vvvv gamma 2022.5 - Previews available now

October 6, 2022 posted by: joreg

Dear patcher people!

The next big release of vvvv (gamma 2022.5) is taking shape and here’s what you can expect (in clickbait lingo):

  1. Effortless creation of user interfaces
  2. Cross-platform application export
  3. Hybrid visual/text coding and then some more…

Effortless creation of user interfaces

Building UI’s has been a topic in vvvv since its early years. Here is another fresh take at a library for quickly building UI’s.

Based on the popular Dear ImGui library, we experimented a lot with different ways to wrap this for convenient use in our visual language and are quite happy with the results. It is certainly not the right library for all usecases, but it should cover a wide range still. Read what the original creators have to say about it:

Dear ImGui is designed to enable fast iterations and to empower programmers to create content creation tools and visualization / debug tools (as opposed to UI for the average end-user). It favors simplicity and productivity toward this goal and lacks certain features commonly found in more high-level libraries. From the Dear ImGui pitch.

Have a look at the helpbrowser for tons of examples to get you started.

Cross platform application export

vvvv can now export executables not only for Windows, but also other platforms, see the updated export dialog:

Arguably, at this point this is still rather limited as for other platforms, we cannot export GUI applications but only console apps. But it is a start. What we’ve tested to work, is e.g. export to a Raspberry Pi running Linux. See this demo from our last meetup:

Hybrid visual/text coding

vvvv beta used to be a truly hybrid (visual and textual) development environment. You’d use visual coding for high-level stuff but still have the opportunity to throw in some text code whenever you feel like.

This version brings back the “hybrid” in the sense that instead of having to compile a .dll separately and restart vvvv everytime you make a change (which was possible already), you can now simply reference a .csproj file from any of your .vl documents.

Any change you then make to that project or any referenced .cs file (in an external editor) will trigger a compilation and automatically update everything in the patch.

For more details on this, see Writing Nodes in the gray book.

And some more goodies

Channels

You’ll most likely love these. They are the simplest yet way for controlling values in a patch from different spots. You’ll first encounter them when working with ImGui widgets where they e.g. allow you to easily change a value either via an on-screen UI widget or from an IOBox in the patch. But you’ll soon notice that they are a general game-changer for bi-directional data-binding!

Precompiled libraries

May sound cryptic, but has two very practical implications:

  • Starting up vvvv is now much faster
  • vvvv now uses less memory: Easing the burden on .NETs memory management and leaving more memory for your actual project

For a demo, watch this bit from our last meetup:

To achieve these improvements, the following things are happening:

  • All libraries and NuGets shipping with vvvv are now precompiled, ie. on startup vvvv doesn’t need to compile .vl docs anymore
  • Any NuGet you install and reference in a project is now compiled once, ie. any future use of the same version of the library also requires no costly recompilation

What this also means though - and this shouldn’t bother the default user too much - is that you can no longer rightclick -> Open nodes that come from such a compiled library. You’ll argue you should still be able to inspect the code, just not modify it and you’re right. Hang in there…

More advanced users who may have reasons to opt-out of this new default behavior at times, see Commandline Arguments.

.NET6

Under the hood vvvv gamma was sitting on .NET472, by now a rather old version of .NET. With this release we’re upgrading to the latest version: .NET6. If this means anything to you, you may want to read about What’s new in .NET6.

In more human readable terms, for us this means:

Advanced build configuration

Apart from the new options you now have in the export dialog, you can also completely fine-tune your build process and e.g. add post-build tasks. For details, see: Advanced build configuration.

Stride update

The change to .NET6 also allows us to use the latest version of Stride, which fixes the following two issues:

Breaking changes

We tried hard to avoid breaking changes, but couldn’t avoid some. At the point of writing this, you may encounter some NuGets that won’t work. If you stumble about one such, please let us know in the comments or forum. Most often those will just need to be rebuilt for .NET6…

Download

So if you’re brave enough to give the above a spin, get a fresh vvvv gamma 2022.5 preview from the PREVIEW download section. Remember, this is a preview release. It comes with fresh bugs and things may still change. So don’t rely on it for production just yet. Please use it for testing and reporting any oddities you find to the forum.

For a more detailed changelog, see Changelog 2022.5.


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