Devs, where are you guys?

You spoiled us with regular Hookpad updates for most of 2020! But now it’s been over two months without an update (and lingering bugs). Hoping you all are healthy and just enjoying some time off :pray:

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Sorry for the lack of updates, we’ll try to be better about keeping you all in the loop on what we’re up to (perhaps a newsletter or something).

We’ve been working hard on a number of bug fixes and new features that will be pushed to the site shortly. One of the things that we’ve been focusing on in the last month is Theorytab, which represents an important part of our community that often gets neglected. This includes lingering issues like instrument caching bugs that @Vaz123 has pointed out many times, inclusion of fully diminished 7th chords to the database that @HertzDevil has been asking about for a very long time, and a new side-scrolling view that makes it easier to fit tabs on a page and have the piano showing. The piano, we realized has been broken for some time actually, so that got a big refresh and is featured more prominently on our site in general which we hope will be useful for you all.

We also have made progress in a lot of areas that are a bit behind the scenes. Hookpad’s audio engine is getting a large refresh (this will be a much more major update that will still take a couple weeks to finalize), where we’ve moved all of our sustained samples to looping ones. This means that you will be able to hold notes for long durations without the sample buffer expiring, and will mean that Hookpad will load instruments much faster, since the library buffers are much smaller.

This refresh also allowed us to chain in Tone.js nodes into our audio chain, which paves the way for two new audio features: native synthesized instruments and instruments with audio FX. We have always held off on implementing Web Audio FX, because Hookpad’s playback engine can tax the browser, and we were worried that adding FX would make this worse. However, implementing these FX with synth instruments can allow us to design new sound fonts that do not require any load/decode time which would be nicer from the user perspective.

Finally, we’ve been brainstorming new ways to engage with the Hooktheory/Hookpad community. One thing that I’ve always wanted to do but we just never organized is songwriting/composition/harmonization contests. The idea would be that we would give you a prompt, maybe something like “Write a 4 or 8 bar loop that best captures this image” and Hookpad users could submit entries, and the winners would be featured on our site. We think this would be a great way for you all to showcase your skills and see each other’s work. I hope something like this would be fun for you all.

Anyway, we’re hard at work, and I hope that you all are doing well during these crazy times, and look out for our update in a few days!