Things have been pretty quiet on the website for awhile, and some of you may be wondering why. As many of you are aware, a very big update has been in the works for quite some time. This update is addressing a huge amount of user feature requests, and is going to make MobileSheets a much more polished app. Due to the complexity of how much is changing, the update has taken me much, much longer than I had anticipated. To explain why the update has been delayed, I wanted to address some common questions I’ve been getting:
Why is the update taking so long to finish?
Over the years of supporting MobileSheets, I’ve learned a lot about developing an app for the Android OS, and some of the unique challenges that come with having to support so many different devices with different version of the Android operating system. When I first started out, I had a limited number of features I wanted MobileSheets to support, and they were based mainly on my own needs. Now that the user base has grown, my focus has changed to providing users what they need. Unfortunately, the current design of MobileSheets has limitations that were preventing a lot of requested features from being added. Faced with these limitations, I decided to make a lot of big changes to the design for MobileSheetsPro. This means changing core parts of the system like the underlying rendering engine for displaying pages so I can support more display modes (two pages up at a time, vertical scrolling, etc). With any big changes of this nature come new technical problems to solve and a lot of new things to test. All of these things take a considerable amount of time.
With the new update, I didn’t want to abandon users with older tablets (running older version of the operating system). This has created some unique challenges in its own right, and has slowed down progress. I may have to phase out older devices at some point, but with the amount of new features that are coming, I didn’t want any of my users to be left out.
What is being added in the update?
While the list of changes is pretty long, I can cover some of the main new features:
- Complete overhaul of the rendering engine to support vertical scrolling, two pages up at a time, scrolling animations with page turns, and half page turns in portrait.
- Support for new file types including .txt files and .chordpro files.
- New custom made audio player with support for a-b looping, and setting start/end times.
- Support for multiple values in almost all library fields (i.e. multiple artists, albums, composers). Lots of new fields to meet user demands.
- Simpler file management
- Automatic cropping and positional pinch zooming (what you would normally expect)
- Cleaner interfaces, use of real tabs, and better icons
- Sharing features, including the ability to email songs/setlists
- Better automatic scrolling features
- Integrated MIDI support
As you can see, the amount of new content is pretty staggering. There are also a lot of little enhancements like the ability to select multiple songs for deletion.
When do you expect the update to be done?
I always seem to get this answer wrong, as I’m overly optimistic about how long things will take to code. My goal is to have everything finished this month. It will take a fair amount of work to make that happen, and I need to allow a couple weeks for beta testing, but I will do my best.
What is left to be finished?
In terms of what is left to code, I have to finish implementing changes to the new song editor, I have to add a few configuration dialogs for things like how song titles are displayed, what tabs are shown (so you can ignore categories you don’t use), and configuring pedal actions, and I have to finish a few things which are currently incomplete (automatic scrolling features and rendering of text/chordpro files).
How much will this update cost?
The update is now going to be released as a separate product called MobileSheetsPro. It will be released at a discounted price for the first month, and then put back at the regular price.
What about the Windows 8 version
Unfortunately, I only have a limited amount of free time outside my day job. The Windows 8 version has been delayed while I’ve been finishing the Android update. Once I release MobileSheetsPro for Android, I can start splitting my time between Android and Windows 8. The Windows 8 version WILL get released, but I can’t promise any exact dates.
I really appreciate everyone’s patience for this update, as it has been in the works for a long time. It will be worth the wait!