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by Jacqueline Landman Gay
HyperActive Software

ShakoboxDownload Shakobox 1.0 for Macintosh PPC (incompatible with Intel Macs)

Download Shakobox 1.0 for Windows

Download Shakobox 2.0 for Intel Macs (external site link)

Shakobox provides a way for MetaCard and LiveCode to play scripted musical notation, which in some cases can bypass the need to embed sound files in a stack. Because the notation is scripted, handlers can provide long instrumental selections with virtually no size overhead. Stacks can be created to act as music editors that allow notation entry in fields for playback "on the fly." For simple music or sound effects, scripted notation provides a viable alternative to sound files, and greatly reduces the size of stack files on disk. Shakobox supports all 128 instruments in the QuickTime's MIDI instrument library, which allows a wide variety of sound effects and exceptional musical color.

Shakobox version 1.0 for Windows and PPC Macs

Ingeniously written by Jon Bettencourt, Shakobox works by launching a small, proprietary application that serves as an interface between the stack scripts and the Macintosh QuickTime engine. On a Macintosh, the PlayCommand Agent application receives AppleScript commands from the stack, interprets them, and forwards the correct syntax to QuickTime. For Windows users, the Windows version of PlayCommand Agent allows communication with Shakobox either through the command line, or via small text files written to a folder.

The Shakobox stack itself contains all the documentation, scripts, examples, and AppleScript support you need to get started scripting musical notation in your stacks. It also contains scripts that will install either the 68K or OS X version of the PlayCommand Agent application, which is contained within the stack itself as a set of custom resources. If you plan to distribute your musical stacks, you can use the included installer scripts to make sure that your users also have this required application installed. Windows users should download the .zip file instead, which does not contain an installer stack but does come with a text file explaining instructions for use.

Shakobox for Mac will work with MacOS 8, 9 or X (PPC only.) Shakobox for Windows works with any version of Windows from Win95 to Vista (and probably more.) QuickTime, and either LiveCode or MetaCard are required for either platform. Shakobox's PlayCommand Agent was written by and is Copyright 2002 by Jon Bettencourt. Shakobox stack design, scripting, and documentation is by HyperActive Software.

New: Shakobox version 2.0 for Intel Macs

Thierry Douez has taken the reins with this new implementation of Shakobox for Intel Macs. Based on his MIDI player external, it requires no QuickTime at all, and provides the same features and scripted musical notation as the original Shakobox, along with an open-source scripting library to get you started. The link above will take you to the sunny-tdz site where you can read about it and grab the download. Shakobox is free, though the sunnYmidi external is a commercial product, but you can test it without charge for 20 minutes at a time. If you want easy scripted musical notation it's well worth the very reasonable purchase price.