App Needs an urgent and imperative Overhaul!

Hi all.

I recently received my GlowForge and I am very happy with it. But…
I hope Glowforge @staff reads this and give some feedback on the time frames to fix this important issues in the GF WebApp.

Your WebApp needs very serious and focused work if you want a killer product. Right now it is a very frustrating laser cutting experience. The app does not feel stable at all. In its current state is not very efficient to use and cumbersome to work with. If you don’t want to allow me to upload my own G-Code and skip the app altogether (like inventible allow with Easel) or open source the API , then the app is in URGENT need of a very dedicated, serious and prioritized overhaul… Like for yesterday.

Here are my frustrations in order of priority:

URGENT ISSUES:

  • Fix UI/App bugs/glitches! There are several important ones!
    • Example: Designs do not rendering correctly. Sometimes after a fresh upload of new design file, or if I copy one selection (of one or many designs), the copy appears like a black silhouette without internal detail. Even when closing and re-opening the design the copy still remains black. Sometimes part of the cloned design gets rendered when changing lasing parameters or upon re-opening the design, but mostly will not. When this happens the app does not create a step for that design/object or does it partially. This happens when copying one, two or many designs. [See attached image].
  • Long time loading of medium to large designs. Needs attention on how you manage large design files and vector rendering. The performance on the app with even small designs is miserable. My guess is that the whole rendering engine and memory management philosophy needs a complete remake. But what do I know, It just feels that way.

URGENT FEATUES:

  • Select object(s) by clicking (or shift clicking) on the corresponding step(s) in the left menu and vice versa (Select the step when selecting the object on the canvas).
  • Cycle select objects using TAB KEY or similar.
  • Alignment Tools: (Center, Middle, Top, Bottom)
  • Group/Ungroup: Group multiple items into one for easier manipulation and selection.
  • Snap to Grid for visual alignment.
  • Numeric placement, resizing and rotating.

MODERATELY URGENT FEATURES:

  • Ability to save custom material settings and share them among users.
  • Ability to save custom lasing presets for a given material [Light engrave, Heavy Engrave, etc].
  • On the home menu where the design’s list appear. We need the ability to copy/clone an existing design.
  • Ability to start a design with a clean canvas. Not only by uploading or trace.

LESS URGENT FEATURES:

  • Arrangement Tools: To distribute/layout in alignment multiple copies of an object for example.
  • Allow me to work with a white backed canvas to place objects before previewing with actual material picture.

NICE TO HAVE FEATURES:

  • Manual Vent/Fan Activation: Sometimes the default air cleaning time is not enough and you want to vent for more time. We should be able to do it.
  • Telegram/Email notifications when job ends or a problems arise.
  • Pause button in the app.
  • Pause the JOB if I press the big button in the Glowforge.
  • Create Text Objects in the app. (I know it is not a design app, but for something quick, this will be a time saver… Again. NICE TO HAVE but not a priority!)
  • A Native iOS App for iPad.
  • Options for lighting behaviors (like LED timeouts to dark after an X amount of time has elapsed without the machine being used).

I know it’s long and I have many more suggestions. If it was open source software I would be all over the place contributing… But since it is commercial, it is imperative that you resolve this (at least the urgent ones) to really get a useful machine. In my view the software right now is the bottleneck of the machine capabilities.

Hope it helps. Hope we can get some feedback from the @staff (@rita, @vee?) on when and if we can expect some or all of the items.

Thanks and congratulations on an amazing machine. I am happy!


Specs for testing device used for report:

  • MacOS - HighSierra. Issues appear on both Safari and Chrome.
  • MacBook Pro (2017)
  • 80 Mbps tested internet connection speed.

Attachment image to show the first issue:

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https://glowforge.com/jobs

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I don’t know about all the requests in op but it would be a good thing to read g-code just as it reads an Svg. There is a known issue with acceleration that the laser cuts deeper when it slows down and where critical the change in g-code could just shut the laser off at the correct place while the gantry continues for the distance it will take to come to a stop and then travels to where the laser left off then backs up and gets a running start before turning on the power. This would make nice sharp corners without the extra burn

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Congratulations on receiving your GF, and welcome to the forums.

I think everyone is aware of this, which is why you agreed to accept a product while the software was still in BETA.

This is just not true in any way. If you search through the forums, you will see some quite incredible projects that are already being made with the GF.

This issue has been reported numerous times, and I believe is being worked on.

Also a recognized issue that is being improved over time.

A number of your other recommendations have also been suggested by others over time. @dan and team are very open to feedback, and the community as a whole has been active in providing it.

If you are having problems with the machine or with your workflow, many of the community are more than happy to help.

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G-code is pretty simplistic. It would still require GF to convert the simple commands to something the unit would understand. All the accelerations, power ramping and such would still be in the company coding. Sure they could put a controller inside the unit and modify it for their purposes, but they didn’t.

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I like love your list but I fear we all need to make peace with the idea that the app will change very slowly. They are still behind on features they promised, like passthrough slot support, and I doubt they will add major new features before at least demonstrating progress in those areas.

