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Old 01-31-2020, 05:16 PM   #1
Klangfarben
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Default Natively Implement Sexan's Area 51 and Pro Tools Playlists Scripts

There has been much discussion lately in the feature request forum about playlists, item grouping linked to track grouping and area selection. Sexan has done some incredible work with two scripts that implement these features (and a lot more) but has been overwhelmed with both the amount of work needed to finish the scripts, maintain and bug fix - and not having enough time due to a demanding day job.

I would like to make an official request for Sexan's Area 51 script and Track Versions script to be adopted natively. Functionality this important should not be solely on one person's shoulders. And as he has already done a lot of the heavy lifting, the developers would not have to implement these important and oft requested features from scratch.

For those of you not aware of these scripts here are the links.

Sexan's Track Versions (Pro Tools Style Playlists) Script:
https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=203828

Sexan's Area 51 Area Selection Script:
https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=219705

The Track Versions aka Pro Tools Playlists includes features such as independent playlists, item grouping linked to track grouping, sub-groups, playlists that also follow track grouping and swipe comping.

The Area 51 Selection Script allows area/marquee selection as well as delete, selection across multiple tracks and envelopes, ghost/alias copies, automation inversion, selection groups and a whole lot more.

Sexan himself has asked for help from other scripters as well as asked the developers to natively implement them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sexan View Post
Anyway a question for gurus:
If I document the code well would anyone would like to help develop it?
I would go that far to comment every single line of the code and make a pdf documentation how stuff works in detail.

My day job can take me away for some time and then I cannot fix bugs etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sexan View Post
If Schwa knows and feels the pain I am dealing with, he will make it some day...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sexan View Post
Its much more simpler from their side, they do not need any of my code. What I've done is basically reimplemented time selection and made it per track.
And thats why I needed to implement every single function from scratch.
They "just" need to modify it and make it a modifier, they already have all the code that is needed for it
If these features are important to you like they are for myself and other Reaper users, please chime in and encourage the devs to implement these scripts natively. Sexan has done some amazing work that should be adopted natively and not be a complete burden on him, especially when he is only one guy limited by the time he has available to code, test and bug fix. And the developers get a really great head start on implementing features that are requested constantly over and over. It really is a win/win scenario for everyone.

Schwa himself alluded to the fact that version 6.1 was going to be "lit"

Quote:
Originally Posted by schwa View Post
We actually have a backlog of bugfix and feature branches that we'll be merging in over the next few releases. 6.1 is gonna be lit
What better way to do that then adopt Sexan's work natively and implement feature requests that are made time and time again in one fell swoop? That would indeed be completely lit.

Thanks for listening and thanks Sexan for all of your amazing work and contributions as well as the other scripting gurus like Julian and Lokasenna that have helped in that process. Devs please help bring Sexan's work through to the finish line!
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Old 01-31-2020, 05:29 PM   #2
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Full support for making it native.Especially for Area51.
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Old 01-31-2020, 06:12 PM   #3
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Agreed. Posted a friendly rant saying exactly this in the Area51 thread.

The problem is, these are such core functions and they both rely on so many OTHER core functions, that they NEED to be native, otherwise they're just going to get constantly broken with Reaper's impressively fast update and release schedule, and it's going to be poor Sexan's job to keep it working while the rest of us panic!

His area selection script is not even fully functional, but I STILL use it regularly, because there is literally no other way to quickly select and move a bunch of envelope points across tracks.
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Old 02-01-2020, 04:53 PM   #4
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Huuuuuge +1 from as well. This would bring Reaper to the next level!
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Old 02-02-2020, 07:24 AM   #5
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Natively implementing Pro Tools style playlists into REAPER might not be a great idea.

If its idea or structure is intellectual/proprietary property, Cockos might get sued.
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Old 02-02-2020, 08:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dafarkias View Post
Natively implementing Pro Tools style playlists into REAPER might not be a great idea.

If its idea or structure is intellectual/proprietary property, Cockos might get sued.
Then every other DAW manufacturer would get sued as well. Whether you call it playlist, track version, track alternative, etc. all other major DAWs employ this. Sexan's script employs nothing that is intellectual property.

And like I mentioned, it includes much more than just playlists. Item grouping linked to track grouping, sub-grouping, swipe comping and more.

The devs can just keep the Track versions and leave the PT part out of the name. Sound good?
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Old 02-02-2020, 12:24 PM   #7
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You missed my point.

It doesn't matter if Sexan's script contains intellectual property because he does not sell the script commercially.
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Old 02-02-2020, 12:29 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Dafarkias View Post
You missed my point.

