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References and Binding are how we build connections between operators of different families in TouchDesigner. References can be created by dragging and dropping channels from CHOPs to other operators, or by dragging and dropping parameters between operators. References are unidirectional, meaning that a reference from a CHOP channel to a TOP parameter (for example) allows that parameter to be controlled from the CHOP channel, but does not allow changes to the parameter to push back to the CHOP channel. References show up in light blue in an operator’s parameters. Importantly, because references are Python expressions, they can also include Pythonic operations.
While References are unidirectional, Binding allows for bidirectional communication between bound parameters. Binding uses the purple style parameter type. As a new user it can be difficult to know when to use binding or references, and a general rule of thumb is to use binding when you might interact with either the source or destination of a parameter change, and to use references when you intend to only interact with the source of a parameter change.