Next update is in the works...

It's been a bit since I posted information here, so felt I should update everyone on where I am in terms of the next update to iSlideRule.

I was working on the layout and method of selecting positions for the various scales on each rule and had a design that I thought would work well. I got it partially implemented and was using it, and realized that it was not a very effective or user-friendly way to do the selections. For only doing one set of rules, it wasn't too bad, but with multiple views for each rule, the design quickly became difficult and confusing to use. That told me that the design I was working on was not the correct way to do the selection of scales and positioning.

So; I'm back to working on a design that WILL work easily and seamlessly. This type of design work takes some serious thought on several fronts. What controls and UI elements does the iPhone have that can be used to perform these tasks? How do they interact with one another? Is there a better way or more optimal approach to take? Suffice to say, I'm definitely working on something... and I'm leaning to moving all the settings into the application itself since changing of scales within the app, and color scheme, etc. can and probably should be done from within the application, allowing the changes to be immediately seen.

As I proceed, I'll post more information as to what direction I'm taking on the ability to position the scales within the various rules, and views. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a wonderful, joyous, and safe holiday season!

Merry Christmas and Have a Happy New Year!

1.0.3 Update is available

Apple is definitely getting much better and faster at approving updates for distribution.

The 1.0.3 update is now available for everyone.

The next update will contain several new features that I have started working on; including the triplex rules, as well as the ability to select positions on each rule for the various scales, and an optional digital display capability. These updates will take me a bit of time to implement, so please bear with me. :-)

Thanks for your support and feedback! I appreciate all input and suggestions for improving the application!

1.0.3 update available soon

I just posted the 1.0.3 update to Apple, so it should be available within a few days. This update includes improvements in the scale numeric graphics for the P, LL/0, LL/1, LL0, LL1, LL2, and LL scales (increased kerning by 1 pixel in the smaller fonts). Also, I've adjusted the acceleration and deceleration of the slide movement when the cursor is used to move the slide and top/bottom rules to the left or right.

Additionally, I corrected a problem where the cursor would seemingly "lock" to the left side of the display when scrolling, even after the touch was lifted and the slide action should have stopped.

Another change was done to the way the non-moving touch action performed. Instead of using the current position of the opposite rule to determine which direction to move the piece in, the application now looks at the touch location. If you touch the display on the left side, on, for example, the slide, the top and bottom rule will move to the left until the rightmost index is at the farthest position to the left that it can go. Similarly, touching the display on the right will move the rule or slide (whichever piece is not being touched) to the right until the leftmost index is at the farthest position to the right that it can move.

The next update will take a bit of time to deliver as I'll be adding in several new features, including the triplex rule system, and optional digital display capability. In the mean time, I believe 1.0.3 is very stable and use-able. Please let me know if you find any issues! And thanks!

1.0.3 update in progress

Well, 1.0.2 is out and available to all customers now. So; next? I'm working on the 1.0.3 update at this time. This update will have fewer changes than the previous update, but a they are important.

I'm updating a few of the scale graphics to correct an error on one scale (incorrect number on one label), and to add some kerning space on the scales with a lot of smaller numbers on them. The numbers tended to run together, and could look better (and be a bit easier to read).

Additionally, I'm changing the movement algorithm on the touch-move-other scales feature that I added in the 1.0.2 update. One of my customers suggested that instead of movement based on the current offset of the scale being touched (a 50/50 split), that perhaps I could use the location of the touch (left or right) and move the opposing scale in that direction. This actually makes so much more sense than what I first implemented that it was really time to just slap myself and go "DOH!" I really shouldn't add features when I'm tired or not quite thinking right. :-) (Thanks for this suggestion Martin!)

Finally, I noticed a slight "sticking" feature in the cursor movement when scrolling the bars and slide to the right with the cursor all the way over to the left. I missed one "cancel" of the movement on having the touch end, so I'm fixing that in 1.0.3.

After I get this update out; the next update won't be out for a while as I work through, and re-tool the application to use flipped views for the "triplex" rule concept I mentioned in an earlier message. This will take some time to put together as I'll also need to completely rework how I do application preferences, and deal with the "Settings" application. That update is now tentatively numbered "1.1.0".

In other news...
I was taking a break last night and found an interesting link on the Macworld website.

Check out:

It appears that Andy Ihnatko is looking for an iPhone slide rule app. I would hope that he would take a look at mine. Maybe it would suit his requirements. :-) I've read Andy's columns for some time now. Always a good read.


