the next pedal is mono, then it will attach to the left signal by default. If the next pedal is stereo, it will automatically continue the stereo chain.

    There will *intentionally* be not very many of each kind of pedal. We don't want to overwhelm newbies, and this is basically the newbie page.

    Maybe add a few real basic synths that can be put through effects.

    "Soft favorite" where last pedal picked gets put in the 1st position (see modules below).

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    Modules

    The Modules section is more like Eurorack-level stuff with full CV I/O. Slightly more advanced than FX pedals.

    There would be no automatic routing for modules (it just gets too complicated and unnecessary). The handholding is over!

    The help section would explain all the g, m, a, e, etc. labels.

    Module browser is like FX, but has A-Z column on the side so you can quickly tap and skip to a section.

    Tags might be unnecessary? I dunno. Thoughts?

    Favorites - you can tap a little star on any screenshot and it will be automatically added to your user favorites tab. FX pedals wouldn't really need "favorites" since the list would be so small in comparison.

    The most recently used of each module would appear first in that list. So if you have 10 oscillators and you scroll to the back and pick the 10th one, when you scroll down to oscillators again, that 10th one will now be in the 1st position. (This is like a "soft" favorite). Heck, perhaps even the categories can have a "soft favorite" function, where the most used ones get pulled to the top of the create menu. So like if you use Oscillators a lot, they'll be right at the top of the menu instead of Attenuators or something like that. Or maybe we have a switchable Alphabetical sort and Last used sort.


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    Nodes

    Something that's a slog when making repetitive stuff on iOS (like a sequencer with a ton of knobs and lights) is the whole copy/paste rigamarole - create a node, copy it, paste it, copy 2 nodes, paste that, copy 4 nodes, paste that, and so on.

    And maybe some people don't even realize they can or should do that instead of going to the create menu to get a new node every time.

    This solution below would allow you to longpress on a node in the create menu and have a little flexible grid thing come out where you could drag around until you have the right number and orientation of the nodes.

    Need 16 knobs in a horizontal line evenly spaced? Just tap, hold, drag to the right until it reads 16x1, and boom!

    NOTE: It should say 5x3 not 3x5 in the image below!

    image

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    Forum Patches

    This tab would hold a collection of forum patches. The ones in the "Module" browser will all have the same look, standards, etc., and may even include some patches people have posted to the forum, but the Forum browser will present the patches in the form that the original creator made them.

    So if, for example, the original creator doesn't use scaled 0-1 knobs (which play nicely with the e, m, g signals), then that's fine, it's just a peculiarity of the module.

    They would be organized in the same way as modules, except the forum user's handle would be next to the patch collection.

    Perhaps we can even add a function where tapping on the users' name will open a little menu that says "message," which will link you to the forum to message them. Thoughts?

    This would be setting the stage for the eventual "Audulus Marketplace" we've been toying around with creating. Basically you could create and sell patches that would be locked (you can look inside) to other Audulus users through the app. We'd take a small cut, and you'd get a nice little profit. It would encourage people to make more and bigger patches. The marketplace could basically drop in right here where people could have free patches available and paid patches. Thoughts? No guarantees on this btw it's just an idea.

    Forum patches could get updated in small pushes that happen every couple weeks, where nothing about the app itself changes, just what comes with it.

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    Templates would be the "demo" section with modules and forum user patches connected and working together. This would be the place for people to go if they want a ready-to-go synth.

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    User Favorites

    Starred patches would go here.

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    Custom folder(s)

    You could create custom folders that would be like sub-collections of patches. There would be a little + sign in the blank folder that when pressed would open up the other tabs as folders that you could then navigate through and tap to.

    Longpress Node.png
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    FX Tab Help Section.png
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  • Sounds like a cool idea. A few initial questions come to mind:

    Can tabs be re-ordered (e.g. I like Nodes first - you may like FX Pedals first)?
    Users can create tabs - can they delete them? What happens to the contents if they are deleted? (I assume the default tabs can't be deleted.)
    Can user-created tabs be named?
    Will it be possible to export all patches in a tab in a single go - individually or to a zip file?
    Will it be possible to import a set of patches into a (new or existing) user tab in one go?
  • @Bryan58 - ah sorry I wasn't finished yet! Didn't mean to post yet.

    You wouldn't need to re-order the tabs - if you only ever use Nodes, then it's the thing that will pop up when you tap the create menu. It will just remember whatever you looked at last. Adding a "reordering" animation like you can do with internet tabs would seem unnecessary because of this. What do you think? Do you know what I mean?

