Let the Carnage Begin
|Posted by Megan Goodacre on Feb 18, 2011|
The Tricksy Chart Maker just went into beta testing.
What's beta? Well, once the programmer has finished the development cycle (unoriginally named the alpha stage), he or she selects a small group of testers who represent the eventual users of the software and lets them try it out, reporting bugs and oversights. Alternately, it's the point when the programmer is sick to death of working in a vacuum and needs someone else to see his work even if it means he's going to be bombarded with criticism.
I go back and forth on my definition, depending largely on how much coffee I've had.
The criticism is a good thing. It's not always fun to hear, but it's the whole point of the beta testing. By the time a program goes to beta, the programmer has had his nose stuck so deep into it that he couldn't see a mistake if it jumped out of the computer screen and started knitting him a toque.
So what do I expect from the beta testing? To be honest I don't know. Now that I've finished the stitch chart maker I'm beginning to think I should have started with a drawing program, like the color chart maker. The stitch chart maker lets knitters type in their instructions (Cast on 12; Row 1: k2-tog, p4, ....) and generates a grid of stitch symbols from it.
There are two problems there: 1. Every knitter seems to have a slightly different syntax for their instructions. Here is our list of knitting chart symbols. The chart maker does its best to accomodate different ways of writing the same thing but there's a limit. 2. Turning knitting instructions into a chart is for designers mostly and requires a certain degree of experience. I may have just made a tool that's only really useful to a small number of knitters.
Oh well, that's what testing is for. If the chart maker doesn't understand everyone's instructions I can teach it, and if it only appeals to a small group of knitters that's just how it has to be. Hopefully those knitters will make swatch charts and share them with the community and everyone can benefit.
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