StitchBuddy View

Dropbox vs. iCloud

iCloud

When I introduced StitchBuddy View as a universal app on iOS, documents of StitchBuddy should become accessible on all devices, for all StitchBuddy companion apps, and without the hassle of iTunes synching. So I decided to look into cloud-based file synchronization.

Back in those days Apple's iCloud was lacking an official way to access files on Macs or Windows computers, leaving me with its most prominent competitor, Dropbox. StitchBuddy's file synchronization was introduced in 2013, and despite various fixes and enhancements, there was and still is room for improvement: The synchronization process is quite fragile and especially for high numbers of designs pushed to its limits, so I have considered a redesign for quite some time.

And now it's time to move forward: Dropbox will shut down the functions I'm currently using end of June 2017 (API v1), which would require a lot of code changes in StitchBuddy. In addition iCloud has become more mature, e.g. offering iCloud Drive to seamlessly share files between your computer and iOS devices.

For these reasons I've decided to migrate StitchBuddy HD / StitchBuddy View from Dropbox to iCloud synching in the next months. Currently I'm working on a sample app, learning about strengths and weaknesses and how to deal with potential hick-ups. It will take some time, but I'm confident iCloud-enabled versions of StitchBuddy will be available on iOS in the first half of 2017.

StitchBuddy v2.10.3

The last update is some time ago, but finally I released StitchBuddy v2.10.3 for all platforms with some enhancements like
  • Selection of background color (iOS)
  • Background colors can be printed (optional)
  • PDFs are created rasterized or vectorized (iOS)
  • Stitch optimization improved
  • VP3 import fixed (for old files with thread offsets)
  • Context menus work with <Ctrl> + left mouse click (OS X)
More details can be found in the version history on StitchBuddy's website (OS X, iOS).

StitchBuddy v2.10.3 is a free update for all registered users, and can be either downloaded from the corresponding Download page (OS X), or (after Apple's approval in a few days) updated in Apple's App Store (iOS).

Please leave a comment at Facebook, a rating / review in the App Store, and spread your opinion about StitchBuddy by word of mouth.

Have a wonderful July, 4th!

Color picker for iOS

Colorwheel

For customizable background colors in StitchBuddy HD / View I had to create a tool to select a color: While on OS X default color pickers are available, iOS doesn't provide such a control out of the box.

I decided to go with a color wheel, which in my opinion is the right way to pick from multiple colors without loosing usability. There is still some work to do before StitchBuddy's next versions on iOS will allow you to select a background color and an option to print it as well, but this feature will definitely come.

StitchBuddy v2.9.3

Since yesterday StitchBuddy View v2.9.3 is available in Apple's App Store, and can be downloaded / updated for free on your iPhone or iPad.

This version incorporates a canvas size based on the opened design, and the corrected VP3 import. The approval of StitchBuddy HD is still pending, but I expect it the next days including the mentioned changes and a basting function using not locking but overlaying stitches. The Mac version has just been released, too, and can be updated for free by registered users.

Have fun with this update, and if you like StitchBuddy I'd appreciate a rating or even a review in the iOS App Store.

Update: It took Apple nearly a week to approve StitchBuddy HD, but finally it's available since January 13th, 2015.

VP3 import fixed

Few users have reported problems importing VP3 designs: Sometimes new threads were shown with wrong offsets, corrupting the whole design. This problem was very rare, only happening after designs were written by TruEmbroidery, and other programs are showing the same effect (e.g. Embrilliance Essentials and Wilcom TrueSizer).

I used this Christmas season to analyze the VP3 file structure more in detail, and finally I found the root cause and how to fix it. With the next release StitchBuddy will import these designs correctly:

VP3 Bug Corrected

After incorporating some further minor changes and testing everything thoroughly, you can expect this update somewhere in January.

Bugfix release v2.9.1

Some moments ago I released StitchBuddy for Mac v2.9.1 as a minor bugfix release: Unfortunately I broke the template (real-size) printing when introducing the new scroll view with version v2.8, resulting in too small printouts. This issue and some minor internal ones are fixed, registered users can download the new release for free.

In parallel I submitted new versions of StitchBuddy HD / View for Apple's App Store, with native support of the new iPhone 6 / 6 Plus screen sizes, and a fix of Dropbox syncing in combination with case-sensitive file names. I expect them to be approved in about one week.

Update (2014/10/11): I just decided to withdraw both iOS versions and resubmitted v2.9.2 today: the "zoom-to-fit" (by two-finger double-tap) didn't honor device orientations, and I just fixed it. Now the design will always zoomed to the maximum size while remaining fully visible.

