MIT Media Lab staff (the Open Ended Group) is working on a new kind of programming tool called Field. It connects everything. Not only various programming modules and components, but also different styles of generating, editing and testing code are provided. For example textual coding with auto-complete, visual coding, timelines, live-coding, flow-management etc.

It is an environment for writing code to rapidly and experimentally assemble and explore algorithmic systems. It is visual, it is hybrid, it is code-based. We think that it has something to offer a diverse range of programmers and artists. Based on ideas started at the MIT Media Lab, Field has been in development in-house for around 6 years but for the last year it has been quietly available online as an open source project.

I really do not know if Field will be a smart solution to manage projects efficiently. Just because it tries to be everything at once. Consider this, to get an idea of working with code. About the user interface:

The editor also has a few surprises. Graphical user elements like sliders, graphs, buttons and combo boxes can be integrated into the text editor directly as if they were text; toolbars, menus and filters can be customized from within the environment itself; a set of elements allows other programming languages to be embedded into the same document — including programming languages that execute inside other applications like Maya and Aftereffects; embedded elements can be extended using code written in Field; and version tracking information is integrated directly into the document so that you can visualize the history of the document in-place.

Nevertheless it looks like the beginning of a powerful solution for extending creative ways of coding in order to reach the next level for artists working with code. Let’s keep an eye on Field.

Field example – Processing Plugin overview from OpenEndedGroup on Vimeo.

Blog - Date published: May 13, 2009 | 1 Comment

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