About Collectives

About Collectives

Collectives are files that contain all of the necessary resources to use a patcher. These resources can include abstractions , external objects, image files, or audio files. Making a collective allows you to give someone else a project you've created in Max with the confidence it not be missing something it needs in order to work properly. That is, with one caveat: collectives, unlike patcher files, are generally platform-specific, because they contain platform-specific external objects.

When you build a collective from a patcher, Max analyzes patcher to find its dependencies (the resources the patcher needs). You can use the collective editor or write a collective build script to include files in a collective that are not added automatically.

While collectives include the necessary resources to be opened in Max, they still require Max to operate. A standalone application is a collective that is combined with a copy of Max. Standalone applications, which are always platform-specific, can eliminate all external dependencies for others to run your patch.

The process of creating a collective

When you create a collective, you’ll follow three basic steps:

  • Determine the top-level patch for your application. You will build a collective using that patch, and Max will include any external objects or abstractions that the top-level patch requires. Certain objects will report file dependencies to the collective builder; for example, the js object causes Max to include its associated Javascript file.
  • Determine any other data files you will need to explicitly include in your collective. This may be a trial-and-error process as you see what is not included automatically.
  • With the main patcher as the topmost window, choose Build Collective / Application from the File menu and use the collective editor to configure and save the collective.

You can open the resulting collective as you would any other Max document by choosing Open... from the File menu or by double-clicking on the collective in the Finder on the Mac or Explorer on Windows.