Your Web Browser Is About To Get MIDI

The W3C’s Audio Working Group today published the first Public Working Draft of a new Web MIDI API. The API promises to bring MIDI to HTML5, complementing the new Web Audio API.

Why would you want MIDI in your Web browser?

This will allow developers to create new types of applications – like browser-based synthesizers – that you can control with a MIDI keyboard. Or a developer could create a Web based music sequencer. You could even create a MIDI controller UI that works through your Web browser.

The Web MIDI API

The Web MIDI API is intended to enable direct access to devices that respond to MIDI – external synthesizers or lighting systems, for example, or  software synthesizers. The Web MIDI API is also explicitly designed to enable a new class of applications on the web that can respond to MIDI controller inputs – using external hardware controllers with physical buttons, knobs and sliders (as well as musical controllers like keyboard, guitar or wind instrument controllers) to control web applications.

The specification defines an API supporting the MIDI protocol, enabling web applications to enumerate and select MIDI input and output devices on the client system and send and receive MIDI messages. It is intended to enable non-music MIDI applications as well as music ones, by providing low-level access to the MIDI devices available on the users’ systems.
Details are available at the W3 site.

via html5audio

15 thoughts on “Your Web Browser Is About To Get MIDI

  1. could i actually create a midi pattern on my sequencer, hook it into this “midi browser” and control my friends synthesizer in a different country. at that point he could record the sequence and continue the workflow.

    that would be neat. this is an interesting concept i don’t think i fully grasp yet.

  2. “Why would you want MIDI in your Web browser?”

    Well, for example for playing scores and (guitar) tabs directly in the browser, without a plugin. These scores an tabs might be even dynamically generated based on user input. Great for tutorials and such or helper apps for musician, like chord books, composition tools, musical notebooks etc. And these would work on mobile devices without the need for building a native app.

  3. Certainly has the potential to make on-line collaborations much easier. Instead of having to use the same DAW, all that is needed is to have a browser that supports the standard.

    But I doubt a little that browser developers will have the sensibility to important aspects like latency and priority. I hope not.

    But making new interfaces could be a lot easier 🙂 And using Javascript to make some sounds will be a new hobby for lots of developers. There’s a lot of people who know how to use Javascript that will have a new “toy” to use. This could be huge! On-line collaboration, generative scripts, websites that use MIDI, sequencers and other stuff (who knows?).

  4. Don’t get too excited. This may be handy for a few things but overall, applications running in web browsers are shaky at best. You can’t guarantee that things happen when they should in different configurations of hardware and software, and then you add the irregularities of network traffic in and things get more unpredictable. Even casual games can’t be executed very reliably using HTML5 on fast multi-core machines, so don’t expect a lot of MIDI or audio traffic to run in a browser unless it’s hosting a far more stable plug-in/language.

  5. Well there are already browser based music making platforms like Soundation, AudioSauna, Audiotool so it’s definitely going in that direction.

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