StitchBuddy v2.9

All StitchBuddy products were renewed this week: With StitchBuddy HD the stitch order of threads can be changed and color changes can be deleted. The Mac version shows a color indicator in the thread list, making it easier to identify colors of small design parts. The overall memory consumption was improved, and some bugs were fixed.

More details can be found in the version history on StitchBuddy's website.

StitchBuddy v2.9 is a free update for all registered users, and can be either downloaded from the corresponding Download page (OS X), or updated in Apple's App Store (iOS).

Please leave a comment at Facebook, and spread your opinion about StitchBuddy by word of mouth.

Minor bugfixes on iOS

An update of both iOS apps was released last night: The most important improvement of StitchBuddy HD / View v2.7.2 is a bugfix of the Dropbox synching: One user synching thousands of files with Dropbox reported incidentally deleted files. For whose who are interested in details, there are two situations when StitchBuddy is deleting files on the iPad / iPhone:
  1. When a file exists on Dropbox, but not on the iPad, and its modification date is before the previous synchronization: It can be assumed that this file has already existed at the last successful synchronization, was synchronized, and afterwards was available on both sides, Dropbox and StitchBuddy. So after the last sync it was deleted on the iPad and therefore needs to be deleted on Dropbox, too.
  2. When a file exists on the iPad, but not on Dropbox, and its modification date is before the previous synchronization: The same case vice versa ... the file has already existed at the last successful synchronization, so it was on both sides afterwards, and was delete on Dropbox in the meantime. Therefore it is now deleted on the iPad.
As you can see synchronization relies heavily on the modification dates of files in combination with the last successful (!) synch. There were (rare) situations when a synch was considered successful although it wasn't, especially after several retries of file transmissions. Now such synchs will be marked as unsuccessful.

In addition the sort order in the folder navigation view was corrected, which was confused by folder names beginning with numbers or special characters, and I fixed a minor issue, when the scroll position was slightly offset after leaving the app from the gallery.

Bug fix and 64 bit: v2.7.1 released

Directly after releasing v2.7 users have reported a problem with "barely visible" and unresponsive views on iOS. I had thoroughly tested the app with iOS 7.0 & 7.1 on several devices without even similar issues, and could not reproduce the error ... After a while reviewing recent changes based on some screenshots showing the error situation, I was able to identify the reason.

Yesterday I submitted v2.7.1 of both iOS apps, and requested an expedited review from Apple, hoping for a fast approval... The update v2.7.1 was released this night, and first users are reporting the bug being fixed! In addition I incorporated 64 bit support for new devices (like the iPad mini Retina). Wow, what a weekend...

Version 2.7 renews all products

Today I released version StitchBuddy v2.7, renewing all iOS and the Mac applications, including Quick Look and Spotlight plugins. Although you can find comprehensive descriptions of all changes in the version histories (Mac, iOS), here is a short overview:
  • Gallery with subfolder support (iOS)
  • Designs can be opened in other apps (iOS)
  • X-ray view shows underlays when selecting stitches
  • Madeira Rayon thread colors added
  • Support of JEF+ file format (read-only)
  • Support of Janome MC 9900 (new hoops)
Update your apps for free, either from StitchBuddy's download page (Mac) or in Apple's App Store (iOS).

Are you already using subfolders in StitchBuddy's application folder on Dropbox, e.g. as an archive of designs? Please move these subfolders out of StitchBuddy's Dropbox folder before updating the iOS versions.

Please share your opinion at Facebook, and support StitchBuddy by leaving a rating / review in the App Store.

Preview of subfolder support on iOS

Starting with version v2.7 StitchBuddy HD / View will support subfolders, including Dropbox synching; here is a short demo of this release, which is announced for March, 2014: Preview of subfolder support on iOS.

New release v2.6

Starting with v2.6 StitchBuddy requires iOS 7

Both iOS apps, StitchBuddy View and StitchBuddy HD, have been redesigned to meet the flat user interface of iOS 7. These changes come with some minor improvements e.g. a better display performance and support of single-stitch selection on the iPad (details can be found in the change history). But more important is the fact, that starting with v2.6 both apps require iOS 7. It just became to much effort to support older iOS versions in parallel as Apple has changed a lot under the hood. In addition I lack the required testing devices to ensure proper quality checks with older iOS versions.

Update your apps for free or download StitchBuddy View / StitchBuddy HD from the Apple App Store. Please share your opinion at Facebook, and support StitchBuddy by leaving a rating / review in the App Store.

How many designs on iOS?

In 2011 when I designed StitchBuddy HD I thought users would hold only a few dozens of embroidery files on their iPad, just to work on favorite designs. I clearly underestimated what people would do with a highly mobile embroidery editor, especially after introducing Dropbox synching...