    User created tabs will be nameable yep!

    Mass export is a good idea!

    Mass import would be awesome too - like people could share their patch collections with one another or something.
  • People like to drag tabs around. There is a video game called league of legends that had a system of organizing stats that lacked draggable tabs and people complained about it for years. The interface expectation with tabs is that you can reorganize them.
  • @RobertSyrett - I understand, and actually since we're talking about custom folders, it might be best to be able to drag them around - good point!
  • @Bryan58 @RobertSyrett - added some more, edited FX pic per suggestions
  • Let's also take into consideration the amount of work involved here ;-)
  • There's a character limit on posts so I had to split off this other section:

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    This shows how in Nodes, you could have a collapsed or expanded view.

    The collapsed view would look like what we have now - a grid of nodes that all fit on the screen at the same time. Maybe we can add some light bounding/coloration to show groupings. I sometimes get lost looking at the big field of nodes there, so having some subtle visual cues might help.

    The expanded view would line all the nodes up one by one with a little "fast facts" description by it that defines the expected inputs and outputs and suggested uses. The deeper manual would still be available online, but this way you wouldn't be forced to go online to learn how to use Audulus.

    The expanded view would be the default for benefit of new users.
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  • Biminiroad - Thanks for the opportunity to comment! Most of your vision sounds great - anything to put better organization around the vast collection of Audulus components available is a good thing. A few comments from my perspective.

    (1) To Taylor's point, consider the effort - I'd rather see A4 released sooner rather than later with all the great new features that are already done (or nearly done) - complete built-in module documentation, UI improvements, audio objects, MIDI I/O, etc. Perhaps component organization can be tackled next, say in version 4.1 :-)

    (2) In my mind, I distinguish between "Factory" components (nodes, modules, tutorial patches, and sample templates) and "User" components (free or for pay available on the internet, in the forum, e-mail, etc) which may not come with the same standards (QC, documentation, etc) as those from the "Factory". Factory components in their original form shouldn't be changed, deleted, etc by the user and should stay separate (i.e. in fixed Factory folders) that are distinguished from User folders.

    (3) Tags (i.e. metadata) - personally, not my thing (I'm a file/folder structure person) - I know others think everything should be in one giant repository where anything you are looking for is immediately retrieved by typing a simple tag into a search field. But I've been burned too many times by corporate hacks who think they know how to build a proper database and end up screwing everything up royally. No tags for me, but of course as a developer you have to cater to both worlds. I do like your idea of "Grid" view & "List" view. In both views, you could have a "Search" field which searches either name or the description text. In Grid view, you could have your tag filter bar (as currently in A3.3) - I wouldn't use the left-hand column as you indicate in your FX Pedals example (redundant, as you say). In List view, your natural sort would be alphabetic (perhaps with an A-Z quick-select field) showing a thumbnail and short (3-4 line) explanation. In addition to the A-Z quick-select, you could also have at the top "Recently Used" and "Favorites" sections. I wouldn't re-arrange anything based on "recently used", but rather have these duplicated (in the list, not physically) and easily available. Similarly for Favorites. Need to consider how many items to include in Recently Used - perhaps something to set in Settings?

    (4) Long-press - great idea to have an option to create multiple copies as a user-defined grid shape. Additional things that could be included in the long-press menu: (a) Detailed help (more complete than the short description) if available in the component, (b) Add to (or remove from) Favorites, (c) Tag (user-components only - again, don't allow any changes to factory components), (d) Preview (don't immediately paste it into your workspace, but rather open in a separate window and from there allow a "select" or "discard"), (e) Share via e-mail, (f) Upload (cloud, forum, etc).

    (5) Forum components - that's a long list of prolific contributors!! I would definitely like to see all the forum patches included from the outset and updated bi-weekly. I'd suggest these go in a separate "Forum" tab as "Not officially supported - use at your own risk. Any questions should be directed to the forum contributor.". Perhaps these should also be protected (read only and unable to delete) the way Factory components should be. A long press on these could include a URL to the forum post where it was last uploaded though that might take quite some time to compile. From there, the author could be messaged.

    (6) As previously discussed, User folders should be nameable, orderable and deleteable (are these really words???). I'm still perplexed about what happens to the patches shown in a user tab if the tab gets deleted. I suggest List View as above (A-to-Z plus Favorites and Recent). You could also have a "Select" toggle (individual or all items) for Share, Export, Zip, etc. Definitely need some sort of mass import / export feature.

