feature of the week

Drag and Drop: Basics

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With this year’s iOS 11 update, Apple introduced Drag and Drop, opening up completely new ways of working with information using gestures that couldn’t be more natural. Instead of tapping “Edit” and selecting your items, then tapping another button to do something with those items, Drag and Drop lets you directly manipulate objects on screen: drag something from one spot to another spot to move it, open it, share it, and more. It simplifies the most obvious tasks by taking almost all of the intermediate steps away.

If an app has been updated to support Drag and Drop (forScore was on day one), some of its interface elements can be dragged—most commonly, this includes items in a list like scores, bookmarks, and setlists in the menus and search panel. Tap and hold one of them until it animates up and out of its list, then drag your finger around on screen to move it.

Crucially, you can leave your first finger on the screen and use your other fingers to continue navigating and working just as you always do. Close menus, open other panels, turn pages—everything is still available to you. Most importantly, this allows you to drag multiple items at once (when appropriate). After tapping and holding to begin dragging one item, use another finger to tap other similar items one at a time to add them to your drag stack.

When you drag your items over a compatible view or portion of the screen, you’ll see the interface change to indicate that an action can be performed there. When rearranging items in a list (scores within a setlist, for example), other items move out of the way and create a gap to show that you dropping your item there will move it to that spot. In other cases, a green “+” symbol may appear indicating that your items will be added or copied instead of moved. Different situations use different symbols, and it takes just a few minutes of exploration to understand what each of them means and how they work.

These gestures are easy to pick up but far more capable than they may seem at first. You can drag an item and tap others to drag them all at once, but you can even pull similar items from different sources—grab a score from the main menu, a bookmark from your most recent setlist, and the currently visible score out of the main view’s title bar. On iPad, you can even close the app you’re working with and open another, or use Slide Over or Split Screen to move certain types of content between apps.

We’ll be exploring many of the uses for these gestures within forScore over the next several weeks, but if you haven’t had a chance to use Drag and Drop be sure to give it a try! It’s an incredible new tool that’s sure to turbocharge your workflow.

Backing Up

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A new year has arrived, and with it comes the perfect opportunity to protect the library you’ve created and maintained with forScore. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been using the app for years, backing up is an essential part of the process.

We recommend backing up regularly, and especially after you’ve made extensive changes to your library or immediately before installing major iOS or forScore updates. Our knowledge base article on the subject includes detailed instructions on how to do this:

Backing up your data to your computer

For those who got their hands on a shiny new iPad this holiday season, the instructions for transferring your library are similar. The best way to move everything to a new iPad is to restore it from an iTunes or iCloud backup, but when that’s not possible it’s easy to move these files over manually. Here’s how:

Transferring your forScore library to another device

Don’t risk losing all of your hard work this year, back up regularly and turn a good practice into a smart habit. Happy new year!

Features of the Year

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We love simple, clear designs, and we strive to make forScore as approachable as possible so that everyone can get started using it as quickly and naturally as possible. For some, that leaves the mistaken impression that forScore is a shallow app, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. That’s why we created this series, the Feature of the Week, and we’ve covered a lot of ground over the past three years.

This holiday week, we wanted to take a moment to recap all of the many features we’ve written and give our readers a chance to catch up on any they may have missed. So without further ado, here’s every feature we’ve discussed so far:

Thanks for reading, and happy holidays!

App Gifting

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The holiday season is here and one of our favorite features of the iTunes and App Stores is the ability to purchase content—like albums, movies, books, and apps—for other people. You can pay for the item, add a message, and even schedule the gift email to arrive on a specific date. When it arrives the recipient will get a download code that they can redeem with their own iTunes account.

It’s a great way to send last-minute gifts, or to share an app you’ve enjoyed with someone who perhaps can’t afford or wouldn’t choose to buy it on their own. For more information on app gifting, check out this page on Apple’s website. Happy holidays!

10.3: MIDI Playback

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MIDI, the eponymous digital musical language, is a bit of a chameleon. It’s a way of describing musical activity, but in practice that can take several different forms: it can be used to send keystrokes from a keyboard to software that responds almost immediately by producing sound, or it can be used to communicate tempo changes and setup information—like telling that software to use a different sound bank.

It can also be used to save and recreate songs at a later date, much like an audio track such as an MP3 file. Instead of including actual sound information, however, MIDI songs are a record of musical events—this note was pressed with this velocity, this pedal was released, and so on. When software is asked to “play” that information back, it reproduces those actions faithfully but can use any of the sound banks at its disposal to produce results that may sound like they were played on an entirely different instrument. Certain kinds of software can even try to represent that information visually, as sheet music.

With forScore 10.3.4, we added the ability to import, link, and play back MIDI files just like you’ve already been able to do with other audio tracks. You can play them back, add automatic track turns, loop sections, and adjust their playback speed. The first time you try to play a MIDI file you’ll be prompted to download a small sound bank from our servers, then you’ll be ready to go.

Whether you’re using a MIDI device to control forScore’s features and page turns, using score-specific commands, sending messages with buttons, reusing common commands with presets, or using forScore to produce piano sounds as you play, there’s something for everyone in this diverse language. And now, we can add one more: MIDI file playback.

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