Old 07-19-2020, 03:13 AM   #1
Chimera123
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Default Wish I knew Justin's thoughts about this

Hi all,
I had a few contemplations recently and I wish I knew Justin Frankel's, other developers and the community here thoughts about this.


(Sorry for my English)

So, Reaper is revolutionary, that's true.
It democratizes features for the price, it allows to do things no other DAW can do at an unbeatable price.
But it seems to me it does not democratize usability.

I know at least 5 *professional* audio engineers and video editors, who tried reaper, really gave it time but just couldn't get it to work for them.
Some of them left with the feeling Reaper is not as good as other software, while some thought it's their fault, that "they are not smart enough".

And in a discussion we had I remember the Reaper users, pressed on that second point, saying that the other professional "work with childish software" and many other diminishing statements, being quite vein that they are capable of using Reaper.
I *not* saying you cannot be totally proud of the software you use, but I see this vanity around the internet as well, allow me to analyze it a bit.

----

Many people say "Reaper can do everything but the defaults are problematic"

I not sure it's about defaults, but a stepped approach in design.

Lets look at a case study.

Vivaldi Browser.
(Admittedly it's not as big software as reaper, of course, but this make it a good case study as it is focused on something specific while Reaper is so grand, so easy to miss the bigger picture)

*It also, like Reaper, have the philosophy of being *customizable* and to allow the user many features.

But it have in it's design a stepped approach.
Something like

Level 1. Almost all users can use it easily.

Level 2. *Easy* Customization from settings to make it how you want.

Level 3. Geek level, where you program your css/js stuff.

The deepness of what you can do is *elegantly* constructed.

In Reaper, there are some basic tools most daw have in their UI, for example MIDI editor tools, or Audio Scissor Mouse Tool Button, and many others... *Basic* tools that you must become level 3 in order to have.

(In this example level 3 would be "creating buttons" other DAWs have, while level 4 would be theme customization and programming etc...) (Well, it could be explained better but I guess you understand)

This requires you to deal with complexity all the time as there are basic tools that are needed and to deal with a UI that's non-stepped by complexity levels.



So It seems that some people, in their hero's journey of using Reaper, managed to conquer it became vein to those who coudln't.

Which is different than being proud and supporting something you like.



----





Another case study would be Linux operating systems, which in the past if you wanted to use it and wanted to support the philosophy it was so complicated, but today there are some which are very inviting and easy while still capable of complexity and customization.

Admittedly again, Linux exists for 30 years and had many people contributing.



----

The other point of view:



Examples of reasons for NOT making a stepped simplicity->complexity in design.


1. I worked with an animator who worked for more than 20 years with a very expensive and complex software, and he was so angry and hurt that new cheap and easy software could do some of the things he was doing. saying it allows "unprofessionals" and kids the tools, and the media would "blow up" and be too saturated with animations.

2. Few years ago I saw a video of professional Hollywood cinematographers comparing cameras, DSLR, Red, Black magic, compared to the more expensive ones... which were almost indistinguishable.

They said "It's horrible that anyone could just take a cameras and make a film because they would lose their jobs and their status of professionals"

3. There was a big discussion (a few years ago, I don't know what happened since) about the 3d modelling software Blender, a guy made a lecture about how the Interface could be arranged to make more sense and to be easier to use, and some said "It must never be easy because it would *seem* childish and unprofessional, it will not be respected, everyone could use it while they are the professionals who knows how to use it and have the right"

***Makes you think, if the tool became easier to use, what would the person that have spent years acquiring the skill of a previously complex tool feel?...



----

So in democratizing usability, the new Theme Adjuster indeed is exactly that.

Just imagine, Reaper in the future, that the visual customization abilities would be so easy it would feel like playing a game.

----



So, I really am interested!, what is the developers point of view, the design philosophy, in these subjects, and the future.



