News

Files App Migration Guide

| News

With two major cloud storage providers leaving forScore’s Services panel, there’s never been a better time to learn how to use Apple’s Files app, interface, and system-wide functions. They’re more powerful, available everywhere, and will continue to grow each year as iOS is updated, expanded, and refined. Most importantly, they support dozens of services instead of limiting you to just the few we’ve managed to integrate directly and maintain within our app.

If you’re ready to make the jump but aren’t sure where to begin, we’ve put together a page that provides step-by-step instructions for setting up your favorite cloud storage provider for use with Apple’s Files infrastructure. It just takes a few minutes, and once you learn how to use it you’ll be set for every other app that you use. Check it out here.

Services Update

| In Depth, News

Just last week we announced that we are removing built-in support for Google Drive with our next major update due to API changes, and unfortunately today we have to add Microsoft OneDrive to that list as well. Despite our best efforts to find a workable solution, Microsoft has permanently shut off the older APIs that forScore relies on to provide safe and private OneDrive access through the Services panel and doesn’t currently provide an alternative we can accept.

Personal data is the currency of the digital age, and there’s an obvious business interest for companies like Google and Microsoft to mine you for your information, but that’s not something we want any part of. Between the international legal ramifications of GDPR and Apple’s stringent privacy requirements, we have too much to lose by inviting these services into our app.

As we mentioned last week, the Files app, file provider extensions, and iOS’ multitasking modes with drag and drop gestures offer a better experience and broader support for services than forScore’s own Services panel ever has or could. We can never support everything, and with these system-level features we don’t have to. By reducing redundancy and refocusing our efforts on things that matter most to our users—annotation, setlists, and robust organization—we know you’ll end up with a better app in the long haul.

We don’t make this decision lightly, and we know it significantly impacts thousands of musicians who’ve relied on this integration until now. We regret that it has come to this and are here, ready to help anyone affected by the shutoff. If you have questions or need assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us by choosing “Support” from forScore’s tools menu or by using the form on this page. Thank you for your understanding, your support, and most importantly your trust.

Survey

| News

It’s a new year and we’re looking ahead with excitement as we continue to push forward in our mission to make forScore the best app it can be. Since we don’t collect any sort of usage analytics through our app or mine our customers for data, we occasionally rely on opt-in surveys to gain insights into our users’ behavior and needs. To participate in our latest short survey, click here (update: this survey has now ended). Thank you!

Google Drive Retirement

| News

On March 25, 2019, Google will disable the APIs that forScore relies on to offer Google Drive upload and download support directly from within our app’s Services panel. As a result, the Google Drive service will stop functioning and we will be removing it entirely from our next major update. We realize that this change will affect many of our customers, so we wanted to take a few minutes today to explain what’s happening and why we’ve chosen to end support for this service rather than update to Google’s replacement APIs.

In short, continuing to support Google Drive requires that we either sacrifice your privacy and our app’s stability by relying on third-party code, or that we spend a disproportionate amount of time and resources developing a custom solution of our own. We’ve never maintained user accounts and we believe that protecting your privacy is best done by never collecting any of your information in the first place, so the former choice isn’t one we’d even consider.

The latter choice is a tough sell, since we’d be working for weeks or months just to try and maintain functionality that’s already duplicated on a system level (more on that below) instead of working to make forScore better for everyone. Things change quickly on iOS, and our customers are best served by our remaining nimble and responsive. That’s how we’ve supported each new iOS version and device on day one almost every time, and we plan to continue doing so whenever possible.

Fortunately, as of iOS 11, Apple’s Files app provides a better way for our users to transfer files to and from their favorite cloud storage services. Instead of relying on us to add and maintain support for individual services, each cloud storage provider can include a File Provider extension with their own app. Each service handles communication to and from their server, while Apple provides a standardized interface for all of your accounts. When you download or upload documents using “Files” in forScore’s Services panel, that system interface is what you see. Or, on an iPad, just use Slide Over to access the Files app without leaving forScore and Drag and Drop files back and forth. Learn more about the Files app and File Provider extensions here.

While we wish we could have continued to offer Google Drive alongside these new enhancements to the Files app so that our customers could shift their workflow at their own pace, we think the benefits of this system are worth the adjustment period. Learn to use this system once and you’ll be set no matter which cloud storage providers you need to work with in the future. And since providers can add File Provider extensions on their own, the services you can connect to this way are always going to vastly outnumber those we could have supported directly.

Whether you use specific services like Amazon Drive and SugarSync or rely on generic protocols like FTP and WebDAV, apps that include File Provider extensions give you a better experience in almost every way. If you’re impacted by this change and have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here. We sincerely appreciate your understanding and continued support.

iPad Pro Updates

| In Depth, News

It’s been about a month now since Apple unveiled their latest generation of iPad Pros, so today we wanted to detail some of the impact that these devices’ unique characteristics has had on forScore and what effect it will have as we look to the future.

