How to fail at writing knitting chart generators – part 1

Knitting Chart Maker for iOS

Ok, so I’ve been working on a little pattern, and I had the need to create a small chart. Not anything big and complicated, so I figured how hard can it be. Now, I know there’s some excellent tools out there. They’re pretty pricey though, and while I’m convinced they’re well worth the money if you’re a professional pattern designer, or even for the ambitious amateur, I’m not sure I will even make another pattern. Like ever. So I’m not really looking to spend a lot of money on something I might only use once.

So I’m doing most of my blogging, surfing and whatnot from my iPad. Some googling put knitting chart maker pretty high in ranking. Free? Almost. If you want to save, import and export stuff, you have to pay. What anyone would use the darn app for without that functionality is a little beyond me. But hey, it’s just $3.99 so I’ll give it a go.

Now up until now, the app has been pretty nice. Charting is easy, pretty intuitive, and you can save and come back to your work later. Excellent.

I have by now finished my pattern, written most of it out. I’m proof reading, need to click some nice pics, and then I can finally publish it for the WHOLE world to marvel at is excellence. I’m just going to export the two simple charts and… Oh the horror! The effing antiklimax! The damn app is exporting the damn file, to a place on my iPad where Steve Jobs and his posse have decided I’m unworthy or unfit to access. The app won’t let me choose where to store the file, and there is pretty much no way for me to access it, unless I jailbreak my iPad and get some other app and.. Well you get the point – stand on one leg, on a Tuesday and scratch my head backwards and with some luck the file will magically appear. Now, again, I’m pretty tech-savy. I keep saying that when I fail technical stuff. I promise I am, but I can’t get the darn thing to work. Not easily anyhow. Googling for a few hours to get something like this done, is where I draw the limit. I’m sure many users would draw the limit well before that.

Ok. I’m not going to panic just yet. There’s a function that is supposed to export my chart as an image and email it. Sounds perfect. I’ll just email myself and problem is solved. Not super elegant but satisfactory. Yeah. The app crashes, without any type of error message when I try hitting the export to email button. Repeatedly.

Congrats. You’ve created a totally unusable app. Well, not from a usability standpoint. Just from a functionality standpoint. The software developer in me is twitching. I want to just scream “KNOW YOUR DAMN TARGET GROUP, YOU MORON!” But I guess, that’s all you get for $3.99. It still feels like a rip-off though. I mean don’t call it exporting, if you can’t actually access the result.

In my techblog, I’ve been known to want to fishslap bad developers. I think this one is definitely worthy of a fishslap.

Well, I keep trying to chart that pattern. It’s beginning to be a thing now. So consequently I’ve found a few more fails. Not as bad as these ones, but enough to deserve another blog post. Until next time!

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6 Responses to How to fail at writing knitting chart generators – part 1

  1. I have been struggling with charting issues myself. I sure would like to find a great program that doesn’t cost me an arm and a leg. I tried Intwined and i want to pull my hair out over the key. Also, what is with this export the chart (and key) as an image. Grrr, Grrr, Grrr!!! I sure hope you find something fabulous that doesn’t involve a spreadsheet…

    • tuathaa says:

      I did find some more tools. I’ve written up the part 2, where I list a few of them. They’re not all bad, allthough none of them is quite perfect, if you know what I mean. Feel free to check out the new post, and try out the tools I listed. They might be what you need!

  2. polwygle says:

    I haven’t played around with knitting chart programs yet. I’ve been happily enough plotting in Sheets in Google Docs. So I’m curious to read your reviews. Thanks for sharing.

    • tuathaa says:

      I have found a few useful tools. Some for completely different usecases than I initially set out to find. For instance, there’s one, where you can upload photos, and have it come out charted. Might be useful someday, if I decide to knit some vehicle-sweater for my car-crazed son. I’ve listed a few tools in the part 2 rant. Feel free to check it out.

  3. Pingback: Level up! | The everyday life of a nerdy knitting junky

  4. Pingback: Knitting chart tools – part 2 rant | The everyday life of a nerdy knitting junky

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