News

forScore 10.4.3

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It’s been a few weeks now since our latest big updates, and we’ve continued to improve things with minor revisions that fix bugs and provide small usability improvements. Generally these minor updates don’t include notable new features, but today we’re making an exception with forScore 10.4.3 and forScore mini 3.4.3 so we can bring you a few tweaks and upgrades that didn’t make it into the big release milestone.

First, the Rearrange tool’s Insert function has gotten a boost, allowing you to select multiple documents at once and giving you access to the Templates feature so you can insert pages of staff paper with just a few quick steps.

Next, we’ve added support for the Turn Touch remote. This handheld, four-button Bluetooth Smart remote is made mostly of wood and held together using strong magnets. It’s inviting to hold and works beautifully: simply connect to it using forScore’s Devices panel, then visit forScore’s settings panel to assign up to eight actions (each of the remote’s four buttons can perform one action with a click and another action with a click and hold).

Last but not least, we updated the Metadata panel’s audio file picker to provide standard Quick Look previews so you can hear your tracks and make sure you’re selecting the correct one. We’ve also replaced the basic playback controls in the Recordings browser with Quick Look previews to provide a more consistent experience.

Our work is never done—there will always be big ideas, iOS updates, and hardware revisions to account for, and while bug fixes are always our first priority we love to be able to provide new capabilities and make forScore’s functions just a little more useful. They also usually come directly from our customers as suggestions, so if you’re one of the musicians who asked us about these tweaks, thank you! We hope you enjoy them.

Important Changes

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This week we released forScore 10.4 and forScore mini 3.4, and these updates bring some important changes to our apps that we wanted to take a few minutes to underscore.

In-Place Editing

Throughout most of forScore’s history, sharing files using iOS’ “open in” function has worked one way: it duplicated your file and sent a new copy to the receiving app. Any changes that app made to the file were only reflected within that app, and the original file remained untouched in forScore.

With forScore 10.4 and forScore mini 3.4, that’s changing slightly. With these updates our apps integrate more closely with iOS 11’s Files app which has a few important implications. First, you can now view all of forScore’s documents through the Files app, and any changes you make to forScore’s documents directory within the Files app will be permanently made to forScore (just like they currently are when you use iTunes’ file sharing panel). Next, and more importantly, sharing files with other apps may now give them read/write access to those files.

We’ve put together a page that outlines how all of this works and what you can expect if you use an app that supports in-place editing, so be sure to check it out when you have a few minutes. These changes give you far more flexibility in how you work, and as long as you understand the implications of them they’re incredibly helpful and exciting.

Legacy Features

The best way for new users to learn what forScore can do is for them to add some content and then explore on their own. We encourage this because we design forScore to be as approachable as possible from the start, organizing more complex tools into a clear hierarchy so that more focused, precise capabilities open up to people only once they need them.

Our apps also serve a wide range of musicians, some of whom are new to the latest version on the most powerful hardware, and others who are still relying on their trusty iPad 2 and expect the app to work the way it always has. We know how important it is to be able to rely on a familiar workflow, so we preserve functionality whenever possible while updating for each new version of iOS and each iteration of iPad.

These two goals can sometimes be at odds, however, and new users sometimes learn to rely on these older features instead of taking advantage of their modern replacements. So with forScore 10.4 and forScore mini 3.4 we’re hiding certain features by default and discouraging their use. Things like the original TV Output mode that was designed for the iPad 1, WebDAV and FTP support in the Services panel, and the Bluetooth panel are being retired in favor of iOS-level features like AirPlay screen mirroring, the Files app, and AirDrop.

If you use one of these features, it’s important to know that they aren’t being removed yet (if at all), so if you still rely on them you can use the “Legacy Settings” section of forScore’s settings panel to re-enable them. Our goal is to make forScore more approachable for new users by removing things they generally don’t need.

Each year a new version of iOS brings new capabilities to the iPad and, by extension, apps like ours. These changes always take a little bit of time to get comfortable with (some more than others) but in the end we think they will help move our apps forward and give you the tools you need to work smarter and faster than ever before.

forScore 10.4

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Today we’re very excited to announce the release of our latest big updates, forScore 10.4 and forScore mini 3.4 on the App Store. These versions include some big new features like annotation layers and significant improvements to tools like Dashboard, but the biggest story is our integration with Musicnotes.com.

Since we launched version 1.0, it has been obvious to us that the biggest influence on each user’s experience with forScore is the content they use. We can add dozens of features, improve overall efficiency, and augment music with conveniences and display tweaks, but at the end of the day we just can’t fix bad PDF files. Having great content is key, and we want to do whatever we can to make sure every musician has access to the songs they need in a format that works for them.

That’s why we were thrilled when Musicnotes approached us and why we’ve worked with them over the past few months to bring their high quality, fully-licensed content to you. Purchases you make (or already made in the past) through their website can now be downloaded directly into forScore through our Services panel, giving you unprecedented access to digital sheet music without sacrificing the tools and workflow you’re used to.

