By Chris Dietsch
Description: TabFinder is designed to help guitarists and musicians find tablature for the music they are listening to quickly. Often is the case where you may find yourself wondering what chords are in the song you're listening to, or how the guitar solo goes, or you need a reminder. This app is designed with speed in mind. It pulls the song and artist information from your iPod application and uses it to search common guitar tablature websites such as Ultimate Guitar and 911 tabs, and therefore will work on iOS devices with internet access.
Aside from that, there will be settings allowing you to prioritize which type of results you prefer (chords only, tabs themselves, or guitar pro links) in a settings page, and also include/sort by instrument type (planning on guitar and bass for now). Another feature will be the use of the Guitar Pro application as a helper app. This app is in the App Store and users who own it will be able to launch it directly from my app.
Design This has already changed a bit, but it's useful to have.
Schedule: Currently completed: I recently redesigned the app from scratch because my initial models were not intelligently using MVC design. With a firmer understanding I not only recreated the original app but am already ahead with more features and the ability to quickly move forward. I have a initial screen with information about the current loaded song in the iPod app (automatically loaded, another improvement over the original) that also refreshes if you change the iPod song and switch back to Tab Finder. There are links to search basic and advanced on Ultimate Guitar and a basic search on 911 tabs that all share a webview subview of the navigation controller that the app makes its main subview when it starts. Settings screen is linkable, and users can go back from the search page to the main app page with navigation controller supplied back buttons.
Update April 12th The project was redesigned for a more intelligent MVC approach using more of Apple's frameworks correctly and has been much more successful. At this time, the app correctly finds the song on the iPod app and is able to search Ultimate-Guitar very fluently. The app is able to determine:
-- The correct number of all tabs for a searched song -- The correct types of each tabs from the 6 categories possible -- The number of stars a song has, if any (0-5) -- The total number of users that rated this tab, if any ( [0->inf) )
Also the app neatly displays the tabs based on the 6 types of tab. Picking any tab moves you to the html page following it, where I also integrated social networking features where you can post this tab to Facebook or Twitter with just a few button pushes (!) I plan on adding some manual search to the first interface of the app. The integration of the Guitar Pro app seems like it may not work, because the developer did not implement anything that allows me to easily hook to his app. I've been in contact with the developers, but it seems unlikely I can get it to launch from my app. They basically had to reinvent Safari inside their app (not just a UIWebView that I have access to) in order to open the file with their app. I'll continue work in this area.
Next up is to work on settings pages to customize search results and social networking options available. Also I am considering adding favorite tabs to be saved for the user in the app. 911 tabs may take a back seat as they are not as much of a content delivery site as ultimate-guitar, and more of an aggregate of other sites that may take a lot of architectural changes to implement well. Also, I have no graphic design skills and I want a few icons made for me to use in my app and if anyone could help, I would really appreciate it. I need 4 "star" images similar to Amazon.com's ratings of constant width. I have a 5 star image, but not the other 4.
Week of April 18th Now I will be working on the settings page and learning how those choices are persistant. I also think I will implement a manual search option from the first page of the app because it will give more options to the users. I also am considering adding a favorite tab function where we can store the URL of a tab a user wants to see frequently without searching for it.
Week of April 25th At this time, the majority of my functionality should be complete. I will probably be hoping that I can get Guitar Pro interactivity (but am not counting on it). Also I will be continuing to look for 911 tabs as a viable option (but also not hoping for it). The main work to be done will probably still be the effect of settings/preferences on which tabs to display first/instruments/etc.
Week of May 1st Clean up code, design, hunt bugs, prepare for presentation.