The lack of 'offset persistence' is perhaps Encore's greatest shortcoming. In an instant, though a single use of Encore's Align Spacing function, an Encore user can lose every spacing refinement manually applied to a score. This can amount to hours of lost work, the need to revert the score, or restore the score from a backup.
I would like to see an option in Encore's Align Spacing dialog that preserves offset, positive or negative ... and not as a fixed value, but as a percentage of the available space. Presentation of this option might take the form of a check box entitled:Preserve manually applied offsets.
- For a moment, let's use the term "normalized" to refer to the x properties (of various notes/objects) that Encore sets upon Align Spacing. (Even we have the option of choosing alignment styles available in the future, each option will produce it's normalized positioning.)
In this discussion I use the term "offset" to refer to the "x position" override that the user invokes by nudging (or by dragging a note.) An offset is the difference between where we put the note and where Encore would have put it? When nudging I'm ALWAYS OVERRIDING Encore's original sense of ideal or norm and thereby creating, or I'm updating an offset.
Any 'user-refined score' is a risk. (By 'user-refined score' I mean any score in which the user has carefully adjusted object placement beyond Encore's default placement. By 'risk' I mean that Encore may permanently discard some or all of the user's detailed decisions, rendering a perfected score (or portion of a score) back to default object placement, or it may badly dis-align it to some gangly intermediate, pre-aligned state.
According to Jef Raskin, in his book "Humane Interface", the primary goal in software development is to preserve the user's data. This means that Encore should preserve ALL offsets, until the user explicitly changes or deletes them.
I'm not under the illusion that anyone can create notation software that can foresee and fulfill the spacing requirements of every situation and for every user. That's precisely why we have the (nudge) option: to override Encore's spacing decisions. But we should be able to retain those decisions as long as we want, even after reinvoking Align Spacing. Align Spacing should know how to reincorporate user offsets, not just toss them aside.
Yes, I've express these sentiments previously on this forum, but cannot find the posts. In those discussions I suggested that Encore should also employ optional visual feedback (colorization?), so the user can see what objects are governed by user offsets. And Encore should offer a simple means for clearing ranges of offsets—for instance there could be a Clear User Offsets checkbox in Align Spacing (set of OFF by default!)
Persistence is hugely important! We've been waiting for a long time.
I hope Gvox development will prioritize this issue appropriately. I stand to loose data by the day, hour, and minute.