Progress update on MobileSheetsPro

Hello all,

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!

Mike

MobileSheets v4.1.5 Released

As more users are beginning to get the 4.4 KitKat update for their Nexus 7/10 devices, I’ve been getting reports of some issues. The largest one is with the settings menu which was causing an instant crash. I have addressed all of the reported issues, so KitKat users should be up and running again.

I’ve also got a number of reports recently about the metronome not functioning correctly. For awhile now, I’ve been unhappy with the accuracy of the metronome, so I used this opportunity to completely rewrite my metronome engine. Users should find that the metronome is very accurate across all devices now. I also added several display modes – circle (slight improvement over existing visual display), glow (color at the borders of the screen), and metronome (a metronome icon that switches the arm position).

The full list of changes can be seen below:

MobileSheets v4.1.5
– Complete redesign of the metronome engine to improve accuracy
– Added multiple metronome display modes (circle, glow, metronome)
– Added sharpen dialog to provide more control over the intensity of the image cleanup
– Added debounce support to pedal presses for link points
– Fixed text annotations on devices running KitKat
– Tap twice on the recent button to clear the recent list
– Improved scaling of caption text on library screen
– Last selected annotation stamp sizes are now saved independently for each stamp
– Copied songs now properly copy the global zoom value (and several other settings)
– Fixed crashes on the settings screen for devices running KitKat (4.4)
– Fixed various reported crashes

MobileSheets v4.1.4 Released

Another weekend, another update. This one brings a number of new options, and some user interface cleanup. The first new feature I’m quite excited about is the “Sharpen” option that can be accessed by tapping the new popup menu at the top left of the song overlay. The sharpen option is quite useful for cleaning up poorly scanned pages by making gray/washed out sections much whiter, and by darkening the notes to provide contrast. It does come at the expense of some rendering speed, so the feature should only be enabled for files that require it.

Here are the rest of the changes for your viewing pleasure.

MobileSheets v4.1.4
– Added new sharpen option to clean up poorly scanned pages
– Moved common song/setlist buttons into a popup menu (top left of image overlay)
– Fixed bug with wrong song sometimes shown in a setlist that reuses songs multiple times
– Added option to completely hide the navigation bar on devices running KitKat or greater
– Fixed bug with batch import ‘avoid duplicates’ not working correctly
– Modified popup message to inform users that the performance mode disables the overlay
– Fixed bug with collection editor not properly removing songs when articles are ignored during sorting
– Fixed bugs with importing audio files from some incompatible sources
– Added pedal debounce to the link start/previous page, link end/next page pedal mode
– Switched all dialogs to alert dialogs to ensure compatibility with all tablets
– Added ‘Restore Database Backup’ option under the advanced settings to restore one of the automatic database backups (use with care)
– Fixed menu options for setlists in the recent menu
– Fixed issue with songs renaming files needlessly when edited
– Files are automatically copied locally when importing from dropbox or other cloud storage
– Files are now set to not copy by default when a song is copied
– Added option to view release notes in the options
– Fixed a number of crashes

Mike

Companion – Connecting with USB

If anyone has tried to connect the companion over USB and has run into issues, it’s most likely because I forgot include one important fact: you have to download a device driver for your tablet in order for your PC to be able to talk to it. I have pushed out a new version of the companion with an updated help dialog that explains the steps necessary to get the USB connection going. For reference, there is a list of vendor links for USB drivers here: http://developer.android.com/tools/extra…lingDriver

I wish connecting over USB was easier, but at least this is a one time thing – once you have it set up to connect over USB, it will work from there on out.

Mike

MobileSheets v4.1.2 And MobileSheetsCompanion v1.5.1 Released

In order to fix recent issues that were preventing some users from viewing PDFs properly, I needed to prepare another update. In addition to a large number of bug fixes, I also wanted to introduce a helpful new feature: connecting the companion over USB. I’ve been wanting to add this capability for some time, but there were number of technical difficulties that prevented it. The main issue is that the Android OS doesn’t normally allow data to be sent over USB unless it’s related to USB accessories. There is only one exception – when it’s used by developers during application development. Google distributes a tool called ADB that has a number of useful features for development, including the ability to send data over USB. I am now packaging ADB with the companion app, and utilizing it to allow USB connections.

If you are interested in using the USB connectivity, there is one caveat – you must enable USB debugging on your device. This is not a setting you normally want to leave on, so only toggle it on while using the companion app, and then toggle it off afterward (Google requires users to do this manually – it cannot be driven by code). In case anyone has any concerns, I am not using ADB for any purpose except to send the same exact data that is sent over Wifi. If you need instructions on how to enable USB debugging, there is an explanation in the Companion App under the help menu (Help->How to Enable USB Debugging).

Another useful feature with this update is the ability to restore library backups from the companion app. Coupled with USB connectivity, this makes it much easier to manage backups solely from the PC, instead of needing to keep them on the tablet. I am really excited to offer both of these features to users finally, and am looking forward to hearing feedback on them.

The full list of changes can be seen below:

MobileSheets v4.1.2
– Added option to connect to companion over USB (Wifi must still be turned on)
– Added ability to restore library backups from the companion app
– The overlay is now properly hidden when performance mode is toggled
– Fixed issues with HP TouchPads not loading songs normally
– Fixed issues with AEON tablets not loading PDFs
– Removed connection profile settings
– Fixed various UI layouts
– Fixed reported crashes

MobileSheetsCompanion v1.5.1
– Added ability to restore library backups from the companion
– Added option to connect to tablet using USB
– Reorganized the menu options
– Added option to enable or disable whether articles are considered while sorting

Thanks again for everyone’s patience while I get version 5 ready, and all of the excellent feedback.

