Saturday 18 January 2020

Importing, Editing and Exporting MIDI Files - Revisited

About ten years ago, I looked at importing, editing and exporting MIDI Files. I have just updated it, and there have been quite a few changes in the intervening years... Overall, though, things seem to have improved!

To take a look at the new version, then just click here. Whilst you are there, take look at some of the other nearby posts and see what a blog from ten years ago looked like...

Here's a hard link:

MIDIKit 4.3.2 from Mixage Software
What is interesting is how some things have changed, and how some things appear to have changed, but actually are much the same except with different names. Apple's 64-bit Catalina Operating System is in focus at the moment, but ongoing change has been a constant theme of the last ten years, and before that too. So there was System 7, which was a huge change when Macs were tiny little desktop boxes (It is very easy to forget just how incredibly small a Mac Plus was!), and OSX, and in and out of skeumorphism (and maybe back in again - there are one or two little hints appearing in operating systems again, I notice!).

A couple of fascinating examples of ongoing compatibility are example apps in the blog post, both of which have been around for many, many years, and are thoroughly recommended:

- MIDIKit, a MIDI File utility that makes detailed editing of MIDI Files very straight-forward, is 64-bit compatible, and it is shareware from a specialist developer in Italy. Web-site.

- Hex Fiend, a hex file viewer, is also 64-bit compatible, notarised, and is a project on GitHub. Web-site.

I'm sure there are many other equally worthy examples, and from huge corporate names too. I just like to promote alternatives sometimes.

One frequently recurring question that I get asked is about setting the top option and the default for Apps when you try to Open a File in macOS. Here's a quick guide:

VLC (setting 'top' and default Apps for MIDI Files...)

One 'alternative' that deserves mention, imho, is VLC. This is a free, open source media player that plays MIDI Files just by dropping the MIDI File onto it, which is very useful for auditioning purposes. Setting VLC as the 'top' app for .mid files makes it even easier for quick auditioning.

Setting the 'top' App:

Here's the usual situation - the default App (in this case MIDIKit 4.3.2) isn't what you want unless you are doing detailed analysis/editing of MIDI Files!).

So just go down to the 'Other...' menu option, right a the bottom of that pop-up menu on the right...

...and choose the App you want. VLC is a good choice for playing back MIDI Files - you know, like QuickTime Player used to be...

 And so now VLC is the top option in the pop-up menu!

Setting the default App:

To change the default App, then the procedure is slightly different.

So the starting position is where the default App isn't what we want. So let's change the default App from MIDIKit to VLC...

The first step is to right-click the MIDI File and choose the 'Get Info...' pop-up menu option.

Then open up the little triangle for 'Open with:' by clicking on the little triangle...

Select the App that you want as the default in the menu. VLC in this case...

Now the bit that lots of people forget to do - the 'Change All...' button. Click on it!

 ...and you get this dialogue box. Note that it tells you that:

"This change will apply to all documents with extension '.mid'"

This is exactly what we want to happen, so click on 'Continue' and you will then see:

 ...VLC is now the default App for MIDI Files.

If you try the 'Open with...' option again, you will now see this:

 and VLC is now the default App that will open MIDI Files.

Note that if you select an App in that 'Open with...' menu, but don't confirm it with the 'Change All..' button and dialogue, then the default will NOT change! 

For Windows users

I know there are steps that produce the same end results in Windows, but with the recent ending of support for Windows 7, then I don't have a current instance of Windows that I trust at the moment, and so I can't test or screenshot anything. But here are some links that might help you...

Hope these are useful...

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