Google's Peter Brinkmann is determined to make Android a viable platform for music apps! Back in May, Peter was at Droidcon talking about how libPd (a wrapped for Pure Data) can be used in cross-platform music app development. Today he has announced some exciting news specific to Android: Patchfield!
Essentially Audiobus or JACK for Android, Patchfield lets developers focus on specific tasks in much the same way we've seen on iOS! Many developers lament having to include a dedicated recorder in their app, or otherwise re-invent the wheel, but with these tools they don't have to.
Some of the best apps are those that specialize in a single task. With Patchfield, a new open-source audio library for Android, you can create highly focused audio apps (such as synthesizers and effects) and then combine their capabilities by connecting them to one another in a virtual patch bay. Inspired by JACK, the JACK Audio Connection Kit, Patchfield provides a simple, callback-driven API for implementing audio modules, a flexible API for managing the signal processing graph, and support for inter-app audio routing.
Running as a remote service, Patchfield allows audio developers to create interoperable apps that focus on a single task each, such as synthesis or effects or recording. The output of one app can be connected to the input of another, for a combinatorial explosion of possibilities. Running locally within a single app, Patchfield provides a powerful way of organizing the audio components of an app. The implementation resides entirely in user space and works on many stock consumer devices, such as Nexus 7 and 10.
Patchfield is available at GitHub, under the the Apache 2.0 License. The repository includes the core library as well as a number of sample projects that illustrate how to use Patchfield.
Thanks to reader Grey Burkart for bringing this to my attention! Here is a DevBytes video from Peter talking about the power and flexibility this adds to Android. This includes a preview of the control app, for connecting audio modules. All of this will only be of immediate interest to developers, but it is good news for users too!