    Will continue as other things come to mind.
  • I have to agree with @Bryan58 for the most part. Also, I laughed alound when @Taylor posted "Let's also take into consideration the amount of work involved here ;-)" and I think if we have folders and can be sorted them by date and alphabetically then I would be satisfied. Less is probably more.

    I do think that the nodes should be kept separate as they are elemental building blocks in the context of Audulus. I am also neutral about having access to the forum archive from within the app since visiting the forum and swapping patches as you create them is fun, and I would hope more people should like to visit the forums rather than access their bounty from afar.

    Thanks for bringing in the community for opinions on this one :)
  • I'm with @Bryan58 about tags. I think we ended up with too many tags and they became less useful. So we're in need of some sort of hierarchy, like how we have on macOS. This could be as simple as the typical iOS table view (https://developer.apple.com/ios/human-interface-guidelines/ui-views/tables/).
  • iOS uitableview would be great!... But would we lose the little graphical preview/node icons?
  • Some good ideas here.

    I like the tabs. Speaking of iOS, launching the create menu the first time is slow (Ipad Air here). Perhaps Audulus loads too many modules/nodes in memory. With this tag system, it's probably needed to load less objects and make things faster.

    Minimizing the number of tags, including a search option, having the descriptions of each object in the menu, all those things are good.

    I'm not sure about the "automatic patching" idea (guitar FX). It will add confusion for new users I think (why it works here and not in the module section).

    I like the idea of the forum patches tab. I understand that you guys start thinking including vector graphics for example. We could go then towards more complex and personalized patches. This is great and complementary to the modules. As for the marketplace, why not.
  • So Taylor and I talked about this a lot last night and he basically said what I've suggested above is a ton of work, and that we could do something a little simpler and faster that would still be an awesome solution. First I'll address other people's comments:

    @Bryan58
    MIDI and arbitrary audio I/O are the last two big features that will get added for Audulus 3. The UI redesign will come in 4. The documentation is just an ongoing thing. I'm focusing more on the docs.audulus.com part right now than adding explanations inside each module (which would only be useful to more advanced users). It'll come, but the other stuff will be released first. Taylor nixed the longpress and said there's a way of doing gridding inside the app that would be easier and wouldn't involve him coming up with an animation like I suggested above. Also nothing in the module browser you're able to delete from within the app as it is already, and that won't change. This isn't the patch browser we're talking about (the first menu you see) it's the menu that pops up when you press create. Deleting the folder (not tab anymore) would delete all the patches inside of it. It wouldn't delete the patches that are added from other areas though (like Modules). The folder would likely just duplicate these patches into it once you favorite or add them, so if you delete them, you'd just be deleting a copy and not the original. There already is a "mass import" feature, but you have to do it over iCloud. Just open up the iCloud folder and dump patches you want in there. If you want them in the module browser, dump them in the "modules" folder.

    @robertsyrett
    Not sure about the icons (i just typed iCon, lol). I don't personally have a use for them, and if they make loading slow, then it seems losing them in favor of faster building would be good. It's mostly eye-candy after all. Taylor talked about still having them in the table view, but i think either they'd be so small that you couldn't see much of what's going on, or they'd be so big that the list they're in would take 3-4 times as long to scroll through since each item would be so much wider.

    @sansnom
    The loading time of the create menu has to do with generating the thumbnails of the modules. The autopatching thing would be something you could turn on/off and would be mentioned in the help section.

    (New sketches in post below this one coming soon)
  • @biminiroad - lol, you ask me for something which is very hard to answer for me :)

    I dont have the ios version and i dont think that i will have it anytime soon cause 700 bucks for an ipad only to use it with audulus is just crazy...

    ...in windows there is no module browser or a open module folder function in the right click menu, etc.. i m still waiting to get an update... i really hope to get on soon.. cause i m a bit annoyed of the insert modul from the menu already..

    everything else here sounds nice but i doubt to see this on windows anytime soon haha
  • @Phal_anx hah that's ok! I just figured I'd copy/paste that list of names from the forum patches to get people's opinions.

    Are you talking about insert module from the right click menu? Or you need to do it from the top menu bar? I'm getting a Windows set up here today so I can get more familiar with the UI on Windows.

    BTW this probably wouldn't be for computer - the whole table navigation is touch-oriented. It's much faster to menudive through the right click menu. Plus, Taylor would have to write custom code for Windows, whereas for iOS this is just drag and drop stuff.