It doesn't matter if Sexan's script contains intellectual property because he does not sell the script commercially.
We've already established it does not contain any intellectual property (besides the script name itself), so not missing your point.
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Old 02-03-2020, 02:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Klangfarben View Post

I would like to make an official request for Sexan's Area 51 script
Yes please
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Old 02-03-2020, 07:25 AM   #10
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+1

Those are two of the very few things that I miss about PT, besides the per track plugin list in the arrange view.
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Old 02-03-2020, 08:27 AM   #11
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+1 totally agree
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Old 02-03-2020, 09:10 AM   #12
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Area51 especially should unquestionably be native. It's not even a feature, it is core functionality blatantly and inexplicably missing from (only) Reaper. To leave this to a script prone to constant breakage is sinful, and to not incorporate it natively is treachery imho.

I'll make this example again : imagine if Microsoft had released Excel without the ability to reliably copy/paste multiple cells. Yes you COULD still do it with workarounds such as copying over the entire column then deleting the ones you didn't want, but ...???. Like would people stand for this even for a second? A little bizarre to be working on a 2D plane but only have 1.5D tools at your disposal, no?

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Old 02-03-2020, 11:34 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferropop View Post
Area51 especially should unquestionably be native. It's not even a feature, it is core functionality blatantly and inexplicably missing from (only) Reaper. To leave this to a script prone to constant breakage is sinful, and to not incorporate it natively is treachery imho.
Completely agree. I would also say that the ability to sub-group, link item grouping to track grouping and track versions independent of takes are also core functionality, especially for those switching from other DAWs. Just basic functionality you are used to seeing and using and some of the most requested features from Reaper users, including area selection which is massively needed on a native level.
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Old 02-04-2020, 01:25 AM   #14
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Completely agree with this, this is getting brought up over and over again and the developers seem to ignore it (or just not comment on it) for some reason even though everyone needs it. The native solution of creating a marquee selection and time selection at the same time is unusable in any real life scenario.


I did try to chime in and help Sexan with his area selection briefly (eventually had to step away because I would rather spend my time making music) and the root of the issues of programming something like this is that you have to jump through so many hoops for the script to behave right because you are trying to tape over an API to create behaviour that needs to be ingrained deep into the software.
Drawing transparent windows over program windows, manually blocking keyboard and mouse inputs, having to do some nasty calculations to figure out grid divisions, even nastier calculations to figure out envelope lane coordinates etc. and making every single one of those work both for OSX and Windows...

Last edited by BirdBird; 02-04-2020 at 02:57 AM.
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Old 02-04-2020, 11:59 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by BirdBird View Post
Completely agree with this, this is getting brought up over and over again and the developers seem to ignore it (or just not comment on it) for some reason even though everyone needs it. The native solution of creating a marquee selection and time selection at the same time is unusable in any real life scenario.


I did try to chime in and help Sexan with his area selection briefly (eventually had to step away because I would rather spend my time making music) and the root of the issues of programming something like this is that you have to jump through so many hoops for the script to behave right because you are trying to tape over an API to create behaviour that needs to be ingrained deep into the software.
Drawing transparent windows over program windows, manually blocking keyboard and mouse inputs, having to do some nasty calculations to figure out grid divisions, even nastier calculations to figure out envelope lane coordinates etc. and making every single one of those work both for OSX and Windows...
I can't claim to have specific insight of the inner-workings of Reaper, but I do have a Computer Science degree so I have at least an understanding of development and am not making bold unfounded claims here -- but Area Duplication (for example) is really just an extension of Region Duplication, which we already have. Selective Region Duplication, into the y-axis. This suggests that Reaper obviously has the capability to parse sections of the project as blocks, and treat them as a chunk of data that can be moved around, and this must be able to be leveraged! I of course speak in broad strokes.

Because the API does not expose direct access to this underlying stuff, Sexan has had to basically build a rocket-ship out of Lego which is an insanely impressive feat -- but it's unfortunately still Lego in the end, and we will end up stepping on it inevitably.

I find it very hard to believe that implementing Area Selection natively would be as prohibitive as it seems to be given that it has been the-most-requested FR for well-over 10 years without a single comment from devs, and given that it's in literally every single other DAW on the market and is an indispensable CORE editing tool.

If I'm wrong about any of this, then I would beg the devs to put us all in our place and just put it in writing. Not once mentioning the biggest FR in Reaper's history just seems like torture honestly. If it's not happening, please just say it - but I would be shocked if it were not doable however, given that things like Spectral Peaks, Spectral Edits, Stretch Markers, the Graphical Pin Editor, were all developed from the ground-up and are by far riskier in breaking things than a copy/paste/move edit tool that we've been using in every single DAW since the 90s.

Last edited by ferropop; 02-04-2020 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 02-04-2020, 01:16 PM   #16
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@ferropop To clarify my comments about "programming this" were about creating it with a script, not implementing area selection natively.

I do suspect you are right about a native implementation and agree with rest of your points, time selection, manipulating regions, marquee zoom all have chunks of the behaviour.
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Old 02-04-2020, 01:21 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdBird View Post
@ferropop To clarify my comments about "programming this" were about creating it with a script, not implementing area selection natively.

