Saturday, 21 September 2013

Hands-on : navigating graphs with midi control surfaces

Using a mouse to get around a graph like HiveMindMap can be a bit fiddly. The music industry is way ahead of us in using hands-on hardware to control things and here I (ab)use a midi music controller with dials and sliders to zip around the map. I'm using a new feature in HTML5 which allows the browser to respond to MIDI messages coming from the hardware.
While a piece of hardware designed for mixing music is perhaps not the ideal tool,  spinning a dial feels like a pretty effective way of selecting lines (or "edges" in graph lingo) and beats trying to hover over lines with a mouse. I would expect future keyboards to come equipped with fancy dials and sliders that can send MIDI messages for use in web browsers in all sorts of inventive ways.