Aspect Ratio

The most important change Apple made to this round of iPads is that they changed the aspect ratio of their screens. The 11″ iPad Pro is taller and skinnier in portrait orientation, or squatter and wider in landscape. The 12.9″ iPad Pro’s screen has the same dimensions as previous generations, but the addition of the home indicator area along the bottom of the screen has its own implications: apps can display roughly the same amount of information on screen, but a strip along the bottom of the screen is non-interactive—touches that you make in this zone are reserved for system gestures like returning to the home screen.

These changes are important because, until now, forScore has always run on devices with roughly the same proportional screen size. Unless you’re using Split View, the app’s usable screen area is usually equivalent to an 8.5×11″ piece of paper. PDF pages are rendered within that area, with gaps added to the left and right if needed (for skinnier pages like A4) or below the bottom of the page (as with landscape-oriented pages). Regardless of how much visible area your page occupies on screen, forScore has always allowed you to annotate anywhere on the screen so your markings don’t suddenly stop working when you move past invisible page boundaries.

Now, forScore runs on two unique devices: one that has more space at the bottom and another that has the same amount of visible space but less interactive space.

Challenges

When your device is held in portrait orientation, forScore displays full pages and allows you to flip through them with a single tap or swipe. In landscape orientation, forScore increases the size of the page to fit the longer edge of your screen and navigation adapts to allow for scrolling up and down as needed before turning pages. iOS 9’s multitasking modes make things a little more complicated, so forScore considers “portrait” to be any app size that allows it to display a full page without cutting off the bottom, while “landscape” is the opposite.

The first problem we encountered in updating forScore for these new devices was that the screen size of the 12.9″ iPad Pro, minus the area required for the new home indicator, meant that forScore assumed traits normally intended for landscape orientation even when the device was held in portrait orientation. Tapping to turn the page scrolled up or down by a tiny amount, and two-up mode inappropriately replaced half-page turns. On this device forScore can display a full page but the app’s interactive space is slightly smaller than what’s expected. So we added an exemption in forScore 10.5, and another in 10.5.2 for users with iOS’ Display Zoom feature enabled.

On the 11″ iPad Pro, a side effect of the screen’s aspect ratio change is that, when in landscape orientation, scrolling from the top of the page to the bottom leaves very little overlap and may not display each system of music fully. In forScore 10.5.2, we added a setting that’s specific to this device so you can choose whether forScore scrolls by half or by a third of a page.

Another change new iPad Pro owners quickly noticed was that iOS displays its home indicator at all times, potentially obscuring a very small portion of the bottom of your page if you’re using a 12.9″ iPad Pro. While iOS doesn’t allow developers to access or modify this indicator in any way, it does allow apps to declare that they prefer the indicator bar be hidden if possible. As of version 10.5.2, forScore does exactly that. When the home indicator appears or disappears is entirely up to iOS, but generally if you’re not touching the screen the home indicator will now get out of your way so you get an unobstructed view of your music.

The Future

Soon after these new devices were released, we started getting questions from purchasers of the 11″ model who were confused by the fact that, in portrait orientation, forScore doesn’t use the full height of the screen to display pages. This has to do with aspect ratio: making a page taller stretches it and makes the music look wrong, and zooming in on a page cuts off the left and right sides of your music. Even if you’re using pages with skinnier aspect ratios (like A4 pages), the fact that forScore has always allowed you to annotate within a canvas equal to the original iPad screen’s dimensions means that zooming in could still obscure your notes, links, text annotations, and more.

A few customers who asked about this have followed up by asking if cropping could be handled differently: that forScore display pages just as it does on older devices, but that cropping be adapted to allow pages to get bigger on the screen. This presents its own challenges, however, such as when sharing these files with colleagues who might be using older devices, or when using iOS’ Split View. It gets incredibly complicated and tough to do in a thoughtful, natural, and reliable way.

As we look to the future, however, we absolutely understand that this is a downside for people hoping to get the most out of their new device’s large screens. All we can say now is that we’re exploring a variety of possible ways we can better work to the strengths of each new device. Just like we did with the Apple Pencil, we move from getting the basics working right before we press onward to determining how best to take full advantage of major shifts in Apple’s hardware. It takes a little bit of time to get right, and we appreciate your patience.

forScore 10.5

| News

Today we’re thrilled to announce the immediate release of our latest major update to forScore, version 10.5. It’s a big update in more ways than one: we’ve optimized forScore for the latest iPad Pros with ultra slim bezels, Face ID, and no home button. The expansive screens on these new devices are incredible and we know the forScore experience will grow right along with it.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though, because forScore 10.5 also supports the new Apple Pencil and its double tap gesture. While annotating, use this gesture to switch between the current tool and the eraser, between the current and last used tool, or to show the current tool’s detail view. When you’re done annotating, assign the gesture to one of forScore’s other functions or tools for instant access from anywhere.

Whether you’re upgrading to a new iPad on day one or not, there’s a lot more for everyone in this update. New shapes and shape settings, a streamlined “prevent finger drawing” option, the ability to move multiple pages at once in the Rearrange panel, filter improvements, and the ability to recover recently deleted scores and setlists make this the most incredible version of forScore yet. Learn more about all of these changes and more here.

