Touchscreen programming

As more and more people use touchscreens, it still irks me that we lack good ways of programming “on” devices reliant on them (i.e. native feeling – rather than modified text editors). As a result they seem designed entirely around consumption of software (see also the “The coming war on general-purpose computing”).

So lets make them programmable. Recent steps in this direction are based on Jellyfish – an idea to create a kind of locative livecoding virus game (more on that as it unfolds), starting with fluxus on android (now called nomadic) and a good dose of Betablocker DS, mixed with some procedural 3D rendering inspired by the Playstation2’s mad hardware, and icons previously seen on the Supercollider 2012 flier!

This is a screenshot of it’s current early state, with the Linux/Android versions side by side (spot the inconsistency in wireframe colour due to differences in colour material in OpenGL ES). Main additions to the previous android fluxus are texturing and text rendering primitive support. I’m glad to say that pinch-to-zoom and panning are already working on the code interface, but it’s not making too much sense yet to look at.

7 thoughts on “Touchscreen programming”

  1. I like your post dave, and am happy to see people pushing the limits of these devices rather than let them become prisoners of media consumption! I personally just picked up my first smartphone today, the Razr M. I was looking for fluxus for android and see now that it is called nomadic. Please forgive my ignorance but is it possible to compile this on my android device itself? I Have no idea what i’m doing on android yet. 😛 thank you for all your hard work. Cant wait to make cube fractal on here.

    1. Hi Timothy, the package from last year is here: (you’ll need to enable your phone to install from “untrusted sources” or somesuch to install it).

      I haven’t released nomadic yet, but I’ll try to get it on the play store in the next couple of days. It would be good to hear how it works for you as I’ve got quite an old model phone now. The scheme API doesn’t cover much of the standard fluxus functionality yet – e.g. no immediate mode (draw-*) stuff, but I’m adding gradually to this. The toolchain from google is pretty good – fluxus uses the native “NDK” as its written in C++ rather than running in the Java VM so there are added complexities, but it’s not too bad.

  2. I spent a few hours today trying to compile an Android app to no avail. I really don’t know enough yet to figure that out. I did get the Linux version running though. If you do a quick little write up of the steps involved I will be happy to test.

    On another note i have tried the fluxus for Android apk and it works but I can’t get the text window to display to edit it. This model phone has no “hard” buttons.

    I think nomadic is really neat but what i want is just text interpreter because i am really into racket and because i have a blue tooth keyboard 🙂

  3. That was fluxus 0.0.2 I was speaking of,. The one from link you gave me works to get the editor up Fine.

  4. What I meant was the basic fluxus environment with code overlay would be what I’d like to see on Android. With the focus on small scripts, i always felt fluxus would be awesome on touchscreen. But Im really curious too about how nomadic works on Android and can’t wait to try it out!

  5. Code overlay is not there yet in nomadic’s basic fluxus environment, although I’m not convinced that text is the right approach for touchscreen – hence jellyfish approach… Stay tuned 🙂

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