Fingering Diagram Builder, version 0.4

April 30, 2012

Hello, friends. I’m excited to share the latest round of improvements to the Fingering Diagram Builder. Thanks to all for your suggestions and bug reports, for your donations (every little bit helps), and for sharing with me some of the cool things you are making with the fingering diagrams.

A few names that need mentioning for recent extra-awesome support and/or ideas are bassoonist Dave Wells (check out his high-quality and handsome bassoon fingering charts), saxophonist/doubler Evan Tate, saxophonist Bart Walters (who blogs over at Music Collective), pianist Jason Gray, and clarinetists Kellie Lignitz and Rachel Yoder (who included the FDB in their column in The Clarinet and on Clarinet Cache). You internet people sure are nice!

Check out version 0.4 of the Fingering Diagram Builder, or read on for a guide to what’s new and improved.

  • Okay, okay, I’m finally giving up on my vertical-accordion-style menu, which I liked but which seemed to confuse people and which got unwieldy when you opened too many menus at once. The new tabbed menu is boring and vaguely corporate, but more familiar, and more usable on a variety of screen sizes.
  • You can now save your own custom keywork presets: if you have an instrument with unusual keywork, you can set it up using the “Keywork details” tab, then click over to “Custom presets” and save it for future use.
  • You can also save what I’m calling custom “styles.” The impetus for this was that I’ve had some fingering chart projects that I’ve returned to add fingerings to later but couldn’t recall all the details of the diagrams I had created previously: were they “tiny” or “small?” were the lines “thick” or “heavy?” and so forth. Now you can set things up they way you like them for an individual project, then save them using the “Custom styles” tab. I’m already finding the “Dropbox folder” setting to be a timesaver (you are using Dropbox, aren’t you? You should be).
  • Note that both the custom keywork presets and the custom styles are saved to an individual browser, so if you switch computers or even web browsers, you won’t see your custom stuff. Maybe in a future version, but for now I’m trying to avoid fussing with logins and passwords and such.
  • I’ve added a piano keyboard diagram, suitable for various educational purposes. You can decide how many keys it has, up to 88.
  • The transverse simple-system flute fingering diagram now has a bunch of optional keys for historical or “Irish”-style flutes.
  • The oboe fingering diagram now has the option of a thumbplate, if you are into that sort of thing.
  • The saxophone high F-sharp key looks much nicer and more recognizable. The old one was designed to accommodate sopranos with a high G key, and that is still available, but the larger and sexier high F-sharp key is now turned on by default.
  • I have repositioned the saxophone left hand palm keys into a little more conventional, and hopefully clear, configuration.
  • The clarinet diagram now has an option for a right hand C-sharp/G-sharp trill, like the one on the Leblanc by Backun clarinets (and a few others).
  • After repeatedly downloading diagrams for my own use and then shrinking them down in an image editor, I’ve added a new “teeny” size option. If you are making diagrams this small, you will probably want to set line thickness to “heavy,” and maybe create your diagram at a larger size first and then click “teeny” to shrink it.
  • Several of you contacted me about a bug where if you saved images with custom filenames, and used the same filename more than once (like to overwrite one you had already downloaded), the original one would get downloaded again. This is fixed.
  • Introducing .tif files in the previous update proved to be popular, but the much larger files occasionally caused problems on the backend that crashed the FDB. I believe this to be fixed now.
  • All along, .png files were supposed to be (losslessly) compressed for smaller file sizes before download. At some point, that stopped working. It is now working again.
  • Adding the ability to save custom keywork presets and custom styles led to a need for more flexible and capacious storage than the previous system that used browser cookies. Your stuff is now saved using your browser’s “local storage” protocol instead, if available. You won’t notice any difference. As with cookies, all your information is still stored on your own computer, not on a server.
  • I’ve fixed a bug dealing with image offsets in .png files, which you possibly noticed if you tried to edit downloaded .pngs in a program like Gimp.
  • I have made numerous other small bug fixes, stability and speed improvements, aesthetic and usability improvements for desktop web browsers, and aesthetic and usability improvements for iDevices. In all, it’s over 100 fixes, improvements, and new features by my count.

As always, I welcome your feedback, suggestions, and bug reports. I also really like it when people fill me in about the projects they use the FDB for.

Enjoy!

Comments

  1. Ian Dalrymple

    Bret, thanks for the fabulous “builder”. Don’t know if it’s possible but, as a novice sax player, what would be really useful would be if the builder could show how each note is written on the staves, alongside the finger position diagram, (I’m not computer literate enough to be able to print it on this e-mail but I’m sure you know what I mean).

    Perhaps a link to a printable file showing the chromatic scale finger positions would be a good addition too.

    Anyway, I’m sure you have spent many many hours of sweat and toil producing the builder and I’d just like to say thanks for your efforts, it’s greatly appreciated.

    Cheers,

    Ian

    Reply

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