Thank you, and hope you are all well in these times in the world

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Old 07-19-2020, 03:29 AM   #2
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Here are some of Justins thoughts:
Interview with the Creator of the Reaper DAW, Justin Frankel
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Old 07-19-2020, 03:32 AM   #3
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Thanks i'm also listening to this at the moment:
https://dawbench.libsyn.com/episode-...present-future
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Old 07-19-2020, 03:36 AM   #4
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Lots of people are really happy with Reaper out of the box, no modifications required at all for how they use it. This snobbish elitism of those in the know you imply exists here is honestly a new one on me (and of course I recognise what you describe in certain fields. That goes all the way back to when the Bible was translated to common languages from latin, professionals keeping the hoi polloi from understanding/joining their professions). I've heard people complaining that they need special scripts to use it exactly how they like it, but never implied elitism of difficulty.
As if a simple to use program that holds your hand through the whole process is inherently inferior or superior! - No, just different. Horses for courses.

No software can be all things to all men. Reaper is developed by a small team, you have to expect some idiosyncratic elements to it. No software is perfect.
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Old 07-19-2020, 03:37 AM   #5
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Many turn to Reaper only because of the limitations and frustration caused by their previous DAW, Pro's don't change for the sake of it, if what they have works for them why should they?
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Old 07-19-2020, 03:46 AM   #6
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I think the thing with Reaper and its customizability is that it becomes an option for almost any kind of audio person. However different people need different tools and find different buttons more useful.
I am sure that Reapers default interface (if we don’t enter into the design/beauty aspect of it) works well for a fair amount of people. My guess are those who are mostly into recording.
But other people would like other features more accessible and feel like some basic tools are hidden.
It becomes than like an audio editing guy who has to work in FL Studio or a Beatmaker who has to work in Pro Tools.
While other software simply put emphasis on some features and don’t have or don’t push others, Reaper pushes its customizability.
FL Studio implies “if you make beats I am a great for you” and so beatmakers who buy FL Studio have all they need directly on front and love it, and if they need more they can often find it.
Pro Tools implies “if you need to edit audio I am great for you” and audio editors will feel as comfortable with Pro Tools as beatmakers with FL Studio. They usually don’t even try the other option and are perfectly fine.
Reaper implies “whatever you want to do, you can set me up to do it easily” and so people who use various workflows or want to build a highly personal workflow that allows them to do all kinds of tasks quickly will be interested.
I personally used various DAWs in past and always thought “I want this feature from this DAW and that feature from that DAW, why does one get some simple things right and the other one others”.
And for me Reaper was a godsend. It allows me to create my own DAW where everything is quickly accessible, without even having to be a programmer. For me investing some time to geek into it at the beginning is a very small price to pay for a DAW that for all future will allow me to do very complex things without having to think twice about what steps I need to do. All the things I do most often are away only one keystroke or mouseclick, no matter how complex.

So to sum it up, I am sure Reaper’s defaults are great for some people but as it targets all kinds of users (unlike most other DAWs) most people will miss some “simple” things out of the box. However Reaper thrives on being the tinkerers DAW allows all things to be set up. So if you go Reaper then you better be ready to go level 3 geek if you are not the kind of person that luckily finds everything set up as needed out of the box.
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Old 07-19-2020, 04:08 AM   #7
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This snobbish elitism of those in the know you imply exists here is honestly a new one on me (and of course I recognise what you describe in certain fields. That goes all the way back to when the Bible was translated to common languages from latin, professionals keeping the hoi polloi from understanding/joining their professions). I've heard people complaining that they need special scripts to use it exactly how they like it, but never implied elitism of difficulty.
As if a simple to use program that holds your hand through the whole process is inherently inferior or superior! - No, just different. Horses for courses.
Oh good one, nicely said


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Originally Posted by Softsynth View Post
Reaper is developed by a small team
I find this really amazing btw!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hardplay View Post
Many turn to Reaper only because of the limitations and frustration caused by their previous DAW, Pro's don't change for the sake of it, if what they have works for them why should they?
The ones I know truly desired Reaper capabilities but unfortunately couldn't make it work for them. I guess they wanted Cubase/Ableton/Protools with Extra Cutomizability and Features
Also there is wanting to use a software which you respect and want to support the philosophy and the developers! like using open-source software instead of close system monopolies. so it's not only about the tool but being part of something you believe in..
.
.

Phazma
This is very interesting! I haven't considered it that way
I guess after working on Cubase/Protools/Logic/Abelton/DP for 15 years I guess I expected Reaper to be more similar to those, which is this expectation reflected on what I wrote, so you are right!!
But still i'm wondering about the overall design philosophy on this specific subject of stepped simplicity->complexity - unrelated to other DAWs.

btw, after a few years I still haven't transitioned to Reaper fully for my everyday work but i'm working on it using it for very specific things I cannot do in other DAWs, doing automated things with single click that would require hours in others.

