Cable connection shortcuts and features

…such as these handy QC features:

  • clicking and releasing, then moving the mouse to connect a cable rather than having to click and drag
  • holding down option when releasing to connect a cable in one place without having to go back to the originating node in order to connect it somewhere else
  • holding down option while yanking a cable’s to duplicate the cable

…or these completely new ones:

  • perhaps a shortcut key to hold while connected a cable in order to do certain non-automatic type conversions, such as discarding data from an event (would save having to find it in the node library first)
  • clicking and dragging in the middle of a cable to change its curve (would be useful as a way to “bundle” cables and reduce clutter a little)
  • clicking and dragging while holding option (to indicate a new cable rather than moving the same cable) in the middle of a cable to create a branch (branching would reduce the amount of cable in cases where one node is sending data to many nodes – think of it as a QC splitter for organizational purposes, without the splitter)
  • “smart” cables, that know how to get out of the way of other nodes while the composition is built
  • the ability to connect a cable going backwards, from the input of a node to the output of another node (if a type conversion decision is necessary, it could appear either at the upstream connection, or the downstream)
  • keyboard shortcuts while selecting a large area on the canvas that will select only nodes, or only cables

…and these potential improvements to current features:

  • colouring the cable as a gradient, moving from the originating node’s colour to the next node’s colour (the fact that a red node connecting to a blue node results in a grey cable doesn’t seem right)
  • some bulk colouring operations, like colouring all upstream/downstream nodes, or colouring nodes based on their type, of function (i.e. rendering, math, event-firing, etc.)
  • the ability to rotate a node 90º to create less clutter vertical organization
  • quickly add a single drawer item by clicking the handle (for cases like adding one more object to a scene)
  • ability to rename the items in a drawer (e.g. from item1, item2, etc. to sphere, square, camera1, camera2, etc.)

I can make mockups of any of the above for clarification :)

Hey Pianomatic,

Nice work here! To move forward, can you please break these down into individual requests? (Looks like about 11 different points here.) Also, in addition to broaching solutions, for each issue can you clearly articulate the problem? (So it will be more accessible for collaboration.) Thanks!


We finally took some time to try to understand what you were suggesting. I’m going to respond by number. You have 14 bullets, so 1 though 14.

1 - This currently conflicts with the way Vuo does port popovers, so we don’t think this is good feature for Vuo.

2 - This conflicts with what we plan to do. We are going to implement the ability to connect event-only cables with an option+drag (See #4).

3 - Having a way to duplicate cables is a great idea. We’ve added it our list of unscheduled future work.

4 - We’re adding the ability to draw an event-only cable from a data-and-event port in 0.9.

5 - We’re investigating how changing our cable path algorithm might help with clutter. We also plan to introduce a way in 0.9 to hide some cables.

6 - We’re investigating how automatically adding “Share Value” nodes could work as branch points.

7 - We’ll take another look at “cable clutter” after we decide and implement any new cable path algorithms.

8 - Backwards cable drags - We’re going to try to get this into 0.9, but it might be more difficult than we have time for.

9 - We’re planning on highlighting cables when the associated node is selected, probably 1.5. [Correction: this is already implemented.] Can you give us a case for when selecting only nodes or only cables would be useful?

10 - We’re going to make cables the same color as the originating node. Scheduled for 0.9.

11 - We hope to implement highlighting and tinting downstream nodes for 1.5. We need to think about automatic tinting some more. Some people love being able to choose tints themselves.

12- We think eventually implementing sub-compositions would be a better solution.

13 - You can currently right click on an drawer handle to open up a context menu to add an item.

14 - Several people have told us how nodes (with associated drawers) are too long already. We’re hesitant to make them any longer. In fact, 0.9 will change them [correction: 0.8 did change them] from item1 to 1, and so on.  

In Vuo 0.9, we added the ability to create event-only cables by holding the Option key, and the ability to drag cables backwards (from input ports to output ports).

We’re exploring many of your other suggestions for future releases.

@smokris Would duplicate a node with the cables connections be something to add here ? Or should I make a separate request ?

I mean if I have a patch connected to 3 other nodes using 10 cables, duplicating this patch without to have to reconnect all the cables could be handy !?!

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Thanks, @pianomatic, for your ideas. We’ve already implemented many of the items mentioned in this request. Beyond what’s mentioned in the comments above, Vuo 1.2 adds support for subcompositions, which provides a way to assign names to items in a drawer: publish the individual items in the drawer, and rename the published ports.

The remaining items are now covered by a few individual feature requests: