We’ve done our best to answer some of our most frequently asked questions here. Answers will be added/amended as required, and are in no particular order.
- Can I use my iPad/iPhone with the webMIDI interfaces?
- Why can’t I use my iPad/iPhone with the webMIDI interfaces?!?
- Why are the webMIDI interfaces only for Windows 10!?!
- Why don’t I qualify for the Traxus Control Traktor WebMIDI Beta
- Regarding the webMIDI interfaces: why Chrome?.. why in a browser?..
- What the hell is webMIDI?
- Earlier you said that part of the benefit of webMIDI was that it could work on any screen size, why do I need a huge screen to run the Traxus Control Traktor Interface?
- Are you going to charge money to use your interfaces?
- What do you do with my email address and account info? Do you redistribute it?
1. Can I use my iPad/iPhone with the webMIDI interfaces?
No. Not yet at least.
2. Why can’t I use my iPad/iPhone with the webMIDI interfaces?!?
Although iOS devices have a more than capable touchscreen for use with our interfaces, they are not fully qualified to use our browser based MIDI interfaces.
Our webMIDI interfaces rely on a technology / w3 specification known as the webMIDI API. At the time of this writing, the only web browsers that support this technology are Opera and Google Chrome.
Regrettably, google Chrome on iOS does not yet appear to support webMIDI. There are further questions as to whether a user would be able to route MIDI from a browser on iOS into another device but we will look into that once there is a webMIDI capable browser.
3. Why are the webMIDI interfaces only for Windows 10!?!
Okay, they aren’t *really* but Windows 10 has the best multi touch support out of the box.
Technically you can run the webMIDI interfaces on any OS that has a browser that supports the API. Windows 10 just happens to be the easiest for us to test and support at the moment (for instance, it is rumored that MacOS uses need third party drivers in order to utilize a touch screen monitor).
Additionally, not all interfaces require a touchscreen (but sometimes the best way to realize a feature is to require a user to hold one button while pressing another etc…).
4. Why don’t I qualify for the Traxus Control Traktor WebMIDI Beta
To qualify for the beta we require 4 things:
- That you’re running Windows 10
- That you’re running Chrome v 60 or later
- That you have a touchscreen
- That your touch screen is a decent size (AT this time we do not intend to make Traxus Control Traktor responsive or mobile friendly)
5. Regarding the webMIDI interfaces: why Chrome?.. why in a browser?..
This is a multi faceted answer.
- We got our start making interfaces in the Lemur app for iPad Android. Lemur uses a proprietary programming language that you must use within the context of their GUI editor. This was a very powerful platform and we had a lot of fun using it but we very quickly hit a glass ceiling in the environment. For instance:
- Interface layout was a real pain. Most of us are web developers and are used to the CSS box model plus its ability to create pixel perfect layouts. Migrating to something that could be built in a browser was a no brainer.
- Furthermore, adjusting a Lemur interface to fit into a viewport/screen that was different than the one it was designed for was an absolute nightmare with larger interfaces such as Traxus Control Traktor for Lemur. We ended up running two unique branches of the exact same interface in order to support the interface on iPads as well as our 23 inch android tablets. Code changes had to occur in each branch independently. This was a deal breaker. By building interfaces as web pages we have the option to leverage responsive web design techniques such that one code base can in theory fit any screen size.
- The editor was a hybrid of GUI drag and drop features and an oddball programming language. We’ve grown to prefer a solution that allows us to code everything by hand if necessary as this allows maximum control over what we build.
- The file output by the editor was not conducive to version controlling; and the editor would crash frequently.
- The Lemur app costs $25 a copy, and we weren’t getting a dime of that. We’re not bitter, but it became clear to us that people would often buy the app specifically because they had seen the power of our templates. Understandably, an affiliate program would have been difficult for them to sort out but there is no incentive for template developers beyond notoriety.
- The Lemur app is starting to stink of abandon ware.
- The barrier of entry for someone to use a webMIDI interface is substantially less than that of the Lemur App.
- For simpler interfaces, all you really need is Google Chrome, a virtual midi setup, and a destination for your MIDI signals. If you’re reading this on a desktop computer you can likely get started for free.
- Accessing the interface can be as easy as clicking a link. No uploading templates etc…
- Distribution of interfaces, whether free or paid, is far easier than on any other platform.
- We might be able to port our code over to ElectronJS to provide standalone interface apps.
- Finally. In 2012 The W3C Put out a call to browser manufacturers to turn their software into a creative sandbox for the digital music community. Chrome and Oprea answered, and now it is our turn; we want to encourage browser vendors to continue to support these standards. See question 6. What the hell is webMIDI? for more details. Cheers to these early adopters, your efforts have not gone unnoticed.
That’s the brief version, but hopefully we covered the important bits.
6. What the hell is webMIDI?
The WebMIDI API is a specification put out by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that requests browsers support MIDI input and MIDI output the same way Traktor or Ableton or any other piece of music software you know and love does.
For reference, the W3C basiaclly decides how the web and webpages will work. Everything from video playback to encryption on your bank account website.
In our humble opinion, webMIDI along with the webAudio API stands to be one of the most liberating advancements to ever grace the realm of music technology. This is on par with the ability to score written music or record live audio for playback.
Stick around awhile and we’ll do our damnedest to get you on the same page.
7. Earlier you said that part of the benefit of webMIDI was that it could work on any screen size, why do I need a huge screen to run the Traxus Control Traktor Interface?
When building our webMIDI interface technology, we took the ill advised move of solving several problems at once:
- We needed an interface layer that dealt with multitouch control, as well as object generation such as pads, faders, knobs etc…
- We needed a webMIDI layer that allowed us to wire up the pads, faders, knobs etc.. to the destination software/hardware (ie a way to map the faders to a MIDI cc)
- Once we laid the bare-bones foundation for those two items, we hit the ground running and began development of the Traxus Control Traktor interface.
- In other words, we built all three at once.
In other words, we were too distracted solving for unknown variables to be bothered by also making an interface that would scale responsively. Traxus Control Traktor runs natively at 1920×1080 because that’s what we had available to test on. Some of the buttons ended up fairly small even at this resolution so shrinking them further risks making the interface un-usable.
That said, the option to make an interface responsive is always available, and that option is part of what makes the technology so attractive to us.
8. Are you going to charge money to use your interfaces?
*But* we will never retroactively charge money for something that was free.
Currently this is a side gig for everyone involved. If ever it can become something that puts food on the table, or even a few new records in the crate you’ll understand that we have interest in facilitating that scenario.
See the answer to question 8.
Basically, we want to keep our options open for now. We spent several hundred hours of our unpaid free time on this. You can always open source your code later… but you can never close the flood gates once they are open.
In the meantime, we encourage you to roll your own solutions rather than using our code. Sure, you could (with enough time) reverse engineer what we’ve got but we think there is a better idea: re invent the wheel. Then, lets compare notes. Chances are, you will have innovative solutions that we did not think of and vice versa.
10. What do you do with my email address and account info? Do you redistribute it?
No, we do not redistribute your email address or account info.
We do add you to our personal email blast list which is used to alert you of new updates to interfaces and other things pertaining to Traxus Interactive.
We additionally track when you download a Lemur interface or when you fire up a webMIDI interface for our own metrics.