Fingering Diagram Builder, version 0.5

May 15, 2013

I am pleased to announce the release of the Fingering Diagram Builder, version 0.5. The updates are mostly tech-nerdy stuff and won’t affect how you use it. Read on to find out what’s new, or just check it out yourself.

It has been a bit over a year since the last “major” release, which I hope didn’t led anyone to believe that the project was abandoned. I still have every intention of continuing to update and improve it, and your suggestions and bug reports (also donations) are always welcomed.

Here’s what’s new:

  • In previous versions of the FDB, I had to block the Internet Explorer browser because it just didn’t play nice with the technologies and techniques I wanted to use. I’ve made a little headway in that department, so I’m pleased to announce that at this point you are free to attempt using IE if that’s your thing. At this point the FDB is still definitely broken in IE version 8 and earlier, and I will not be making any attempts to fix that. It’s a bit buggy and unreliable in IE 9 and 10, but you’re welcome to give it a shot; I still recommend using something else for best results.
  • I have made some significant improvements to Dropbox integration. (If you aren’t using Dropbox already, go sign up now for free. It’s not strictly necessary for using the FDB, but it is a requirement for being generally productive and awesome.)
    • The thing you will notice first is that there is so much Dropbox sweetness that it got its own menu tab.
    • You now get to sign in to Dropbox using Dropbox’s official mechanism, presented in a pop-up window, so you can rest easy about the security of your stuff. I promise I was neither able nor inclined to steal your files using the previous sign-in procedure, but the new way is more clearly above-board.
    • You can now choose where in your Dropbox to save your diagrams using a basic mouse/touch-driven system, rather than having to type the path yourself.
    • Diagrams saved to Dropbox (now anywhere, not just your Public folder) can generate links for easy sharing with your friends, students, or whoever. The links are somewhat long and unwieldy, so you can optionally shorten them to bit.ly links for convenient tweeting.
  • The oboe diagram’s second (side) octave key now has a shape distinct from the first (thumb), so that should be more clear and intuitive.
  • The clarinet diagram now has an optional right-thumb low E/F pitch correction key, like on the Yamaha CSGII clarinets (and some others, I think).
  • The saxophone diagram now has an optional left-hand high F-sharp key, like you might find on the various Leblanc Rationnel-family saxophones.
  • I hope it won’t confuse anyone too much that “save to computer” is now “save to device.” It’s getting weird trying to support all the various gadgets people use.
  • As always, I tried to make a whole bunch of tiny improvements to the interface, the diagrams, the speed, the bandwidth consumption, and the mobile-friendliness (less laggy tapping!), and to squash a few bugs that hopefully you hadn’t noticed.
  • I should point out that I also removed a few little workarounds in the code that supported some older web browsers, so if you’re one of those few users you may actually run into some new “bugs” that I just won’t be fixing. The point of this is to focus my efforts on adding features and other improvements rather than supporting old technology. Luckily, upgrading your browser is free, fast, and super-easy.

One regularly-requested feature is the ability to attach staves to the diagrams showing the pitch associated with the fingering. This was part of my original vision of the FDB, but I have abandoned the idea for now. I want the FDB to be useful to people doing interesting things beyond standard fingering charts: multiphonics, trills/tremolos, microtones, and so forth. To adequately provide music notation to indicate those kinds of sounds, I would have to practically write an entire music notation program, and, frankly, that’s way beyond the scope of what I’m capable and willing to do. Another related frequent request is the ability to add text; I’m also not interested in writing a whole word processor with support for fonts, various languages, etc. So, the FDB remains dedicated strictly to the diagrams themselves, and you’re on your own for the rest.

As always, I’m pleased to hear from people who are making cool things (websites, books, class handouts, research papers, teaching aids, etc.) with the FDB. Let me know what you’re up to. And if your project is for-profit, make sure you check in with me so we’re cool on the licensing of my intellectual property.

Thanks for your support, and enjoy the latest upgrades to the Fingering Diagram Builder!

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Gertjan

    Hi Bret,

    Just to let you know: it works fine on my Android tablet (running Jelly Bean) with both Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. Excellent!

    Reply

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