I do suspect you are right about a native implementation and agree with rest of your points, time selection, manipulating regions, marquee zoom all have chunks of the behaviour.
Yeah man I was agreeing with everything you said, I accidentally quoted you haha.
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Old 02-04-2020, 01:22 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferropop View Post
I can't claim to have specific insight of the inner-workings of Reaper, but I do have a Computer Science degree so I have at least an understanding of development and am not making bold unfounded claims here -- but Area Duplication (for example) is really just an extension of Region Duplication, which we already have. Selective Region Duplication, into the y-axis. This suggests that Reaper obviously has the capability to parse sections of the project as blocks, and treat them as a chunk of data that can be moved around, and this must be able to be leveraged! I of course speak in broad strokes.

Because the API does not expose direct access to this underlying stuff, Sexan has had to basically build a rocket-ship out of Lego which is an insanely impressive feat -- but it's unfortunately still Lego in the end, and we will end up stepping on it inevitably.

I find it very hard to believe that implementing Area Selection natively would be as prohibitive as it seems to be given that it has been the-most-requested FR for well-over 10 years without a single comment from devs, and given that it's in literally every single other DAW on the market and is an indispensable CORE editing tool.

If I'm wrong about any of this, then I would beg the devs to put us all in our place and just put it in writing. Not once mentioning the biggest FR in Reaper's history just seems like torture honestly. If it's not happening, please just say it - but I would be shocked if it were not doable however, given that things like Spectral Peaks, Spectral Edits, Stretch Markers, the Graphical Pin Editor, were all developed and are by-far riskier to breaking things than a copy/paste/move edit tool that we've been using in every single DAW since the 90s.
Pure speculation, but I'm imagining the conversation going something like this -

Us: 'We need A.S'

Devs: 'Pretty much all the standard A.S functions can be done with time selection + track/marquee selection, just with maybe one or two more clicks'

Us: 'Yes but it's more error prone and clumsy, also, what about moving/copying/pasting multiple envelopes'

Devs: 'That's what A.I's are for'

Us: 'But A.I's can't do X Y or Z (selecting and editing A.I's AND M.I's together for example)'

Devs: 'We're working on that'




Again... I am speculating here based on the fact that I agree with you Ferro, it's probably NOT that complicated to introduce A.S compared to other features that have been introduced, it is mostly an extension of functions that already exist, so this does suggest that they believe it's just not necessary. If that IS the case, then hopefully they will reconsider, because we do need it.

If I'm way off the mark on all this then feel free to weigh in and correct me Devs!
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Old 02-04-2020, 01:26 PM   #19
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I think the thing to take here is not that the devs take the entirety of Sexan's code with all the workarounds and ridiculous hoops he jumped through to make it work. It's that he really spent a lot of time nailing the feature set, on both scripts. Yes, as ferropop says there's bits we do have here and there, but not anywhere near the feature set that is needed for both of these things. Sexan implemented everything we want in one place. So besides the gargantuan amount of coding he had to do, he also worked out all the math - which is hugely beneficial - and worked out all the features that were needed and how they should function. In one set of code. Yes, it's lua and a scripting language. But he's given the devs a complete roadmap of how it SHOULD work which is invaluable and saves the devs a LOT of time.
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Old 02-04-2020, 01:48 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Klangfarben View Post
I think the thing to take here is not that the devs take the entirety of Sexan's code with all the workarounds and ridiculous hoops he jumped through to make it work. It's that he really spent a lot of time nailing the feature set, on both scripts. Yes, as ferropop says there's bits we do have here and there, but not anywhere near the feature set that is needed for both of these things. Sexan implemented everything we want in one place. So besides the gargantuan amount of coding he had to do, he also worked out all the math - which is hugely beneficial - and worked out all the features that were needed and how they should function. In one set of code. Yes, it's lua and a scripting language. But he's given the devs a complete roadmap of how it SHOULD work which is invaluable and saves the devs a LOT of time.
Yup exactly this. It's like someone has gone out and done all the usability tests, explored the nuances and their strengths/weaknesses of the tool, and even developed new and never-before-seen applications and functionality (the multiple clipboard toggling stuff etc) all while leaving a perfect roadmap.

No that doesn't make it easy or trivial, but it does a Gigantic piece of the work that otherwise would have to be explored before even starting.
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Old 02-06-2020, 10:57 AM   #21
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How did I miss this??

Yes please... can we settle this [b]natively[/]?