    There will be a click-to-search option in the future like Pd has that will make things go a lot faster, and we're going to add snap to grid and grid copy/paste too (take an individual node and tell it to make 10 rows of 5, instead of having to copy/paste over and over.
  • @biminiroad - :) there is no such thing as a insert module in the right click menu in 3.3

    this is only possible via the menu bar icon on the top left... it wouldnt be that annoying if it would at least remember where you saved your modules but when you use the insert modul option in the menu bar you always start at the documents folder.. where i dont save a thing :D so i need to navigate everytime to my 2nd hdd, there i need to navigate to the corret folder and there i can only choose 1 modul to open in the current patch... and do the whole story again and again until i have every modul i needed to load.. this can take up to 2mins before i can even start connecting and playing around... its as i said annoying as hell :D
    but when u get a windows pc now you can see that by yourself and start to hate this way of working :D :D

    you def should not get me wrong! i love audulus and its possibilities + i see alot of potencial of this great software... but for now i simple dont/cant use it for proper music production.
  • @Phal_anx Ah, you're talking about a custom folder for your own modules, right? Not the built-in module library?
  • @biminiroad - exactly - i m happy how the build-in module libary works. i think it should def stay that way. only the custom needs a fix/to be implemented.
    we already talked about it a month or so ago... :)
  • @Phal_anx ahh yes! Gotcha. That's definitely on @Taylor's radar :) Sorry for the wait! He's been fixing that bug and then we're trying to get audio I/O finished before Moogfest. Dunno the ETA on that - sometimes things like that are a 10 min job and sometimes it's like hours of work, I have no idea. I'm glad Audulus is worth it ATM though - what I used to do before custom modules was I had a folder open in a window next to Audulus and would drop in patches like that. Sacrifices the maximized screen view, but a decent workaround if it works for ya
  • @biminiroad - of course i wait... i have no other solution than wait :D

    btw.. drag and drop doesnt work either
  • Rising from the dead here to say +1 for favorite/recent modules. I haven't done much with the modules system partly because I'm used to working with the basics. However, being able to quickly get to modules I use would help a great deal.
  • @jjthrash - you can kinda already do that by retagging things as "favorite" (or maybe "AAA" so it appears as the first tag alphabetically.

    @Phal_anx - what do you mean by drag and drop?
  • I like how things are organized on the desktop version with folders a whole lot ... especially the fact that I can use my own folder structure to drive the cascading menu. Tags are less useful to me in that respect.

    A couple suggestions:

    * automatically separate my modules from the system-default ones
    * automatically separate downloaded modules as well (sort of like a "downloads" folder)
    * ability to define online documentation for nodes within the node, and have that visible in the patch browser

    I agree with the "less is more" sentiment :-)
  • @biminiroad - i meant drag n drop -> open windows explorer, navigate to the folder where i saved my patches and just drag and drop them into the opened/newly started audulus patch window... that would be a neat feature! also i wouldnt need a "open modul folder" which i still wait eagerly to get...
  • @Phal_anx ahh yes, cause you're on Windows right right sorry hah! Gotcha.

    @plurgid - good suggestions, thanks!
  • Looking forward to these ideas being implemented. Forum patches, big yes, comprhensive module list, big yes, fx (in-out pedal style) big yes.
  • @ErlindBasha - Thanks! I'm getting caught up on email, will finalize documentation, and then work on retooling the module library - this stuff will come before the UI is replaced too!
  • I would love to see the "factory" modules separated from everything else with some form of write protection. You should be able to copy a factory module and modify it, but should not be able to accidentally change a factory module. After a few updates and fooling around I'm not sure if my copy of the original modules are still as intended or accidentally changed. Nodes are fundamental building blocks and cannot be modified and Audulus supplied modules should be somewhat similar. I think there should be a way to limit your selection to just nodes if you would like to start from the fundamentals. I find the current iOS interface somewhat confusing, and a bit of a pain when you need to add a number of elements to a design. It would be better if you could touch, select create, select nodes or modules and then select the elements you needed and then select "done". As it stands if you need two of something you have to select create, select the item, select create, select the item or copy and paste. Better if you could go into create mode and then select the items you need without having to re-enter create mode.
  • @stschoen - you can't write over the "factory" modules - you can write over the default patches that appear when you first open it up. But you can't actually change the modules in the create menu. If you want to restore the originals, you just need to go into the wrench icon and click "restore content."
  • That's good to know. I guess I was making an assumption that editing the module in the modules directory on iCloud would change the "factory modules. I might have been thinking of an earlier version.
  • @stschoen - that would, but the solution there is to just not modify them in that folder. User patches are kept separate. But to restore those if you have messed around with them, you just need to reinstall Audulus (makes sure you back up your patches of course).

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