discchord v3.1: New Search & AppDB List Views

Today I've rolled out the next set of features for discchord v3.1! This update focused on some community requests. Readers stub and AJP had requested a new "spreadsheet" view on the AppDB for easier voting, and Marcel wanted a condensed view on search results. I've addressed both of these requests in today's update.

Search & AppDB List Views

At the top of the the search page, as well as the AppDB Index, you'll now find a button to switch views. This will toggle between the detailed view, and a much more condensed list view. This is included in the URL, so you can share links with the same view. As an example: you can see it in action here!

List view gives you 20 results on each page. This will hopefully make searching faster, but I've also included voting in results for app searches and on the AppDB. Now you can quickly vote on many apps at once! I'd like to continue to encourage more voter participation, because the "Reader Rating" is only useful if people are voting. Do your part to help other readers find good apps, while avoiding the bad ones!

Now 80% Flatter!

The site uses Angular-Material for many of the front-end elements. This is Google's design platform for nice, mobile-friendly, interfaces. Many Android apps use the same core technology for their UI. It was an interesting challenge to use Material in the redesign of the site. I tend to want to make things super tight and small, while Material wants every screen element to be FUCKING HUGE for easy finger accuracy. I let it make some things bigger, but I reigned it in where I felt it was making elements too big. We came together at a middle ground that I've been pretty happy with.

One of the more interesting features in Material is the ability to easily set the z-axis height of elements. This amused me way too much, and I got somewhat carried away with that. I basically ended up with a flat design of many layers... which means it isn't flat at all.

I've calmed things down a bit. A lot of it is subtle stuff most people will never notice, but I went through the whole front-end code base removing most of the height elements. Now the site is much flatter, but still retains some height to distinguish and delineate elements.

Low-Carb Cookies

I've repeatedly heard requests to make the site keep people logged in. This is a good idea and I'm trying to achieve that without using cookies. There are a lot of privacy and security concerns with cookies that I just don't want to have to deal with. Instead the site uses Sessions; which are like cookies without tracking you on other sites, nor any of the other things people hate cookies for.

In my local testing I think I have the Sessions storing properly to keep you logged in, but this is really hard to test without real world conditions. If you notice the site isn't keeping you logged in, then please let me know what device, browser, and the type of Internet connection you're experiencing this from. I'll continue to tweak it until it works, or abandon it for cookies if I can't make it happen.

Up Next:

With the "easy" stuff out of the way, I'm now focusing on Preset uploads! I'm still on schedule and hope to have those live for the site's 6th Anniversary around late August.

Here is a quick video I did to show off the new List View features.

Let's Play with Mood

I jump at all apeSoft apps, but I was especially excited to try out Mood. I was in as soon as I heard the Moog Model D style synthesis, but what I've spent most of my time playing with is the extra added bonuses apeSoft has added to the formula. Both Granular and FM synthesis are available in a nice tight package, and all running right next to the classic Subtractive synthesis. I play the hell out of it in this Let's Play!

Contest: I have 2 copies of Mood to give away! This article is a contest post. Since this is also a Patron Timed Exclusive, I'll wait to close the contest on Saturday morning so everyone will be able to see it and enter Friday. Patrons can comment here to join the contest early, but that does not increase your chances to win.

Contest closed! Congratulations to Charlie, and deezign!

Video Description:

Mood is a re-imaging of the classic Moog Model D. Rather than emulating the original hardware faithfully, this takes things much further! In this Let's Play I'm exploring both the standard and non-standard features of the app. If you enjoyed this please consider supporting this series by sponsoring them on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/discchord If you'd prefer to help on a monthly basis, instead of per video, there is a new monthly Patreon campaign: https://www.patreon.com/discchord_com

Audio Evolution Mobile Tutorial Series

After 6 months I've finally finished the tutorial series for Audio Evolution Mobile! This was a commissioned project, but I'm quite proud of it. The whole production run was great, and it opened my eyes to the potentials of modern Android. In fact, my experience using Audio Evolution Mobile on a Samsung tablet was directly responsible for all of the Android support added to the site recently.

I found Android to be a lot easier to work with. I didn't have to "jailbreak" it to record the screen, and I don't have to fuck around with iFunBox or SSH to transfer files between the Android tablet. I also really like having a 16:9 screen. Yet nothing on Android compares to the power we have on iOS; with AUv3, and Inter-App Audio/Audiobus. These tutorials cover both platforms, including the AUv3 integration found in the iOS version.

WWDC 2017: Aftermath

Now that people have had a chance to explore iOS 11 there are some interesting finds!

The Good:

iOS 11 includes the ability to record the screen natively! There are reports of some bugs with the recordings, but it is a nice first step. Especially coming from the company that has thus far rejected many apps attempting to offer this ability. Unfortunately, in all of the demo videos I've seen there are no on-screen finger taps. This is fine for video game footage, but in tutorials I think it is vital to show on-screen taps. In a complex synth it can be hard to follow exactly what is being done without them.

If they add this feature though, I may never need to jailbreak again!

