Saturday, April 1, 2017
The key to not-quite launching the most anticipated release of OnSong yet lies in the incrementation strategy of its version numbering system. "Almost 7 years ago to this day, I uploaded the 1.0 version of OnSong to Apple for approval", recalls Kichline. "A few days later we were approved. We didn't know what sort of impact OnSong would have on the world, but we loved the simplicity of that singular moment of integer-based bliss". Even then, a sole decimal point situated between two indivisible numbers hinted at the future success of such an app for musicians.
Almost immediately after launch, Jason began receiving emails about the beauty of this "1.0" concept along with lists of features and bug fixes. "Frankly, the first version sucked and shouldn't have been called that. Maybe I should have started with version 0.92 or something, but Apple wouldn't let me.", he quipped. Working in his free time at nights and on weekends, Jason began making improvements to the nascent program based on user input. In a about a week, version 1.1 was released. Since that time in 2010, more than 70 versions of OnSong have been released, each one more accurately approaching, but never quite attaining that two point "oh" designation.
Thanks to the feedback of a vibrant community of almost satisfied users, OnSong continues to build the best app for musicians, albeit within the realm of a one digit. "Every now and then we think about just adding that one feature that we feel would make OnSong complete, update the number and be done with it. But instead we make it more stable and able to run on six versions of iOS.", bemoaned Product Manager Jaime Kichline, "Then Jason drinks a little too much coffee and stays up late and the next morning OnSong is setting mood lighting in our home office along with computer generated techno."
Prior to this release, OnSong was only able to achieve five levels of floating point precision with version 1.99922 which made those brave enough to recite the number aloud sound like a angry, stuttering, German ballerina. Apple only permits versions to be entered that are less than seven characters in length. "We thought about making an Android version of OnSong just to get around this limitation because it's open source", says Jaime, "But then we'd be right back to 1.0 anyway on that platform so it just didn't make any sense. None of this makes any sense."
The key to putting off the inevitable was the mathematic concept of epsilon. Often misunderstood as a "backwards number 3" or the "greek letter nailed to the front porch of a frat house", the epsilon symbol is used in the epsilon-delta definition of the limit in the field of differential calculus. "Essentially it's the closest possible number to absolute zero, that's not absolute zero based on the limitations of the system, such as a computer system.", informed Dr. Justin Tuple who's Dean of Theoretical Mathematics at Celebrate Online University. "By taking a whole number like 2 and subtracting epsilon, the OnSong team has done the unthinkable. Truly, it's unprecedented in the field of mobile application development". So why do it?
"We feel that releasing OnSong 2.0 would be a declaration of a future perfection; a ceasing of our mortal struggle towards completion and wholeness.", Kichline waxed philosophically, perhaps even theologically. "Slowing the measured rate of symbolic progression allows us to do what all of us dream of doing with our precious gift of life; to attempt to impede the incessant march of time and the ultimate cessation of breath to a point just before we take that next, logical, momentous step into eternity, into the next life. We are just not ready to leave behind the beauty and wonder of our first creation just yet."
It's this combination of near spiritual dedication that drives the OnSong team towards the continual creation of what some consider, just an app. But to the team that is constantly fiddling with the bits and bytes of transient electrons whirling through etched silicon, it's so much more. "Maybe we're crazy, or maybe it's just Jason, but either way we just want to keep building cool stuff.", says Chris Lard the developer of OnSong Console for Mac.
OnSong's Support Manager Kendra Shaver puts it best –
"I'm just glad we didn't actually release 2.0, I mean then we'd really find out what we're missing."
To see what's new in version 2.0 Minus Epsilon, who are we kidding? April Fools!
FYI: We are coming out with an actual release soon.
- ► 2013 (19)