Fingering diagram builder, version 0.3

September 10, 2011

I’m pleased to announce some updates and improvements to the Fingering diagram builder. Thanks to all who have used it, and especially to all who have reported bugs, made suggestions, Tweeted or blogged about it, or offered compliments. And a very special thanks indeed to those who have used the “Send me reed money” link to support the FDB financially.

Go poke around the new-and-improved FDB, or read on for the full scoop.

Here are the changes for version 0.3:

  • Sorry to start the list with a bit of a downer, but this is important: to preserve my own sanity and to speed up the release of future updates, I’m only testing in current browser versions. If you’re using an out-of-date browser, you’re on your own. It might work, it might not. The good news is that you can update for free in a matter of minutes, and it’s not even hard to do. (Also, at this time I can personally test only on a Windows computer, at least until there’s a serious uptick in donations, so I’m especially grateful for bug reports from Mac/Linux/??? users.)
  • In a similar vein, the ever-popular Internet Explorer still does not play nice with the FDB. The release of IE9 came close to making it possible for me to offer IE support, but still no cigar. This remains a high priority and I promise I’ll fix it if Microsoft or I can ever figure it out. In the meantime, try an excellent free alternative browser. If you’re one of the rare and special folks who uses the Opera browser, you may discover some slightly odd but non-crippling interface behaviors. I don’t know why.
  • I continue to relentlessly reorganize and rename the menus. Sorry. Hopefully version 0.3 is the clearest and most intuitive so far. The menu interface has minor usability improvements as well.
  • The interface in general has a number of aesthetic and functional improvements.
  • You now have a choice between saving diagrams in .png format, which is what I recommend for onscreen uses like websites, or .tif format, which, depending on your software, can produce much clearer printed diagrams.
  • There’s a centralized spot in the menu area for error messages and other notifications now, replacing the old, annoying pop-up notifications.
  • If you’re a Dropbox user (and you definitely should be—it’s free and awesome), there’s now an easy way to share your fingerings. Sign in to your Dropbox account in the “Save options” menu, and check the “Use public folder” box. When you click “Save image,” your diagram will appear like magic in your Dropbox’s public folder, and the FDB will give you a link that you can email, Tweet, embed in a web page, tattoo on your body, or whatever you’re into. It’s none of my business.
  • The flute, oboe, and clarinet diagrams now allow for special fingerings that use the rings or perforated keys. To enable these, or any of the other new keywork options listed below, look in the “Diagram options” menu, “Keywork details” submenu.
  • The clarinet, bassoon, recorder, and simple transverse/endblown flute diagrams now allow for half-holing, including the upper half and the lower half, on all finger holes.
  • The diamond-shaped oboe half hole is a little bigger, which improves legibility at small sizes. There’s also an option now to use a half-circle shape instead.
  • The clarinet diagram now has a built-in setting for full-Boehm instruments. The clarinet diagram also now offers a special low F key, such as that on the Buffet “Tosca” clarinets.
  • The saxophone diagram now includes some obscure keywork options, like a harmonic key (such as that available on some of the current Selmer models), a left-hand low A key for baritone, and a vintage-style G-sharp trill key. I’m interested in accommodating people’s strange keywork needs, so let me know what other keys you would like to see. Send photos if you can.
  • The recorder diagram now has an option for low F/C and F-sharp/C-sharp keys, like for tenor and bass (as well as some treble) instruments.
  • The simple transverse flute diagram now has a built-in setting for Baroque flute, complete with RH pinky key.
  • More colors. I hope that will create additional possibilities for educators and other creative dreamer/hippie types. I caved and decided to include white—this technically isn’t necessary if you make good use of the “Keywork details” menu, but having white available in the color palette can be a handy shortcut.
  • As before, you can choose from thin, medium, or thick lines, plus now there’s an option for “heavy.” This is a great option for smaller diagrams.
  • It should be more straightforward now to create standard blank fingering diagrams, like if you want to print them out and color them in yourself. I do this to create fingering quizzes for my woodwind methods class. Just choose your instrument, then click the “show all” button in the “Diagram options” menu. To undo this, click “show default.”
  • I’ve added Facebook “Like” and Google “+1” buttons. Click away!
  • Major bug fixes: some alert users have reported that their downloaded images don’t match what they are seeing onscreen, mostly keys either appearing or disappearing. I believe this is at least mostly fixed for up-to-date-browsers.
  • Major bug fix: the FDB is supposed to save certain of your menu options when you leave the site, so they will still be there when you return. (They reset after 30 days, but why would you stay away that long?) This wasn’t working as reliably as I would have liked in version 0.2, but it’s much better now.
  • I have officially licensed all diagrams created with the FDB under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. This is a very slight tightening-up of my previous “send-a-donation-if-you-use-these-for-profit-pretty-please” policy. You’re still totally welcome and encouraged to use the diagrams for websites, blog posts, teaching, academic work, and other not-for-profit things. The license technically requires that you give me credit for my work, which is not what I would have specified in a license of my own design. I do appreciate being credited, but we’re still cool if you don’t. The non-commercial thing is more serious, but I think in most cases we can still settle up with a token PayPal donation if you want to use the diagrams, or derivative works, for profit. Send me an email. Thanks for your respectful use of my hard work.
  • I’ve seriously, significantly improved a bunch of other things under the hood. That mostly won’t matter to you, except that things will hopefully run a little smoother and faster overall. Also, I’ve made it significantly easier for myself to add new features and improve old ones, so that should mean more good stuff coming your way.

I love hearing what people are using the FDB for, so keep me posted on your woodwind-fingering-related projects. If it’s especially awesome and available on the web, I’d be interested in featuring it in a future blog post.

Enjoy!

Comments

  1. Gandalfe

    I get this error message: Sorry, the Fingering diagram builder is not compatible with Internet Explorer. Please consider trying a free alternative browser.

    Recent blog post: Calling Batman, or why we need heroes (September 11, 2011)

    Reply

    • Bret Pimentel (Your host)

      I regret that this is the case. I’ll fix the FDB to work with Internet Explorer if I ever can. For now, the only solution is to install another browser—it’s free, only takes a few minutes, and you can still keep IE, too.

      Reply

  2. Gandalfe

    No worries, I have two other browsers on my computer as backups. Thanks for doing this Bret.

    Recent blog post: Sleep, perchance to dream… (September 12, 2011)

    Reply

  3. Robin Tropper

    Bret, this is amazing!
    I really hope Microsoft gets its act together and starts fully supporting SVG….. so much of the mobile world is going that way….
    Putting the link on several Facebook groups.
    Cheers!

    Recent blog post: Microphone Geometry (September 12, 2011)

    Reply

  4. […] multiple-woodwinds teacher at Delta State Uni­ver­sity. (You can read more about the FDB here). But until now, I hadn’t done any more than just play around with it. I used Bret’s FDB to […]

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