And, just as always, it’s completely free for all existing users. Check out forScore 10.5 and forScore mini 3.5 today on the App Store, and thanks once more to all of our amazing beta testers who helped us get this release ready for prime time.


forScore 10.5

Available now for iPad


forScore mini 3.5

Available now for iPhone and iPod Touch

forScore Backup Utility

| News

Earlier this year we introduced 4SB Archives which let you export all of your scores, bookmarks, setlists, annotations, settings, and more as a single file that can be copied to a computer or uploaded to your preferred cloud service. Since archives duplicate all of your files they’re much larger than 4SB Backups. If your device is running low on storage space you may not always be able to create them, and that’s where our newest app comes in.

We’re very excited to introduce forScore Backup Utility, a free app for macOS 10.13 or later that lets you archive your forScore library directly to a Mac using your device’s USB cable. Since forScore securely transfers your information one chunk at a time, the complete archive is never actually stored on your device. If you need to restore from a backup, the process works similarly but in reverse. It works with forScore 10.5 or later and forScore mini 3.5 or later, both available now.

It’s fast, easy to use, and completely free. You can learn more about it here, and if you missed it be sure to check out everything else that’s new in today’s forScore updates.


forScore Backup Utility

Available now for macOS 10.13 or later

iOS 12

| News

Today is release day for iOS 12, and we’ve been working hard all summer long to get our apps ready. On Friday we rolled out a bunch of minor updates for most of our apps, adding support for all of the latest iPhones, and today we’re finishing up with some nice upgrades to forScore and forScore mini. If you’re thinking about updating, here’s the latest word regarding forScore’s iOS 12 compatibility:

We aren’t currently aware of any issues when running recent versions of any of our apps on devices with the final iOS beta installed. The version Apple releases to the public today may be different than what we’ve had access to in testing, however, so things can always change at the last minute. As usual, our advice is to hold off on installing major updates like these for a few weeks if you rely on forScore professionally. Otherwise, make sure you manually back up your forScore library and feel free to upgrade when you’re ready.

forScore 10.4.7

| News

Today we’re happy to announce the release of forScore 10.4.7 and forScore mini 3.4.7. These are technically minor updates that focus on optimizing our apps for iOS 12, but they’ve got a few exciting features and a lot of under-the-hood upgrades. Here are just a few quick highlights:

First, we’ve added the ability to create 4SB Archives using forScore’s backup panel. Like backups, archives include forScore’s information about your files, but they also include a copy of every file you’ve stored in forScore’s Documents directory. That means Archives take up significantly more space, but they can be used on their own to migrate or recover your forScore library. While 4SB backups are still recommended when copying your files back to a computer through iTunes’ File Sharing panel, 4SB Archives are a better choice when backing up to a cloud storage provider.

Next, forScore now defaults to using Apple’s PDFKit framework to render pages. When PDFKit debuted on iOS devices last year we wanted to make sure it provided the best possible results for the wide range of PDF files out there, so we let users opt in when they were ready. Now that we have a year’s worth of positive feedback it’s time to enable it for everyone.

You can now Drag and Drop a PDF file from another app directly into the Rearrange panel to insert its pages without importing the file into your forScore library first. Its pages are added to the end of the document you’re working with, and you can move them around and duplicate, rotate, or remove them as needed from there.

Speaking of Drag and Drop, some people have found that the new gestures get in the way more than they help so we added a new “Drag and Drop” option in the Accessibility section of forScore’s settings panel. This disables most of forScore’s Drag and Drop interactions while preserving the ability to import files from other apps by dropping them into forScore.

These improvements and more are available now with forScore 10.4.7 and forScore mini 3.4.7, free updates for all existing users and still the same great price for newcomers. Thanks once again to our amazing beta testers for all of your help, we sincerely appreciate it!


forScore 10.4.7

Available now for iPad


forScore mini 3.4.7

Available now for iPhone and iPod Touch

Logitech Crayon

| News

Things have been quiet this summer as we’ve worked to get all of our apps ready for iOS 12, but as Apple puts the final touches on their annual fall event (scheduled for September 12th this year) things are starting to get exciting.

Today, Logitech announced that Crayon, their Apple-sanctioned stylus that offers much of the same technology as the Apple Pencil but in a more rugged package, is now available for the general public to purchase. The Crayon was originally introduced earlier this year as an accessory designed for and sold exclusively to the Educational market. It was and still is offered to educational institutions at $49.99, a discount from the new standard price of $69.99. That’s a notable drop from the Apple Pencil’s $99 price tag.

The Crayon works exclusively with the iPad (6th generation), although that may change next week if new iPad models are introduced. Unlike Apple Pencil, the Crayon doesn’t support pressure sensitivity but the rest of the experience and technology are similar: it reportedly offers the same palm rejection and precision as the Pencil and provides angle measurements so that apps like forScore can emphasize drawings made with the side of the drawing tip.

The Apple Pencil is a fantastic product that we continue to strongly recommend for all owners of compatible iPads, and it sounds like the Logitech Crayon will help expand that incredible experience and bring it to even more people. We can’t wait to get our hands on one and try it out. Visit Logitech’s website to learn more about the Crayon and to order it.

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