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Tally counter and Timer/Stopwatch and post UWP questions
#1
Hello,

I really enjoy mobile sheets but there are a couple of things that I can't find, but seem as though they should be there.  One is a tally counter, so that when I'm doing my "10x before moving on" I can count those 10 by tapping a keyboard key.

And also a timer and stopwatch.  So I know how long I have left or how long I've worked depending on the exercise.  Likewise activated by a keyboard key.

With so many cool features these seem so universal and kind of simple.  It seems they would have came before something as intense as accurate timing on a metronome.  Are they there and I can't find them?

Now as a feature request if there were a "tracking" system in Mobile Sheets that kept track of when a particular piece was brought onto the screen and when it was replaced that would make my practice logging so much easier, but that does seem a bit more advanced.

Also as Windows moves on from the horrible UWP, or as I call it, the massive screen wasters that can't be reasonably resized.  Any chance some of the bits and bobs of Mobile sheets could become modular?  So I can put the clock and metronome in a little bitty window beside my sheet music, or on a completely different monitor?

Thank you for reading my questions.
JR
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#2
Hello JR,

I didn't really get any feature requests for a timer and stopwatch until much more recently, so that's why they haven't been implemented. They are on the list of things to do now, but it's not at the top of the priority list as that is driven by what I'm getting the most requests for and what benefits the most number of users. I'll certainly get around to adding those later this year. While they are not complicated things to add, they still take a lot of time as:

1) There need to be preferences for where they are located, how big they are, etc, and these need to be persisted
2) The location of these needs to not interfere with existing things that can be placed on top of the score such as the metronome visualization, the clock display, the next up song information, the capo indication and the audio playback time position (all of which can be enabled).
3) UI elements need to be added to drive all that, and all new UI things need to be translated into the 14 supported languages
4) The actual business logic needs to be written to drive the timer and stopwatch (by far the simplest thing to do)

So even something that seems trivial is going to take a fair amount of time to add when you account for all those things and coordinating with translators to get accurate translations. That's why I don't just tackle each feature request as they come in (which I've been bad about in the past) as it continually moves the goal post for larger features like the annotations redesign that I'm currently working on, which is the #1 thing I get requests for (almost daily). 

I also have plans to add tracking of when songs are loaded and a way to get a list of songs played in a given night, as this has been requested. So it's on the list of things to do as well.

Microsoft hasn't showed any signs of "moving on from UWP" that I can see. They are adding better support for other languages such as C++ and C# WinForms, they are open sourcing a lot of the C# .NET framework, but the core technologies driving UWP are things they still want to support. Some articles say that "UWP is dying", but that is incorrect. Please see this article: https://www.thurrott.com/dev/221688/micr...p-platform and https://www.windowscentral.com/microsoft...ad-evolved

They are just allowing developers to choose whichever language/frameworks they want to. MobileSheets was designed using UWP, so it would probably require a fair amount of work to switch to something else at this point. Having said that, I have considered experimenting with a WPF version in the future after Microsoft fleshes all this out as it would provide more options for MIDI support and access to a wider range of open source and commercial libraries.

You can already resize MobileSheets. Just hit F11 to go out of fullscreen mode, or drag down from the top of the screen to display the title bar and un-maximize it, or go to Settings->Display Settings and disable "Fullscreen mode". Once it's in windowed mode, you can resize and move it around all you want. I move it to a separate monitor while testing all the time.

Mike
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#3
Hello Mike.

Thanks for the reply.  Having designed software for many years myself, I totally get the concept of "what the customers ask for drives what is built".  I'm sad they weren't just hard to find, but that's life.  All of that sounds reasonable to me.

A suggestion - perhaps they would best live in a new product.  I hate spending more money, but sometimes modularity is a very good thing i.e. Wordperfect was the best word processor until Amipro was better, and then Word was way better, and by then WP was so big it didn't have much chance of a rebuild.  A lot of companies lost alot of training budget because WP was too big (I don't want to say bloated, that is now, I'm talking about around 95-98) to get a rebuild.  So a new practice tools add-on might be a better way to go anyway.  That would definitely aid in issues 1 and 2 of your (totally valid) list, these practice tools could be SDI and then the user can figure out where to put them.  I assume that all UWPs are MDI, but maybe that isn't true.

I think UWP will go the way of desktop gadgets, an ugly notice in the middle of the night and poof it's gone.  But that's just me.  I would hate for that to happen to you for exactly the reasons you said, you have so much of this awesome product tied to UWP, and I have so much time invested in learning it for my own use.  Oh yeah, to be clear, I wasn't complaining about resizing Mobile Sheets at all.  I didn't realize that I had made it sound like this was a bad aspect of M. Sheets, it isn't.  M. Sheets should always be large, it's the focal window.  I was complaining about everything else in the windows store.  There is no reason for a Metronome to take up over 12 square inches of a monitor screen but that's about as small as I can get the one's I've tried.  Of course this could just be the huge number of "App designers" out  there who never bothered to become coders much less programmers.  Maybe they don't know the tools available to them so they don't use them - maybe there are good UWP programs out there, I only know of one... and it's the one you wrote.  Nothing else I've gotten from the windows store has lasted past smoke testing on my computers.  It's like going back to DOS world, one program at a time and they may never interact with one another, therefore they take the whole screen and every resource.  I loved the 80's but that isn't the reason I would want to go back.

Oh for anyone who might have some problem with sizing for mobile sheets, I can recommend Display Fusion.  I just split my 27" monitor into 3 different screens and M. Sheets is always full (virtual) screen - beautiful.  

I will keep an eye out for when the new features appear.  I generally only update quarterly or bi-annually, But this might drive me to put up a virtual machine so I can test more often.

Thank you for your time,

JR
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#4
Thanks for the suggestion. I'll have to consider what options I have as far as that goes. I definitely don't want to make users pay for simple features like those. I think those are things I can add without too much trouble. This is just a very busy time due to the annotations work and the iOS version. After those are complete, I'm going to be racing through feature requests and adding them as fast as I can. I know it sucks to wait... I just need to get a cloning machine to speed things up...

I definitely don't know what the future will be but I'll adapt as needed. If I need to switch the app to another language, then I'll do that. I'm definitely not attached to UWP in any way (in fact it drives me crazy fairly often) - I only chose it because I needed a way to sell my app in a Windows-based app store that would have higher visibility than a store I set up myself and that's no longer a limitation as desktop apps can be sold through the store.  UWP does do some things well, but it certainly has its list of shortcomings. About the only thing I don't see happening is MobileSheets becoming some kind of web app.

Thanks,
Mike
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#5
From the guy with firewall configuration for each computer on a relatively large home network, no web apps, please.

Thanks,
JR
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