In the meantime I have learned about users holding thousands of designs in StitchBuddy HD / View, unfortunately pushing these apps over their limits: The flat gallery can't keep track of all the preview images, literally running in cycles, the synching can't complete in time, and the apps might stall or even crash. These issues are high on my priority list, and after releasing the iOS 7 versions my next goal is to improve StitchBuddy with a more robust and powerful gallery and synching process, so you can save and manage more designs on your iOS device.

But how to handle the current situation? I recommend to put subfolders into StitchBuddy's folder on Dropbox and put the majority of files into these folders: StitchBuddy won't synch them, keeping its number of files at a manageable level, and you can use the Dropbox app on your iPad / iPhone to move working files to and from the application folder. For sure only a bypass, but at least a possibility to have all your designs at reach when being mobile, and still keeping StitchBuddy responsive.

New versions ahead

During my vacation a user reported that some few PES files were not shown correctly by StitchBuddy. With the given example file I could easily reproduce the error, and today I was able to identify and fix the problem. Interesting enough: Some other embroidery programs have the same issue.

The bug fix still needs some thorough testing, but I expect minor updates of all (!) StitchBuddy products in the next weeks. The new version will also include a fix to support OS X 10.9 "Maverick", and Facebook / Twitter support for iOS ... and the mentioned limitation to iOS 6.0 (and above).

Dropping iOS 5.x support?

It seems I have to drop iOS 5.x support: Zooming into designs requires memory the 1st generation iPad lacks, causing the app to crash. Unfortunately without a notification beforehand, there is nothing I can do to avoid this situation, and the loss of work is possible. After restarting the iPad things work for a while, and on all newer iPads (with more memory) the problem does not exist at all.

StitchBuddy HDI already received a negative rating for this reason, and restricting it (and StitchBuddy View) to iOS 6.x is the only way to exclude the first iPad model. I know this will leave 1st generation iPad owners without further updates, and I am really sorry for this forced decision. Just be assured that the next additional feature would be iOS 6.x only anyway: Facebook and Twitter integration…

Please share your opinion at Facebook, and support StitchBuddy by leaving a rating / review in the App Store.

Update: Another option is to continue iOS 5.x support, and add a warning to the App Store's description that 1st generation iPads might face this issue … I'm still indecisive.

Surfing the first wave

On Monday Apple has introduced the next versions of OS X and iOS at its Word Wide Developer Conference. While OS X 10.9 "Mavericks" (a surfing location in California) is expected to come with only little changes for the end user, iOS 7 features a complete redesign of the user interface.

The WWDC keynote made me curious enough to download and install very first versions of both operating systems, previews only available to registered developers: Although I was able to identify minor issues with StitchBuddy's Quick Look plugin and the stitch simulator on OS X 10.9, these might be caused by the very early state of Apple's preview. I will check again at a later more stable state, and I am confident to resolve any possible problem. iOS 7 is currently only available for the iPhone, so I checked StitchBuddy View, and found it working, yet with an unfamiliar appearance.

This was only a very first glance, both OS are still subjects to change in the next months, but it was fun surfing the first wave and finding my apps working well…

Update (2013/07/12): Apple has fixed the mentioned Quick Look issue with Mavericks 3rd Developer Preview (I filed a bug report), and I figured out how to fix the Stitch Simulator. I'll incorporate this minor change in the next update, and everything will be fine for the next OS X version.

Updates approved in record time

Both iOS apps, StitchBuddy HD and StitchBuddy View, were approved in less than 12h and are now "ready for sale" … Thank you, Apple!

With this "Expedited Review" I was able to provide updated versions in the App Store only two days after the bug with corrupted gallery entries was reported, something I'm proud of…

Feel free to update to StitchBuddy HD / View v2.5.2, and please leave a rating or review in the App Store if you like the apps!

Embroidery everywhere

Today I'm proud to announce a new StitchBuddy product being available:

StitchBuddy View

StitchBuddy View is a small version of StitchBuddy HD, and gives you all your embroidery designs in a pocket:

Without editing features it was possible to make StitchBuddy View small enough to fit on your iPhone / iPod Touch: Search all designs in a gallery, view your embroideries down to stitch level, and share designs with others. StitchBuddy View integrates with your Dropbox, so you just set up the synchronization and all designs are automatically updated between your computer, iPad, and iPhone. Just like that.

And even better: On the iPad StitchBuddy View offers the same interface as StitchBuddy HD, giving you a crisp view of every design detail, and you can exchange designs between both versions using the Dropbox synchronization.

StitchBuddy View is available in Apple's App Store and it is FREE!