1.0.2 update released

The 1.0.2 update to iSlideRule was released on October 26, 2008, and should be available for users within a week. This update contains several new scales, all new scale graphics that are 1900 pixels wide (1.0.0 and 1.0.1 used graphics that were 1400 pixels wide). Details of this update are listed here.

New scales added to this update include:
* CIF and DIF (reciprocals of the CF and DF scales)
* Ln scale (a linear scale giving natural logarithms of numbers from 1 to 10)
* a pair of conversion scales to provide temperature conversions between Celsius and Fahrenheit
* S(mannheim) scale, (used with "A" scale to calculate sines, or the tangents of numbers less than 5.7 degrees
* F(2π) scale, a folded "C" scale, folded at 1 / ( 2π ), useful in electronics calculations
* F(x^4) scale, used with the "C" or "D" scales to calculate fourth powers and roots.

Other features include a new acceleration/deceleration routine when moving the entire slide with the cursor at the left or right margin of the display. The entire slide rule moves left or right more slowly as it moves away from, or towards the ends of the rule.

Another new feature is a way of moving the opposite piece of the slide rule. With an index of either the slide or the bars present in the display, touching that slide, or bar, and not moving the touch, will result in the other piece moving in the opposite direction. Motion is halted either by moving the touch, lifting the finger, or by alignment with the other index position. This motion also has acceleration and deceleration built in, although at this point, neither this motion, nor the other cursor-based motion have "bounce" like the normal movement in the view when moving the slide or the rules by swiping or dragging them.

Minor changes in the app include some settings changes to support the new features, a bit faster launch time, and I've also changed the default launch screen back to a neutral color similar to the initial release. The default image also has some transparency added so that it is easier to know when the application has completed launching and is ready for use.

The other main feature included in this update is compatibility with the first generation iPod Touch devices (I finally got the application tested on one and can now say that it should work fine on that device!)


Upcoming Features in future versions

There are many features that I plan on updating and/or adding to iSlideRule over the next weeks and months.

Primary among the features list that I'm planning and working on is moving the configuration and settings into the application so that scales and color can be updated while the application is running. In addition, I'll be adding a feature that will permit positioning of the scales on their individual slides. Settings will be accessible from "portrait" viewing mode via a control present on screen to flip the whole view over.

Another feature that will be added will be a flip-side view of each slide and rule with additional scales. Unlike a normal slide rule however, that has two sides, each slide will have three sides (think triangular engineering and/or drafting rulers), with 4 scales each (12 scales possible on each bar), and each one can be "flipped" independently of the others. I've got an approach that allows me to use up and down swiping on the rules to perform the flip, and flip to the appropriate view.

Lastly, of some use to those that have a hard time reading the numbers and ticks on the rules, I'll be adding a selectable feature to have the current viewable scales values shown on screen (in portrait mode, they'll be shown below the bars and labeled. In landscape mode, while I haven't completely settled on the approach, they'll probably be displayed, after a slight delay, on top of the cursor, in a semi-transparent way, and disappear while moving the cursor.

1.0.2 update in progress

I am currently busy at updating iSlideRule, using the feedback and email comments I have received. In the 1.0.2 update, I'll have new scale graphics that include π guage marks, and the graphics will be smaller in terms of storage size (resulting in a slightly smaller download), but longer in terms of rule size. In the 1.0.0 and 1.0.1 update, the scales are ~1400 pixels wide. Given a resolution of 72 pixels per inch, this is like a 19.5" wide rule. I experimented with making 2400 pixel wide graphics, but settled on a size of 1900 pixels (equivalent of approximately 26" wide rules). Additionally, I'll be adding a few new scales in the 1.0.2 update (CIF and DIF for example, along with others).

In the 1.0.1 update, I widened the cursor from its original 1.0.0 width of 45 pixels, to a 65 pixel wide cursor. This was in response to feedback that was concerned about insufficient width in the cursor and inadvertent touches resulting in slide or top/bottom rule movements.

A "feature" that showed up as part of the work in the 1.0.1 update that I'm working to correct is that the rule and slide can separate when moved to opposite ends. In the 1.0.1 update, I added blank space at the end of the rules in the view so that the rules could be moved to the right somewhat, instead of being locked to the left side. I'm working to reduce or eliminate the separation in 1.0.2.