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Old 07-19-2020, 04:38 AM   #8
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That goes all the way back to when the Bible was translated to common languages from latin, professionals keeping the hoi polloi from understanding/joining their professions).
you might mean "bibles," not "bible," "greek," not "latin," and "craftily curated/cut n pasted" would probably be a better word than "translated" for this specific example

though yes, it did get yet another set of revisions, additions, versioning, and subtractions when it [edit: THEY, see, i do it too] went from greek to latin to other languages
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Old 07-19-2020, 04:41 AM   #9
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Yes I agree that many complex things in Reaper could benefit from a more nested approach, showing the simple things that most users need first, but I think we should leave it to Cockos to decide which are the simple things and which are the comlex ones and I am sure that behind the default layout and options there are some thoughts, evidence being that many people use Reaper happily out of the box.
I think we are just a bit spoiled by having used multiple DAWs but at least Reaper allows us in some way to implement the workflows we like.
No DAW is perfect for everyone, but as we’re here, it seems that for us in the end of the day, geeking into Reaper is still the best longterm solution. That Cockos doesn’t get right everything is obvious, but the same is true for all other DAW devs. Developing a DAW is a gigantic task and in the end there will always remain something that can be improved.
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Old 07-19-2020, 04:55 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by mccrabney View Post
you might mean "bibles," not "bible," "greek," not "latin," and "craftily curated/cut n pasted" would probably be a better word than "translated" for this specific example

though yes, it did get yet another set of revisions, additions, versioning, and subtractions when it [edit: THEY, see, i do it too] went from greek to latin to other languages
You can bang on about Greek and we can add Hebrew into the mix if you like. It was a simple example for the thread, not a complex examination of the origins of the original texts considering which monarchs disliked which passages etc.
Reaper isn't an ancient reworked work of fiction that borrows from multiple other belief systems that went before though, so lets keep to real topic.
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Old 07-19-2020, 04:56 AM   #11
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the real question is which forum personality is which mythological or quasi historical figure?

occasionally, i see parallels to the story of the poor youths who get torn to pieces by bears for calling a guy "baldy"
... i guess that makes us the bears
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Old 07-19-2020, 05:02 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Phazma View Post
Yes I agree that many complex things in Reaper could benefit from a more nested approach, showing the simple things that most users need first, but I think we should leave it to Cockos to decide which are the simple things and which are the comlex ones and I am sure that behind the default layout and options there are some thoughts, evidence being that many people use Reaper happily out of the box.
I think we are just a bit spoiled by having used multiple DAWs but at least Reaper allows us in some way to implement the workflows we like.
No DAW is perfect for everyone, but as we’re here, it seems that for us in the end of the day, geeking into Reaper is still the best longterm solution. That Cockos doesn’t get right everything is obvious, but the same is true for all other DAW devs. Developing a DAW is a gigantic task and in the end there will always remain something that can be improved.
Of course! and I am also so grateful for those thoughts and hard work,
btw, I tried to write my post in the least antagonistic provoking way I could, as I honestly appreciate this gigantic task!

Maybe, instead of criticism - I would actually like to express my interest and curiosity to hear about the developers work, I would love to listen to podcasts talks they discuss their behind-the-scenes thoughts and share their development and design processes.
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Old 07-19-2020, 05:04 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by mccrabney View Post
the real question is which forum personality is which mythological or quasi historical figure?

occasionally, i see parallels to the story of the poor youths who get torn to pieces by bears for calling a guy "baldy"
... i guess that makes us the bears

In that case keep to The Bear Necessities!

Chimera123:
https://www.askjf.com/
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Old 07-19-2020, 05:05 AM   #14
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hahahah request grudgingly granted, i will withhold [most of] my post about how schwa might be job
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Old 07-19-2020, 05:43 AM   #15
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Hiding complexity always comes at a cost to those who want to access it. The cost may be small, but it's always there.

Why is it so important that every professional uses REAPER? Why can't they just use something they are comfortable with?

I agree that calling other software childish is, well, childish, but those people are a minority and there's no need to take them seriously.

