Learning to Code for Push through the Community

Learning To Code For Ableton Push

The Ableton and Cycling ’74 team is incredibly busy and have a ton of different requests coming in all the time. I know this from experience. When I used to work at IBM, we took a two-day Agile workshop, and in it they spoke about lists of customer requests. For a particular Compiler Team that the instructors worked with directly, they analyzed the feature request list. It’s important to note that IBM is generally incredibly organized when it comes to record keeping. This team’s list was meticulously kept, and each item on it was carefully estimated on Person Effort, and the list contained requests that dated back two decades. From the agile instructor’s analysis, if that team stopped doing everything else, ignoring all new requests, and if the entire team went heads down and were completely focused on building all the features requested from that list – it would take them 40 years to complete!

We, as a team learning to code, are building MIDI Scripting support for a very popular device, called Ableton Push. (Our immediate challenges are described here). We reached out to the Ableton Support team, and they were apologetic that information is limited, but understandably, could not offer any promises on new documentation. Their Max for Live team is crazy busy with probably 20 years’ worth of feature requests. 🙂

Luckily, we are leaning on Ableton and Cycling ’74 communities, which are both well established, and amazing group of fans and enthusiasts have raised up around them. It is through community which we will find our salvation. Where Ableton/Cycling ’74 cannot dedicate their own resources, others have already started documenting, hacking, probing, reasoning and figuring out how to make the Push accessible through Max for Live. I know there are probably many; however, I do want to point out two amazing authors that dive deep into this subject. I know WaveDNA’s development team are going to be carefully following to help us speed through our development.

  • Julien Bayle – has been writing on the general subject of Ableton and Max for Live for a long while. We started using his “unofficial” documentation almost two months ago to plan out and understand what was possible within Max for Live and Push. He is definitely a dedicated musician, and I also believe an advanced coder at heart, as his writing is easy to follow, and he is willing to experiment and try things out. Keep on revealing the secret of the Max universe!
  • Florian Zand – has put together a Push Development Kit, to get you learning to code in Max For Live and Push programming right away. He has done a great breakdown of the Push programmable elements, and given examples and code on how to interact with the different buttons and most importantly the LCD screen. Thanks for putting it all together!

Just recently, we discovered that Cycling ’74 team has dived into building a tutorial around this as well, which is absolutely fantastic! You might also want to check out Darwin Grosse whose journey in Push programming has led many pages of interesting examples and videos.

  1. Day 1
  2. Day 2
  3. Day 3
  4. Day 4


Author: Adil Sardar, Lead Developer

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