Do I realy understand what M4L is?

Questions and discussion about building and using Max for Live devices
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Joined: Wed Nov 04, 2009 7:11 pm

Do I realy understand what M4L is?

Post by qzs3ESc7 » Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:34 am

That might sound stupid but I am new to programming and I like to know if I have understood what I just have bought ... ! :oops:

As far as I understand MAX is a modul based programming language that is written in C. Because of that it is possible to programm new moduls that are not part of the original MAX and import them into MAX as so called externals. Because these externals are written in C I can only use externals within my MAX that are compiled for my platform (Windows, OS9 or OSX) - and I even might need to install extra runtime data (like fftw3.dll for windows) to use them.

M4L on the other hand is exactly like MAX but is only capable of running within Ableton Live.

That leaves me with some questions:

1.) Are my assumptions correct?

If they are ...

2.) Can I run any external for MAX within M4L that is compiled for my operating system?

3.) Is it further correct that I can only use M4L patches that are done on my operating system. So that I could not use a MAC M4L patch when I am running Live/M4L on Windows? Or depends that if/or what externals are used within a patch?

4.) If I could use externals that are written for Windows (and I am on Windows - as you might have guessed) - than I have another question: I can import the "bonk~" external ( but M4L crashes when I try to open the help file. I tried with fiddle~ and it's helpfile - that worked just fine.

Thank you for your patience with a noob ... ! :roll:

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Re: Do I realy understand what M4L is?

Post by steff3 » Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:45 am


you can develop in C (which is not platform independent) or in Java (which is of course cross platform). Of course there are tasks that perform better in C, for others Java could be considered good enough.

Do not know about the specifics for the Windows platform.

ad3) Modules for the Max library come for Mac and PC, so as long as you use those modules the M4L device is not limited to one platform. Lots of devs support both platforms (Mac and PC), so it is a question to have the right externals installed.
And you should be able to use most 3rd party externals ... (though it might not be ok to distribute them with your device - as they are not your IP and as they might only work on your platform)

hope that helps


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Re: Do I realy understand what M4L is?

Post by mdk » Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:36 am

also its not just java, but you have the Java Virtual Machine so with a bit of work you could use any JVM hosted language, JPython, JRuby, Groovy, Scala, Clojure etc..

and not forgetting there is javascript support built in as well, so if code is your thing then you have plenty of options. :)
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