Max Sdk

Software Development Kit for Max by Cycling '74
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The Traditional Max Software Development Kit contains the API (headers, source, libraries) for building external objects (plug-ins) in C or C++ for Max. It additionally includes documentation of the API, example projects, and CMake scripts for generating Xcode and Visual Studio project files.

The repository contains one submodule, max-sdk-base, that provides the low-level bindings to the Max application and CMake scripts for creating your own projects.


  1. Clone the max-sdk from Github or download the latest release. If you clone it from Github, you should clone it into Max's Packages folder. If you clone it elsewhere you will need to make an alias to it in your Packages folder. The Packages folder can be found inside of your Max 8 folder which is inside of your user's Documents folder. Make sure you clone recursively so that all sub-modules are properly initiated : git clone --recursive
  2. In the Terminal or Console app of your choice, change directories (cd) into the max-sdk folder you cloned/installed in step 0.
  3. mkdir build to create a folder with your various build files
  4. cd build to put yourself into that folder
  5. Now you can generate the projects for your choosen build environment:


Run cmake -G Xcode ..

Next run cmake --build . or open the Xcode project from this "build" folder and use the GUI.

Note: you can add the -j4 option where "4" is the number of cores to use. This can help to speed up your builds, though sometimes the error output is interleaved in such a way as to make troubleshooting more difficult.

If you are running on a Mac M1 machine, you will likely see an error cannot be loaded due to system security policy when loading your externals in Max. To resolve this, you can ad-hoc codesign your external with codesign --force --deep -s - myobject.mxo.


You can run cmake --help to get a list of the options available. Assuming some version of Visual Studio 2019, the commands to generate the projects will look like this:

cmake -G "Visual Studio 16 2019" ..

Or using Visual Studio 2017 it will look like this:

cmake -G "Visual Studio 15 2017 Win64" ..

Having generated the projects, you can now build by opening the .sln file in the build folder with the Visual Studio app (just double-click the .sln file) or you can build on the command line like this:

cmake --build . --config Release

Max 8.2 SDK Update

With the 8.2 update several aspects of the Max-SDK were changed in order to support Apple silicon and CMake project generation. For details on this change and steps to get started with CMake please see the 8.2 update readme or the Max 8.2 SDK Update Overview video.


If you are interested in using Modern C++ to write external objects, please take a look at the Min DevKit.


It is highly recommended that you test your code thoroughly. One option is use the max-test package.


For support, please use the developer forums at:

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