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Outrageously unsolicited advice on software quality
Last post Fri, Mar 25 2022 by fatis12_24918, 6 replies.
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Posted on Tue, Mar 22 2022 02:50
by spicemix
Joined on Fri, Mar 18 2022, Posts 40

VEPro 7 on i9 iMac 32GB RAM SSD latest OS and Logic versions, everything updated latest. Clean system, using defaults (other than enabling autosave, given the constant crashiness), fairly simple template with Synchron, Kontakt, and Aria players, no other plugs. This should work, and it kinda does, for a while, anyway.

But getting this template together VEPro (and sometimes even Logic) crashed about every half-hour, doing various things that you would think would work, kinda worked, seemed to work for a few times and then died of memory leak or whatever.

Software design looks about 2004 era. Syncrhon Player looks current. That may have been built anew recently with a contract team or the better front end people who dread working on the legacy codebase of VEPro. But VEPro is the essential piece the company offers and it just can't go on like this.

Suggestion is first to adopt American software discipline where if a feature doesn't work, it is removed. European software management typically prioritizes features over quality, this is a total mistake, as most features are gratuitous for most. Pick only the features a professional uses and delete the rest, as you simply won't be able to QA them given the enormous matrix of 2 OSes, 2 plugin formats, half a dozen hosts, and thousands of plugins.

For instance, get rid of the "coupled" mode and do everything decoupled with instance preserved as a pro template user will. Every "mode" you add adds to that matrix and swamps your QA. Have only one pro-level mode and face down the tears and shrieking internally and externally for the transition.

The thing crashes with simple commands such as Insert Channel Set or Load Channel Set from Disk. Remove these commands then. You can't make them work on all platforms, they get removed until you can.

Implement automated E2E testing across the entire matrix, operating at the GUI level. If you're going to blow off technical debt, you remove those features. You don't make the software a minefield, especially as your autosave sucks and is noisy (makes the dock icon bounce every minute! Does anyone there actually use this software?). Resist the urge to just spruce up the GUI, the most urgent issues are always the crashers. Software in 2022 shouldn't crash.

Implement stringent memory leak detection and other iteration testing. One of the nice things about the level of indirection VEPro offers is the ability to swap instances to swap libraries being used. I got this in my template but it only works 8 times or so back and forth until it just instantly brings down VEPro. That durability has to be tested with automation, again across the matrix including other plugin vendors.

I would probably do this on the existing code base, no matter how gruesome and outdated it is, before attempting a ground-up rewrite. As people are relying on this in the here and now and you have no idea when a replacement will actually settle into working no matter how optimistic you are now. The measures I'm suggesting are near-term as long as you can achieve buy-in down the org chart.

I will try to continue working with this; but people there ought to be humiliated at the state of their flagship software product. Single worst piece of code on my machine. If there was a legit competitor, the transition would not only be swift monetarily, it would likely take out the cash cow of the sampling business along with it. Pay attention.

Posted on Tue, Mar 22 2022 16:59
by Karmand
Joined on Wed, Apr 14 2021, Nashville, TN USA, Posts 23

I hear this. Same crash problems and I don't know what to do about it, but I love your suggestions.

Cheers for helping them along with good suggestions.


Posted on Thu, Mar 24 2022 04:00
by christerdk
Joined on Tue, Nov 30 2021, Posts 21

This is exactly why I gave up my MPC Live II. Lovely piece of hardware but AKAI kept on adding new features, new synths etc, meanwhile some of the most core functionalities had bugs in them. Some of the bugs were years old, as far as I could tell from the facebook forum. 

In addition to removing feature, a gentle strategy to this is to hide a functionality first for a few updates. Depends on timeframe, of course, but it's a good to gauge any outrage. If no-one objects, remove it entirely.

Originally Posted by: spicemix Go to Quoted Post

Resist the urge to just spruce up the GUI, the most urgent issues are always the crashers. Software in 2022 shouldn't crash.

Posted on Thu, Mar 24 2022 18:30
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 612

This OP is a curious one.  The poster seems to be implying he has some sort of software guru status. But in real life, merely sprinkling lots of apparent jargon in the discourse tends to be counterproductive in that regard. As every manager knows, talking with the upper levels of the hierarchy is typically far from being a techie jargon-fest. So I don't believe he speaks from any sort of real backround of seniority.

He claims to have serious reliability problems with the stuff he's running in his system. But if the sort of unreliability he claims to be encountering was actually widespread, we'd surely know about it.

He recommends "American software discipline", whereby only the features a professional uses should be kept. I go further and say it's internationally good discipline generally to avoid having non-pro stuff in pro products. He says he's running Aria players; these cheapo Garritan players use Plogue technology. Since when has anything turned out by Plogue been the choice of mainstream professionals? I'm agreeing with him - why should any pro music-making software these days accommodate and guarantee to work perfectly with anything from amateur corner?

Looks to me like he's got answers to his own problems but for some reason can't or won't see it that way, preferring instead to attempt a smear job on VSL.

"Music embodies feeling without forcing it to contend and combine with thought, as it is forced in most arts and especially in the art of words."
~ Franz Liszt
Posted on Fri, Mar 25 2022 15:25
by civilization 3
Joined on Sat, May 16 2009, SF Bay Area, Posts 1942

Well, crashing regularly, "every half hour" indicates one's system, or it would be universally true, and the probability of that is not high. Typical rant on the 'net, one's particular problems are projected as universal issues.

VE Pro 7 crashes for me if there's a lot of loading large-ish instances over instances, and/or deleting instances in the midst of this, where things become unstable. So I've found that doing 'delete instance' first (from the menu) reduces the chance of crashes to very low. Delete all instances as opposed to 'quit' is a lot quicker as well.

If I'm not managing the server project and just working, it doesn't crash unless Cubase or Nuendo crash. (I'm not sure why these decoupled situations act like coupled in this regard, but majority of the time one goes down, so does the other.)

The Vienna Instrument Pro interface is by far the most powerful interface of any sample player. It looks 2002? It's an elegant design ergonomically; where's the substantive argument?


I didn't know using SFZ meant not serious. My main exposure to Plogue is from Bidule. People that are into a fully modular way, that think of things a certain way use it, the same type that use Max for Live and like that. 

I use it for Garritan Harps. I use Garritan Harps because they sound the best to me. 

MacBookPro 18,3
Apple M1 Pro: 2.3 GHz 8-core i9

Mac OS 12.3.1
VE Pro 7.1298, Nuendo 11.0.41
Posted on Fri, Mar 25 2022 16:25
by fatis12_24918
Joined on Sat, Dec 16 2006, Posts 354

Originally Posted by: spicemix Go to Quoted Post

Software in 2022 shouldn't crash.

Such a lost opportunity for a great feedback, probably disrupted by frustration into a final rant.

Who say that in 2022 software shouldn't crash, doesn't know about software: who knows about software should say "software of all ages shouldn't crash... but software of all ages can crash, and it does".

About American vs. European software management, well, I simply can't get it. Had experience with both styles in both the continents/cultures, and even elsewhere (Asia, India etc.). So what's the point? Is the fault of VSL being born in Vienna instead of Los Angeles? Talk to East West customers (just to stay on the same industry) and probably you will find out a different point of view.

...and by chance some of the most lean, efficient and rock-solid professional softwares were from Germany, not from US.

Ok, sorry I didn't resist... now back to music.

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