Virtual VM Developers Conference?

Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:35 am

Virtual VM Developers Conference?

Post by terrymcg » Mon Mar 15, 2021 1:33 am

What follows is based on my opinion/experience (yours may well differ), and isn't intended as a gripe at Cherry Audio in any way.

Some recent struggles with Toggle Button skins crystallized a question that I'd been toying with for a few weeks now: Is it time for a Voltage Modular Developers Conference? Free (in the Open Source tradition), virtual (in the Voltage Modular tradition), and spread over a couple/few days (to reach as many participants as possible)?

Since it's introduction, Voltage Modular has attracted both end-users and independent module developers in a fashion very similar to the Euro-Rack hardware it emulates – rapidly and widely. The community includes both newcomers and much more experienced veterans of both types. While there are many resources available to assist those new to modular synthesis and/or Voltage Modular, the same can't currently be said for those joining the ranks of module developers or existing developers looking to improve the quality of their modules.

Cherry Audio's documentation for Voltage Modular Designer provides a good “Hello World” introduction to module development, but moving beyond that stage requires a great deal of information that is only available via the “trial and error” learning method. Having some sort of Developers Conference could provide a mechanism for sharing this sort of information in a more effective fashion. The intention isn't to provide Java/DSP training, or for veteran developers to give away their “Secret Sauce”, just to make some of the more common development hurdles less significant and, at the same time, possibly improve the overall quality of our modules.

Subjects for “Sessions” might include things like:
  • Writing good “ProcessSample” code.
  • Working with Triggers and Gates (Inputs and Outputs).
  • Implementing an Oscillator (using OscillatorBaseClass, assuming it's possible).
  • Profiling for Performance.
  • Style/Coding Guidelines/Suggestions.
  • Working with External tools (Eclipse, git, etc.)
  • UI Design/Coding – Knobs, LEDs and friends.
  • Creating Skins and working with the Skin Editor.
  • Product Management using Nebula.
  • Module Bundling - Do's and Don'ts.
  • ???
Some subjects might be best addressed by Cherry Audio, but existing independent developers will have a wealth of knowledge about many other relevant topics. And while a bunch of “sticky” posts here on the forum might suffice at some level, I think a more organized event would hopefully provide more in-depth knowledge exchange as well as an opportunity for some social interaction.

Does a this sound like an interesting idea to you? One that you'd be willing to participate in, either as an attendee or as someone with know-how to share? Are there subjects you'd like to see added to the list?

It's quite possible that I'm overthinking things (wouldn't be the first time), but on the other hand, if you find module development a total breeze, then you've likely got something special going on (at least I think you do!), so why not share some? :)


Terry McG
(Black Cloud Industries)

Posts: 117
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 4:09 pm
Location: KENT, UK.

Re: Virtual VM Developers Conference?

Post by JackOats » Tue Mar 16, 2021 10:05 am

Does this sound like an interesting idea to you? One that you'd be willing to participate in...?

Thank you Terry. :)
iMac 27/Catalina/3.5 GBh Intel Core i7/16 GB Ram/3 TB HD
The masculine includes the feminine (Guys)
Google: 'JackOats' to see my Soundcloud page, 'Brian Watterson - Vimeo' for my Videos.

Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2019 4:03 pm

Re: Virtual VM Developers Conference?

Post by josephbottinger » Tue Mar 16, 2021 10:53 am

I'd be in.

Posts: 100
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2020 7:46 pm

Re: Virtual VM Developers Conference?

Post by ColinP » Tue Mar 16, 2021 7:02 pm

This sounds like an interesting idea but I'm not sure how many developers have the time to get involved with a single intense event. I suspect many are juggling development with other commitments and don't really have "spare" time beyond maybe 20 minutes per day.

Also I've been to a few academic conferences and trade shows over the decades and the real benefits seem to come from networking in a restaurant or over a few beers in a bar rather than the main event. I'm not sure how this would work over the net.

Another problem is that there aren't actually that many VM developers.