Mike

MobileSheets v4.1.1 Released

As some of you may have noticed, the last release caused issues in several areas related to rendering PDFs. In attempting to solve the Nexus 7/10 issues with Android 4.3, I inadvertently caused a few other bugs. I have fixed the issues, so the rendering should be back in line with the expected behavior across all OS versions. I appreciate everyone’s patience while I worked through the problems. The bug fixes are listed below:

MobileSheets v4.1.1
– Fixed issue with embedded PDF annotations not being rendered
– Fixed issue with annotations disappearing
– Fixed various rendering issues
– Fixed several reported crashes
– In addition to the other articles, a single quotation is now ignored while sorting

Mike

MobileSheets v4.1.0 and MobileSheetsCompanion v1.5.0 Released

I’m happy to announce the release of MobileSheets v4.1.0 and MobileSheetsCompanion 1.5.0. This release contains great new content, refinements to the user interface and bug fixes to a number of problems reported by users. In addition to adding a performance mode toggle on the main library screen (to prevent the overlay from accidentally popping up while performing), I have also added a “Next Song” indicator option in the settings. If this is turned on, the title of the next song is presented on the last page of the current song (it can also be left on all the time), giving you time to prepare for what comes next. You can also have the indicator fade out after several seconds (anywhere from 2 to 10 seconds). It’s a pretty useful feature, and it’s thanks to great user feedback.

The full list of changes can be seen below. On a side note, the beta for v5.0.0 is approaching quickly, and I will need to gather a list of willing volunteers for testing, as there are some big changes. I will post on the forum when a release is ready.

MobileSheets v4.1.0
– Added ‘Next Song’ option that provides a configurable status bar to indicate what song is coming up next
– Added Performance Mode Toggle on the library screen (removed option from the settings)
– Fixed numerous layout issues and fixed appearance of clear buttons for text fields
– Fixed several crashes on devices running 4.3 (i.e. Nexus 7 and 10)
– The position of the library screen is now restored when the back button is pressed to return to a higher level group
– Setlists are now added to the Recent list
– Song titles now automatically resize to fit the top of the library screen and image overlay
– Added option to control behavior of ‘Keep Screen On’ functionality. Default is to keep the screen on only when viewing scores
– Fixed crash on several devices caused by tapping on the status log on the sync screen
– Added option to ignore ‘The’, ‘A’, and ‘An’ while sorting (on by default)
– Fixed rendering problems that could occur after turning hundreds of pages in one song
– The setlist and collection editors now correctly use the library text size setting for all lists
– Setlists/collections now change colors when selected in the editors
– Fixed issues with annotation stamps not correctly reflecting selected zoom value
– Increased range of zoom for stamps up to 500% and fixed preview window
– Fixed orientation lock to correctly handle reverse portrait and landscape
– Fixed some potential connection problems with companion app

MobileSheetsCompanion v1.5.0
– Articles such as ‘The’, ‘A’, and ‘An’, are now ignored while sorting
– Fixed connection error message about the tablet not being up-to-date even when it is
– The setlist and collection library lists are now correctly updated after batch imports
– MIDI (*.mid) files are now correctly identified and can be sent to the tablet

Mike

MobileSheets v4.0.19 Released

MobileSheets v4.0.19 has been released which contains a number of bug fixes. Unless something critical comes up, this will be the last bug fix release before v5.0.0 is ready for beta testing. Thanks again everyone for your bug reports and suggestions.

MobileSheets v4.0.19
– Fixed crash while changing annotation pen, text, and stamp sizes
– Fixed bug where the wrong annotations are displayed when loading a song in the middle of a setlist
– Fixed bug where pressing the back key on the library screen while inside a setlist/genre/album would instantly exit the app
– Deleting setlists on the library screen now requires confirmation
– Added support for x86 and mips-based tablets
– Fixed crash caused by songs with no pages being loaded
– Background rendering is now suspended as soon as the back button is pressed to return to the library screen

Mike

MobileSheets v4.0.18 Released

A number of users recently reported issues while viewing setlists where MobileSheets would instantly close and return to the home screen. I’m happy to announce that the bugs have been taken care of, including several others such as a crash during Dropbox access. I appreciate everyone’s patience and support over the past week while these problems were resolved. The full list of changes can be seen below:

MobileSheets v4.0.18
– Fixed crash to home screen while viewing setlists
– Improved memory management for PDFs, and removed unnecessary memory setting in the options
– Dialogs should now be loaded correctly across all devices
– Fixes for several miscellaneous crash reports
– Fixed crash while accessing Dropbox files

Mike

MobileSheets v4.0.17 Released

I’m happy to report that another update has been released for MobileSheets. While I’m still actively working to get the next major release finished (v5.0.0), some users brought to my attention some critical issues that needed to be addressed. First, I fixed a bug that prevented batch imports from dropbox if the dropbox account had more than 1000 files. I also provided separate buttons for selecting local SD card versus dropbox at the top of the file browser to eliminate confusion. Another serious issue was reported when using large PDF documents where, after hundreds of page turns, the PDF renderer would stop functioning (only blank pages would be shown). I’m happy to report that I’ve implemented a fix to take care of this issue, and I’ve also added a number of updates to the PDF renderer to limit memory consumption. Thanks to all the users who have provided feedback and bug reports. Here is the full list of changes:

MobileSheets v4.0.17

– Fixed bug that caused batch import from dropbox to fail if more than a 1000 songs were found
– Added dedicated button for dropbox on the file browser screen to avoid confusion
– Added support for deleting files on dropbox (thanks PJCrump!)
– Added fix for bug where pages may stop rendering after hundreds of page turns
– Updated PDF renderer and lowered memory usage to increase stability when lots of songs are loaded in a large setlist
– Annotation group dropdown only shows up now if more than one group is in use for the current song

Enjoy!
Mike