I like to use highly customizable software, but I understand why many people don't want to bother with that and prefer something that works well out of the box.

Let's be more open to other people's views and preferences.
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Old 07-19-2020, 06:15 AM   #16
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For me Reaper was godsend, as I needed a DAW for live playing, i.e. creating an instriment for creating and managing the patches in an "embedded (no-GUI) way, for 3 keyboards plus Breath controller plus a control surface for selecting and tweaking the sounds. (See sticky thread in the "Live" subfoum for more info.)

Supposedly no other DAW is able to do this anyway neas as versatile as Reaper.

(That is why I happily did some script programming for the guy who recommended Reaper to me . )

-Michael
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Old 07-19-2020, 07:00 AM   #17
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Hiding complexity always comes at a cost to those who want to access it.
OK, I'll try to make my point more clear, I don't mean Hiding Complexity!that's the last thing I want as that would make it less accessible.
I want to make it more accessible!
So rather, to consider a "nested approach" design philosophy like Phazma said.

Or more Visual approach like the recently added Theme Adjuster, which does not hides complexity, it makes it much more accessible!

Another example, I just made a feature request, which some people will not want and maybe some will want it.. I don't think this request is hiding complexity, but actually makes it nicer to work with for me at least...

https://forum.cockos.com/showthread....21#post2321121

Another example, say there is a button for Sync user settings, like in browsers, that allows ALL settings, custom actions, theme changes, everything.. to be synced and uploaded to cloud of your choice.
This is simple to use - But it as a result allows the user to achieve greater complexity at more ease, as you can do more with less energy and time.

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Old 07-19-2020, 07:56 AM   #18
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Oh! Nice!
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Old 07-19-2020, 09:48 AM   #19
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OK, I'll try to make my point more clear, I don't mean Hiding Complexity!that's the last thing I want as that would make it less accessible.
I want to make it more accessible!
So rather, to consider a "nested approach" design philosophy like Phazma said.
You can call it whatever you want, but software designed for level 3 users(as you defined them in you first post) will look significantly different from software designed for level 1 users.

There's a reason why so many people are using Emacs and Vim over newer text editors. And it's not just habit. It's the same reason why many people opt for less beginner friendly Linux distributions.

Development time is limited, and as far as I am concerned it is better spent on adding more features than trying to make REAPER more beginner friendly.

If Kenny's videos aren't enough to help you get started, there's plenty of other DAWs available.

That's just my opinion, though. How Justin wants to spend his time is up to him.
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Old 07-19-2020, 10:15 AM   #20
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You can call it whatever you want, but software designed for level 3 users(as you defined them in you first post) will look significantly different from software designed for level 1 users.
I know that Reaper is more than a music creation daw, but lets look at equalizers for example, Does fabfilter Pro-Q or DMG Equilibrium lacks in functionality? they both brought more options than what was available in the past and at the same time made it convenient for many people.

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There's a reason why so many people are using Emacs and Vim over newer text editors. And it's not just habit. It's the same reason why many people opt for less beginner friendly Linux distributions.

Development time is limited, and as far as I am concerned it is better spent on adding more features than trying to make REAPER more beginner friendly.
OK, I would like more time on UI development..

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If Kenny's videos aren't enough to help you get started, there's plenty of other DAWs available.
Thank you for the welcoming approach, Kenny's videos are great and I'm personally using Reaper already for my purposes, I wrote the post out of curiosity for a discussion about design philosophy, and I see your take on this which is: You prefer more features over other things. OK, Understandable.

But does it make you angry that people express their opinion or open a discussion on a software they love and want to use?

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Old 07-19-2020, 10:23 AM   #21
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But does it make you angry that people express their opinion on a software they love and want to use?
I have no idea where you got the idea that I'm angry. But you have a very weird way of showing your love.

You started this thread by complaining that other people couldn't use REAPER and still haven't explained why it is so important to you that all (or at least those 5) *professional* audio engineers use it.
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Old 07-19-2020, 10:35 AM   #22
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What is it about Reaper that inspires these essay length philosophical appeals addressed directly to Justin? I'm not criticizing necessarily, it just an odd quirk I've noticed on these forums. I feel like I never see this with other software/developers, but someone seems to post one of these here at least one or two times a year.
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Old 07-19-2020, 10:42 AM   #23
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I have no idea where you got the idea that I'm angry. But you have a very weird way of showing your love.