There’s a lot more to these updates, though, so head over to our feature page on everything that’s new in 10.4 if you haven’t had a chance to do so already. These updates are completely free for all existing users, as always, and only made possible by the hard work of our beta testers and the tireless support and passion of our customers. We couldn’t do it without you.


forScore 10.4

Available now for iPad


forScore mini 3.4

Available now for iPhone and iPod Touch

Badger 1.0

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Today we’re happy to announce the release of our latest app, Badger: PDF Negotiator. Badger is a PDFKit-based property viewer and editor for the badly-behaved PDF files on your device or stored in the cloud. It integrates seamlessly with the Files app, supports in-place editing with many different apps (including the upcoming updates to forScore and forScore mini), and includes three action extensions so you can access its features from just about anywhere.

Badger is available now exclusively on the App Store at a special introductory price, so if you’ve got PDF files that need a stern talking to be sure to check it out and let us know what you think!

Nocturne 1.1

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Today we’re happy to announce the release of Nocturne 1.1 on the App Store. With this update Nocturne now integrates with the Files app so you can access your projects and individual recordings through the “On My iPhone” or “On My iPad” item in the Locations list. It also supports in-place editing, so if you have a MIDI file editor you can make quick adjustments or corrections without copying your files back and forth.

We’ve also added a setting based on user feedback that lets you use your external MIDI controller to play back your recordings. If no device is connected, or if you don’t change this setting, Nocturne continues to use it’s own piano sounds instead.

Nocturne 1.1 is available now for just $1.99 (USD) and as a free update for existing users, so head over to the App Store now to check it out!


Nocturne 1.1

Available now for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch on the App Store.

Sneak Peek: Badger

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Making a great app requires knowing where to draw boundaries. Each user works a little differently and has unique needs, so it can be hard to know when to address those needs and when not to. One of the biggest lines we’ve drawn with forScore lies between augmenting versus editing scores. First and foremost, forScore has to be a great sheet music reader. That means making common reading tasks as streamlined and readily available as possible.

Before iOS 11 and Apple’s introduction of PDFKit, there really wasn’t much we could offer in the editing realm. After that changed late last year, we had to figure out how to proceed: we could shove a bunch of editing functions into forScore, or we could create an entirely new app instead. Since PDF editing capabilities extend far beyond sheet music, we opted for the latter option.

Today we’re very excited to introduce our brand new app called Badger: PDF Negotiator. It’s built atop iOS 11’s PDFKit framework and lets you take control of bad PDFs to view and change their metadata, table of contents, page layout, and more. It supports in-place editing, works seamlessly with the Files app, and it includes three action extensions for easy access from anywhere. It’s our solution for people who need to edit PDFs, whether they’re working with sheet music or not.

Badger is almost ready but it needs some beta testers to cross the finish line. If you want to help, get in touch with us here or read more about it at BadgerPDF.com and let us know what you think.

Sneak Peek: forScore 10.4

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Today we’re incredibly excited to give you a sneak peek at our next major updates: forScore 10.4 and forScore mini 3.4. These updates include a bunch of exciting new features, like annotation layers, but the most significant news is even bigger than that.

We’ve partnered with Musicnotes.com, the world’s leading digital sheet music retailer and publisher, to give you direct access to your sheet music purchases right from within forScore. Just sign in with your account through the Services panel to view and download your songs.

Musicnotes offers over 300,000 arrangements spanning dozens of styles, instruments, and difficulty levels, so anyone can find something new to play. These are incredibly high quality, digitally-sourced files that deliver exceptional performance while taking up a tiny fraction of the storage space that scanned PDFs require. Best of all, these are fully licensed scores so you can avoid any tricky legal gray areas and support the many people behind the music you love.

These aren’t locked down or offered in a special custom format, they’re absolutely standard PDF files. They’re not password-protected, so you don’t have to rethink your whole workflow or jump through hoops just to use them flexibly, legally, and fairly.

It’s the ultimate collection of high-quality files, coupled with the best-in-class reading experience you use every day, and it’s just one of the ways these updates improve your sheet music reading experience. Visit our new in-depth page to see all of the changes we’re including, and help us get it ready for a full release if you can by becoming a beta tester. Otherwise, stay tuned over the coming weeks as we finish up this huge update and get it out to all of our amazing customers!

forScore 10.3.5

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Today we’re happy to announce the immediate availability of forScore 10.3.5 and forScore mini 3.3.5. These are some big updates, so we wanted to take a moment to dive in and explain some of the most significant changes we’ve made and why.

PDFKit

Introduced over a decade ago with OS X 10.4, PDFKit is a framework created by Apple to simplify working with PDF documents. It uses the same basic functions and techniques that we’ve been using in forScore since 2010, but with added functionality and compatibility (Apple’s many skilled engineers are far more effective at supporting all of the different variations of the thousand-page PDF specification than we are).

This year Apple brought their framework to iOS 11, and we’ve been working steadily since then to take full advantage of it. forScore 10.3 brought text-based PDF document searching and also updated the Bookmarks menu’s Table of Contents list, making it faster and more reliable. With versions 10.3.2 we passed the job of displaying embedded PDF annotations off to Apple, working around a nasty bug that made the older process of reading annotations painfully slow on iOS 11. Using PDFKit instead means that more kinds of PDF annotations are supported and that they’ll generally look more like they do on other Apple platforms, such as in Preview on macOS.