The Bad:

Yesterday Apple released an update to the iOS version of GarageBand addressing, "stability improvements and bug fixes." This could be a bad omen. The differences between iOS 10 and iOS 11 seem slight, but Apple doesn't update first-party apps very often. That's a hell of a coincidence if they decided to do this one on the day they release iOS 11 to developers.

I don't think it is too much of a stretch to imagine that something in iOS 11 has necessitated this update. We'll have to wait until developers have had some more time with it to see if other apps will need fixes too.

What's new in GarageBand v2.2.2:

This update contains stability improvements and bug fixes.

The Ugly:

In the last several years Apple has been trying to phase out 32-bit support. First with requirements for 64-bit support, then nags built-in to iOS 10. If you're running iOS 10 you've probably read the message, "This app may slow down your iPad." This message when running 32-bit apps was replaced in 10.3 with, "This app will not work with future versions of iOS." In iOS 11 they make good on that promise.

You are not even be able to load 32-bit apps onto a device running iOS 11, and this is not merely a limitation of the beta. The iOS 11 Beta release notes explicitly state 32-bit legacy support will not be returning.

Meanwhile owners of 32-bit devices are going to find they've hit the limit of Apple's support. iPad 4, iPad Mini 1, iPhone 5, and all devices before them, are now out. All of the folks that have doggedly stuck with a trusty iPad 4 are going to find iOS 10 is the limit.

WWDC 2017: iPad Pro 10.5" & HomePod Announced

This year's WWDC is taking place in my home town of San Jose, but I watched the keynote from the comfort of my couch. Despite skipping the usual 30 minute intro of chest thumping and statistics, the keynote dragged on for nearly 2 and a half hours! Here are the highlights.

No Mac Pro, and No Mac Touch

Apple proudly displayed their iMac line up, which now includes an iMac Pro for people who want to blow $5,000 on a non-upgradeable workstation. You'll have to wait until December for the privilege, but even that flagship product fails to include touch support! This begs the question: "What the fucking fuck is wrong with Apple?" They had such a huge lead on everyone with iOS, but Microsoft is eating their lunch, and customer base. If you want an all-in-one with touch support you have no choice but to buy a Microsoft Surface Studio. Apple simply doesn't deign to offer that to their users. This, and the the fact that the iMac Pro won't ship until December, may see a lot of creative studios jumping ship.

iPad Pro 2017

Apple announced the long rumored 10.5" iPad Pro, which is packing in a new A10x Fusion chip with 6 cores. In addition to Apple Pencil support, the new iPad Pro features a 20% larger display over 9.7" iPads and 120hz refresh rate for smooth animations. This will mostly be a games feature, but it is impressive nonetheless.

The announcement also mentioned new Smart Covers with built-in Apple Pencil holders!

The MaxiPad™ 12.9" also received updates with the A10x chip, and improved cameras.

The new iPads start with 64GB of storage, but are cheaper than last year's iPad Pro 9.7" models. You can order one today, and they begin shipping next week. I'm personally quite tempted to upgrade from my iPad Air, but I'll wait for the iFixIt folks to tear one apart and tell us how much RAM it has... because Apple isn't telling.

H.265

Apple also made a big deal about the H.265 video codec. They claim it offers a 40% compression improvement over the current standard, H.264. This new codec will be supported across iOS 11 and the new macOS High Sierra. In addition to video encoding, the codec is being used for a new static image file format HEIF (High Efficiency Image Format).

Lest you think that Apple is innovating here, I'll point out that the developer of FFMPEG released a similar, non-proprietary, H.265 image file format back in 2014.

So Many Fucking Dad Jokes

Pictured right are my WWDC notes. Here's a round-up of some of the other non-iPad news, sans Dad Jokes.

  • ARKit - a new way for developers to create Augmented Reality apps. They focused on games, but I'm looking forward to seeing music app developers embrace AR, like we've seen to some extent in AC Sabre.
  • App Store refresh - but no mention of subgenres, so finding music "production" apps is still going to be a mess.
  • Improved QWERTY Keyboard - They've redesigned the onscreen keyboard in a way that looks nice. There will be less effort to get to special characters and numbers.
  • iOS 11 introduces Drag & Drop for copy-paste. It was unclear if this functionality will be opened to third-party apps. They only showed Apple apps doing it.
  • iTunes has paid developers $70,000,000,000 to date, and 30% of that was in the last year. While most of this WWDC was pretty meh, this is an important and positive note on the health of the iOS eco-system.

HomePod

To finish off the presentation Tim Cook tried out a new catch-phrase with his, "One last thing." Tim announced the HomePod, to rival Amazon's Echo and Google Home. At three-times the price of the competition, with a name that's not only ham-fisted but also used already, Apple has RSVPed late to the party. They still haven't arrived, and won't until December.

Rather than show a picture of the product, here is a selfie I took when I realized my face was stuck like this through the whole HomePod unveil.

iOS 11

The iOS 11 details revealed today were all general audience fluff. We'll have to wait for a few days as developers explore it to find out if there is anything interesting going on under the hood, or relevant to anything besides games.

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