You started this thread by complaining that other people couldn't use REAPER and still haven't explained why it is so important to you that all (or at least those 5) *professional* audio engineers use it.
They & me, desire the unique things reaper can do, and wanted more customization, and to support a company which have different social and economical values than the big guys.

Anyway, thanks for answering have a lovely evening.
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Old 07-19-2020, 10:43 AM   #24
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What is it about Reaper that inspires these essay length philosophical appeals addressed directly to Justin? I'm not criticizing necessarily, it just an odd quirk I've noticed on these forums. I feel like I never see this with other software/developers, but someone seems to post one of these here at least one or two times a year.
Really?!...
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Old 07-19-2020, 11:25 AM   #25
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Really?!...
That's true.
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Make a thread "F%#! you Reaper! I quit!" to get more views and feedback since these kind of threads get much more traction
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Old 07-19-2020, 11:44 AM   #26
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What is it about Reaper that inspires these essay length philosophical appeals
Probably strong and obvious imbalance between functionality and usability.
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Old 07-19-2020, 11:59 AM   #27
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What is it about Reaper that inspires these essay length philosophical appeals addressed directly to Justin?
Perceived accessibility. Karl Steinberg won't answer our emails.
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Old 07-19-2020, 12:30 PM   #28
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What is it about Reaper that inspires these essay length philosophical appeals addressed directly to Justin? I'm not criticizing necessarily, it just an odd quirk I've noticed on these forums. I feel like I never see this with other software/developers, but someone seems to post one of these here at least one or two times a year.
Sense of entitlement.
Honestly I think it's give an inch take a mile.
There's no personal front to the other big DAWs that I'm aware of. Folks know Justin does listen to his customers, and updates Reaper constantly.

Then there is all the customisation potential in which some people will eventually be frustrated by some of the limits.
IOW the more you give..
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Old 07-19-2020, 12:41 PM   #29
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REAPER's not perfect, but unlike every other DAW out there, it allows you to "build your own DAW" to an incredible extent. It's a platform for audio production as you want it to be.

And it's stable as a rock. I can trust it!

Do we need this and that from the devs to make it better? Sure we do, it's not like it's open source or anything.

I've used it ~10 years and during that time the functionality and layout and everything has moved very, very far from the default installation by my changes and tweaks. As I see fit, what I need, where I need it.

And that's something I appreciate.

Yeah it's not for everyone, but frankly, one should know their tools if they're to use them. You don't just pick up a guitar and make a hit song, you need to learn top play it first and that can take years of studying and learning.

Same with computers and software. You can't expect to just use computer or DAW without understanding it... or you'll run into trouble.
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Old 07-19-2020, 02:40 PM   #30
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OK, I would like more time on UI development..
You REALLY want less time dedicated to functionality and quality ????????
-Michael
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Old 07-19-2020, 11:23 PM   #31
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I'll ask it again and again as this comes up again and again: Show me these noobs to DAWs that are having trouble with reaper out of the box compared to some other DAW.

I doubt those making these claims have in person seen so many new users try reaper as I have, but I'm open to the possibility.

Yes people used to wheeling bone stock AWD SUVs thru the local mud puddles will have some serious trouble getting used to trying to rock climb heavily modded Jeep Rubicons thru MOAB. Its to be expected. See how well a modern jet pilot can barnstorm a prop driven biplane
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Old 07-20-2020, 01:15 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by mschnell View Post
You REALLY want less time dedicated to functionality and quality ????????
-Michael
He probably meant UX, and me I do want more time dedicated to UX developement.

UX is about how well the brain gets the program and Reaper has a lot to work on in this area.
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Old 07-20-2020, 03:06 AM   #33
Fex
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Portsmouth, UK
Posts: 4,378
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Originally Posted by pipelineaudio View Post
Yes people used to wheeling bone stock AWD SUVs thru the local mud puddles will have some serious trouble getting used to trying to rock climb heavily modded Jeep Rubicons thru MOAB.
I don't drive much; I had to Google the acronyms.

All wheel drive.
Sport utility vehicle (I knew this).

I strongly advise against trying to drive heavily modded Jeep Rubicons thru Massive Ordnance Air Blast. But then, I don't drive much....
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