With today’s update, we’re bringing the power of PDFKit to our Rearrange and Merge functions. This means that pages will be formatted more consistently, any embedded PDF annotations will be preserved, and compatibility with all kinds of PDF files will be greatly improved. And if that’s not enough, it’s also significantly faster. We’re very excited by this change, since it finally enables us to correct some of the file-specific issues we’ve been powerless to fix for years.

There’s one final task that we hadn’t yet migrated over to PDFKit, and it’s a big one: page rendering. From displaying a page on the screen to creating the thumbnail images used throughout the app, the way forScore displays pages is a big deal. We wanted to make sure that we could take advantage of iOS’ latest capabilities, but we also recognize how much of an impact any change in this area could have on our many customers. So for this update, we’ve added the ability to use PDFKit page rendering and it’s off by default. In most cases, the difference between PDFKit rendering and the older methods is subtle—some files look significantly better (especially those created with Finale), but thumbnails can look bolder and darker than before. For now, we’re leaving that choice up to our users so they can pick the rendering method that provides the best balance of compatibility and aesthetics.

Smart Punctuation

iOS 11 introduced automatic replacement of standard apostrophe, quote, and dash characters with less-common but subtly improved variants. The ‘ and ” characters, for instance, are replaced by their curly equivalents of ’ and ”. This sounds like a minor change and it’s not even visible with most fonts, but it actually has a big impact on many apps’ search functionality since the words “app’s” and “app’s” are no longer equivalent. We’ll spare you the technical details, but suffice it to say that we’ve worked around these quibbles and with forScore 10.3.5 and forScore mini 3.3.5 you can now search for results containing either character interchangeably.

Beyond that, though, we’ve also improved how forScore handles all apostrophes while searching. Instead of only showing exact matches, forScore now uses the following rules:

  • Queries that include apostrophes only produce results that also include those apostrophes (“it’s” produces “it’s” but not “its”)
  • Queries that do not include apostrophes will produce results either with or without apostrophes (“its” produces both “its” and “it’s”)
  • Queries that do not include apostrophes but are provided within quotes only produce exact matches (“its” produces “its” but not “it’s”)

Thrilling stuff, we know, but it’s the difference between something that works the way you expect and something that’s frustrating and pedantic.

Swipe Actions

One final iOS 11 change that we’d still been grappling with is the idea of full-swipe actions. These gestures allow you to perform a task like the common swipe-to-delete action, but without the two step process. Instead of swiping to show the delete action, then tapping to confirm, iOS 11 lets you simply swipe all the way from the right edge of a cell to the left edge and let go, deleting the item in one quick motion. That’s great for something like Mail where you can go into your Trash mailbox and retrieve something you’ve accidentally deleted, but in forScore there’s no such failsafe. So with this update we’ve disabled these gestures in situations where the consequences are irreversible.

Enhancements

These are just a few of the biggest highlights, but there’s a lot more within these updates. We’ve improved the speed of entering and exiting annotation mode, upgraded to the latest version of the AirTurn SDK, and fixed a bunch of tiny bugs that got sidelined in the run-up to iOS 11’s release. All of these changes add up to make forScore more capable and reliable, and—in the case of PDFKit—they really help us lay the foundation for whatever big changes Apple throws our way next.

These updates are absolutely free for all existing users, as always, and the same low price for newcomers who may have held on to paper a little too long. Special thanks to our wonderful beta testers who helped us get these versions ready for today’s release. We couldn’t do it without them, and without the incredible support of our users. Thank you!


forScore 10.3.5

Available now for iPad


forScore mini 3.3.5

Available now for iPhone and iPod Touch

More Video Sightings

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Seal’s new album of jazz standards is out today, and PBS has just released a video of his performance of “Luck Be A Lady” at Vibrato Jazz Grill in Los Angeles. His big band includes the inimitable Alan Steinberger, complete with his iPad and forScore. The video includes a few snippets of him using our app, and it’s always a pleasure to see it in use (you can even catch a page turn just after the 5-minute mark—effortless compared to an earlier moment where one of his paper-based colleagues struggles).

forScore 10.3.4

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In addition to this morning’s big wave of updates to all of our iPhone-compatible apps, today we’re also proud to announce the immediate availability of forScore 10.3.4. That version number may make it sound like just another minor update with bug fixes and design tweaks, and while it’s got plenty of those, it also includes a great new feature: MIDI file playback.

Just like with audio tracks, forScore now allows you to import, link, and play back MIDI files. Since these kinds of files don’t actually contain any audio, just a digital representation of notes, they can support fine-grained speed adjustments without any degradation in quality. Support for these files is also included with this morning’s forScore mini 3.3.4 update.

As always, forScore 10.3.4 is available today as a free update for all of our existing customers, so be sure to check it out!


forScore 10.3.4

Available now

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