In academic conferences people write, present and publish papers, but academics generally have the time to do so and are used to being pressured to produce papers on a regular basis. In reality only about 5% of these papers are actually of any use.

Sticky posts might be an idea but then the volume of posting on this forum is pretty low so it's relatively easy to comb through past posts.

What might be more useful is for you to frame a number of direct technical questions about development on a weekly basis and hope that developers chip in with thoughtful responses so that over time a knowledge bank is established. But then that is already happening informally anyway.

Sorry if this all sounds like pouring cold water on a good idea.

Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2019 12:35 am

Re: Virtual VM Developers Conference?

Post by terrymcg » Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:35 am

Thanks for the feedback!

'Twas just a thought, as I think there's a lot of wheel-reinvention going on at the moment. I don't mean at the module level, but we're all solving similar "housekeeping" issues.

While I've only released a single (free) module, my long suffering beta group can tell you there are many more, so I've already got my own answers to most of the sample "Session" topics I mentioned. I'm just curious about what other ways those same questions could be answered and assume others might be as well, with or without their own existing solutions. I got into module development to scratch an itch rather than as a money making exercise, so my concerns about IP are fairly limited. I do understand though that it's quite possible that others may not feel the same way. Or, as you said, just don't have the time (it's clearly not my primary occupation! ;) ).

While sticky posts/weekly questions might be the way to go, they don't have the same "zing" to me. The potential social/shared experience aspect of a more "session" oriented event would be a big part of the draw (for me anyway). It looks like there are 30 or so developers listed in the store, and there may be others waiting in the wings. That could be enough for a get-together anyway. :)

Anyway, as I said, was just a thought... I have lots of ideas, not that many of them good. ;)

Thanks again for the comments!

Terry McG

Posts: 100
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2020 7:46 pm

Re: Virtual VM Developers Conference?

Post by ColinP » Wed Mar 17, 2021 8:40 am

Hi Terry,

Don't let a miserable old fart like me put you off. Go for it!

It's a good idea and I wish you every success. I'm really short of time but will try to follow things and perhaps contribute to the discussion where possible.

Posts: 68
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2019 5:51 am

Re: Virtual VM Developers Conference?

Post by flucatcher » Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:26 pm

I'd be up for it. I agree that a conference might be tricky to pull of but a monthly virtual meetup with predefined topics could work. I'm sure I have a lot to learn from other developers (and maybe possible to get someone from cherry audio to join as well now and then so we can pester them with ideas.)

Doc Joe
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2020 7:53 pm

Re: Virtual VM Developers Conference?

Post by Doc Joe » Mon Mar 22, 2021 8:17 am

Yes please! I'd be keen for this if we can find a time that works in Australia(eg. Early morning Sydney time, late afternoon LA time). Very keen.

Doc Joe
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2020 7:53 pm

Re: Virtual VM Developers Conference?

Post by Doc Joe » Sat Apr 10, 2021 9:05 pm

Any movement on this? I have some great web event management and presentation tools I can offer to run the event: set up of sessions, video rooms and panels, etc.
What I don't have is the technical chops to present.
So, I'm more than happy to host and be a coorganiser., but need some help getting session leaders in.

My thinking is to also expand so we can have sessions on innovative ways of making music with voltage. Sort of a "CherryCon" virtual convention.

Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2021 12:28 am

Re: Virtual VM Developers Conference?

Post by collidermod » Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:50 pm

I don't have a ton of free time, so making a specific time that fits all timezones would be tough for me. If this is going to happen, I could probably do a session plus Q&A on any of the following topics:
  • My workflow for module background design (20 mins)
  • How and why I separate code between VMD and an external JAR (20 mins)
  • Clocks, gates, and triggers (probably way too long)

Another option, instead of having a live event, would be to have an asynchronous event; a "Conference Week". Speakers record videos and upload them during at a predetermined time, one each day. Each video gets its own thread here in the forum for questions or discussion. Because there's a clear time that a video is posted, the speaker can be more aware of checking for questions in the thread over that week. This makes it easier to deal with timezones and varying schedules, and also preserves the content for people to find or revisit in the future.

Post Reply