iOS

Introducing the Light DJ Network, a platform for syncing purchases & effects

Hey everyone!

It may be summer, but that doesn’t stop me from creating new & cool things for you guys to play with, after all… fall is around the corner and I’ve got some big updates planned for later this year. One of the most popular user requests I’ve been receiving is to be able to share your subscriptions between all your iOS & Android devices. This isn’t an easy task considering how differently each platform deals with purchases and requires servers to manage the data on the backend. Thankfully in this age of plentiful cloud data services I was able to find a friend in Firebase. This still took me way longer than I expected to develop this, but with the new platform you’ll be able sync effects, sheets, and purchases, and anything else that comes up in the future. ;)

Currently the Light DJ Network is in beta and will only sync purchases so that you can share your subscription between iOS & Android. Effects and other content will start to be integrated with the service through end of the year, and into 2020. Many concepts like custom effects & sheets don’t exist on Android yet so they’ll be need to be developed before I can integrate them with the cloud service. This will be an ongoing project for me for years to come, so if there’s something you’d like to see, or if you have any other feedback, send me an email at kevin@nrthrnlights.com and let me know! If you’d like to sign-up for the beta, you can find the info here.

Also, a note on pricing (affecting new Android subscribers): Currently the Android Light DJ subscription is priced less than the iOS version. There’s a few reasons for this, like having fewer extras, getting updates 2nd, market factors, etc. My plan going forward is to provide universal access to all platforms, so when the cloud services network releases later this year Android pricing will raise to match existing iOS pricing for universal access. I also plan to offer an Android-only option while I build up the new features required to get the app up to parity with iOS. I always grandfather new features to existing users though, so if you subscribe today (or have been subscribed) you’ll get universal access before the rates go up later this year. New & current full Pro & Deluxe version purchasers get this access as well. I have no plans to change full version or iOS pricing at this time, but I’ll soon begin to offer subscriptions through this web site at a small discount from the universal App Store & Google Play price. If you have a preferred OS you should use that as the native subscription since you’ll be required to sync-up after each renewal (web subscriptions won’t have this issue).

Light DJ 2017 Year In Review

Can you believe 2017's almost over?

For Light DJ, that means the app is turning 3 years old next month! It's been a long journey to get to this point and I couldn't have gotten there without the support of my faithful users. Let's take a look at what happened in 2017.

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In April I gave the Android app a nice big update, adding the SceneMaker and Matrix effects and updating the Visualizer. Often when I'm designing new light controllers I'm not really sure how well the concept will work or if it makes sense to users so I design on iOS first. With the feature set now stable on iOS I was able to add all 23 SceneMaker effects and 5 Matrix modes to the Android app to bring the two apps' features sets closer together.

Once that was released it was time to turn back to the iOS app for some new hardware compatibility. The app has always supported Philips Hue and LIFX since the beginning, but I've been hesitant to add other hardware due to various technical/practical concerns. The Nanoleaf Aurora is the first exception I made. The hardware is so eye-catching and vibrant that I just had to add it to the app. This was more complicated than I expected as I had to not only write the communications pipeline between the app and the Aurora, but I also had to redesign & recode all my effects (which were originally developed with individual bulbs in mind). It was worth the effort though and I couldn't be happier with the results. It makes me giddy when users send me videos of their Aurora lights in action! :)

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In October I released the newest addition to the Light DJ family - Light DJ Studio. With this new app I was able to demonstrate a new concept in light shows and also solve a few technical challenges that I've faced since I started working on my apps. The app is simple: pick a song to play, then while it's playing tap along on your phone. Your taps will translate into light effects and the phone will record your taps so that you can play back your light show later. It uses Apple's new MusicKit API, which lets the app the access the Apple Music library of over 30+ million tracks. It also works with Bluetooth speakers, which sadly isn't supported on the Light DJ Pro app. This app has a ton of room to grow and I can't wait to start building features for the next major release next year.

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Finally, in December I made a few significant back-end improvements to the Light DJ Pro app. I added support for Ableton Link and MIDI, allowing DJs and musicians to set and control the tempo from other devices. I also integrated a new beat-matching library for much improved real-time music synchronization over the mic. 

What can you expect to see in 2018?

One of the great things about being your own boss is that you get to set your own schedule. While I don't have any specific dates for any future releases, this is what I plan on prioritizing for next year:

  • Nanoleaf Aurora support on Android

  • Light DJ Studio Community Tracks service - share your light show recordings with other Light DJ Studio users

  • Custom effect playlists on iOS SceneMaker

  • Apple TV & Android TV support

  • Android tablet mode

 

If you have a specific feature request or just want to let me know what I should work on next, send me an email and let me know! I hope everyone has a safe and merry holiday season. I can't wait to see how everyone's New Years Eve parties turn out!

 

Cheers and happy holidays,

Kevin