Some things just need to be handled natively.
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Old 02-11-2020, 08:33 AM   #22
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+1

I'll come back to using Reaper as my main DAW when they fix this. Right now the lack of proper area selection is too much of a deal-breaker for me.
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Old 02-11-2020, 10:21 AM   #23
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I'll come back to using Reaper as my main DAW when they fix this. Right now the lack of proper area selection is too much of a deal-breaker for me.
I love that your signature is literally just "Area Selection" Brilliant lol.
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Old 02-11-2020, 11:16 AM   #24
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I love that your signature is literally just "Area Selection" Brilliant lol.
The day I get to check that box will be a beautiful day.
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Old 02-19-2020, 10:30 AM   #25
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Just wanted to share the only (known) mentions of Area Selection by a dev, wondering what y'all think?

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Old 02-19-2020, 12:05 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferropop View Post
J.S.: You have to make it make sense within the context of Reaper,
versus making it be like some other app, yeah.
From an analytical point it is difficult to argue ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe90
Us: 'We need A.S' (= Area Selection)

Devs: 'Pretty much all the standard A.S functions can be done with time selection + track/marquee selection, just with maybe one or two more clicks'

Us: 'Yes but it's more error prone and clumsy, also, what about moving/copying/pasting multiple envelopes'

Devs: 'That's what A.I's are for'
... because indeed every arrangement and collocation can be
done by moving and copying midi-items and automation items.
You can move and copy any combined selection of items and
automation items - and so build your own "quasi-playlists".
So it is hard to explain why you need to have something more.
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Old 02-19-2020, 01:06 PM   #27
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... because indeed every arrangement and collocation can be
done by moving and copying midi-items and automation items.
You can move and copy any combined selection of items and
automation items - and so build your own "quasi-playlists".
So it is hard to explain why you need to have something more.
Not hard to make the argument at all. For either area selection or playlists. All you have to do is read this thread. Or many of the countless other threads. In fact it is harder to make an argument for NOT having area selection.

Saying that you can use a collection of different methods cobbled together to do ONE thing, with inconsistent results, is never, ever a good argument - which is the argument others are making. Because right now, that is what you have to do to select everything in an area. Rather than proper area selection which, you know, selects EVERYTHING in an area at once. Not sure what isn't clear to Justin about that.

Also if you take a look at Sexan's script you will see it's much more than just basic area selection functionality. Just like the Track Versions script is much more than just playlist functionality. Whatever workflow you use, whether you are just a jam at home guy or someone using a 1000 track template in a post-production environment, both of those things would benefit all Reaper users. Those are the type of features that whether you agree or disagree philosophically that Reaper should not attempt to do things like other DAWs, at some point you have to say, ok maybe this many Reaper users aren't wrong and it should be implemented. A philosophical argument doesn't help users get work done or meet deadlines.
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Old 02-19-2020, 01:11 PM   #28
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A philosophical argument doesn't help users get work done or meet deadlines.
THIS!!!
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Old 02-19-2020, 02:02 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enroe View Post
From an analytical point it is difficult to argue ...



... because indeed every arrangement and collocation can be
done by moving and copying midi-items and automation items.
You can move and copy any combined selection of items and
automation items - and so build your own "quasi-playlists".
So it is hard to explain why you need to have something more.
My laptop gets pretty hot when running high track counts, that doesn't mean I should cook eggs on it though.
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Old 02-19-2020, 02:41 PM   #30
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Not hard to make the argument at all. For either area selection or playlists. All you have to do is read this thread. Or many of the countless other threads. In fact it is harder to make an argument for NOT having area selection.

Saying that you can use a collection of different methods cobbled together to do ONE thing, with inconsistent results, is never, ever a good argument - which is the argument others are making. Because right now, that is what you have to do to select everything in an area. Rather than proper area selection which, you know, selects EVERYTHING in an area at once. Not sure what isn't clear to Justin about that.

Also if you take a look at Sexan's script you will see it's much more than just basic area selection functionality. Just like the Track Versions script is much more than just playlist functionality. Whatever workflow you use, whether you are just a jam at home guy or someone using a 1000 track template in a post-production environment, both of those things would benefit all Reaper users. Those are the type of features that whether you agree or disagree philosophically that Reaper should not attempt to do things like other DAWs, at some point you have to say, ok maybe this many Reaper users aren't wrong and it should be implemented. A philosophical argument doesn't help users get work done or meet deadlines.
Agree with everything, as usual.

A.S. would also solve some huge inconsistencies across Reaper when it comes to standardizing actions on Items, Automation Items, Envelope Points etc. I would argue that those inconsistencies actually DERIVE from the lack of Area Selection! Things like splitting/stretching/cutting/deleting working differently whether dealing with Items/AI/EP. Again - select an area of stuff, if you hit delete you meant to delete PRECISELY what you selected; no questions or guesswork.
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Old 02-19-2020, 03:35 PM   #31
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A huge +1 and my respect to all the people who don't give up and bring to attention a must have feature like area selection!
Sexan did a great job so far, but i believe after so many user requests, it's time for the devs to add it natively.
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