I also think we should all keep posting lists, because they need to hear these things anyway. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and we’re lacking some important features. (Shoot, I would rather have a handful of things on your list before passthrough support, and I own a Pro.)

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I am not complaining. I am writing a through review with my suggestions, recommendations and reporting serious issues in my point of view. I am not here to find GF defenders or haters. I love my machine and it is usable as it is and I am glad I waited and accepted the machine as is.

Now that said, the app should be handled by a different team entirely than the one working on the manufacturing and I believe that they should have access to competent developers.

If they are not going to allow for the use of G-Code (with a good pre-processor to iron incompatibilities and such), I think they should really consider the APP a priority. Slot support, and other features need good shoulders to stand from. The app is way to weak and has far to many issues to support new features. First it needs to work.

As for the app being barely usable, I am not saying that you cannot do great projects with it. I am saying it takes a ton of time to get it to work right on attempt over attempt.

Again, this is not a complaint list, this is a user report. Take it as what it is. Do not go on a rant defending or hating. Just add to the list of comment on the issues so that when someone from the GF @staff reads this, they can have more information to fix things.

We all want GF to be successful.

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Welcome to the Forum!!

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Welcome to the forum. I’m neither defending or hating your post, rather politely pointing out that the past 2 years have shown that telling other users what and what not to do may not be an effective approach. Have fun with your :glowforge: !

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It is. It’s actually a pretty diverse team you can read more about here. It’s not like the marketing person and the app person were both also figuring out how to engineer and manufacture a laser cutter. They seem quite specialized; no one is trying to be a jack of all trades.

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I love posts like yours. Despite thousands of people with contrary results, all that truly matters is our personal filters and experience :smile: After reading these I often wonder how so many can achieve so much with so little :wink:

I try to avoid the gross generalizations that are demonstrably untrue with even the most cursory review of the forum posts. But when I hit an issue I swear at the GF because it’s just effing me up (unsurprisingly, I do not apologize to it when I find it was my fault).

We can all relate to your frustrations and the objective & uneditorialized suggestions are good even if redundant because they help GF make a better determination of how many people want some of the features. But the hyperbole tends to set people off and makes me wonder if it alters GF’s assessment of the value of the input.

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Got it! Appreciate it your insight :blush:

Thanks for your observation. I really think they are reading this and all posts and that it is not the same impact me sending emails to them than having a post where an objective conversation can take place between users, where conclusions can arise.

All that is missing is a little involvement from the @staff to make it truly inreractive.

I appreciate everyone’s posts. Hope our GF gets an improved app soon!

They’ve said that they do read everything in P&S but not necessarily all the other topic areas. Your list is one that has regularly surfaced and been discussed with dozens or hundreds of replies over the past couple of years (moreso after they started shipping PRUs a year or so ago). So the value is more in the “me too” confirmation that there’s one more vote for GF to evaluate.

Fortunately they’ve (GF) been on the forum along with the rest of us for the past couple of years so they don’t have to try to find these amongst the 250,000 posts out here. That’s why they created the “hopper” for ideas they’re considering.

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I disagree with your statement 100%. I’ve been using the app since March 2017, and have successfully completed hundreds of jobs. Have there been issues along the way? You betcha. Has is come a long way since then? Yup. Are they done with it? Nope. Are they listening? Of course – that’s why the app has improved over time.

YMMV, of course, but…
IMG_1610

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It doesn’t look like you disagree… your comments are in par with mine.

Understood. Thank you.

I was not thinking of it as operating the laser but like the svg a set of data that the GFUI would interpret just as it does an svg. Right now to lay in a vector so the laser fires only episodically like a dotted line but with more control and particularly not firing during acceleration changes could keep the the cut much neater and give some cool down moments in tight parallel cuts if you cut every fifth line taking five passes to pick up all of them.

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Interesting – I haven’t found this to be the case at all…but everyone has their own opinions and ideas.

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Reading at all comments, I have to wonder if the problem lays in my English and the way I am expressing my concerns. In my opinion there are bugs that you have to overcome with tricks and hoops in order to make your projects a reality. And basic features that are expected (like numeric positioning and translations) to work with precision and ease. Or basic alignment and arrangement features. All this are expected and needed in MY POINT OF VIEW.

What I meant is that for instance just today, I wanted to do 10 copies of an object that consist of 4 operations/steps for each copy. I positioned the first object in the material with the mouse, then select all of the operations/steps and cntrl+c and then cntl+V, and dragged the design to the right in order to produce the second copy. And WHAM! Got bitten with the black silhouette bug. Long story short, after closing and re-opening the project and changing settings to try to make it render properly, I gave up and had to do one print at a time. Print… Drag and position, print again… And so on… We expect copy paste to work properly. That’s what I meant by barely usable… it is usable but you have to jump hoops to make it work as it is supposed to. I know everything is beta here and I am sorry if I didn’t use the right forum or words. But it is what it is. It needs fixing and soon!.

So I am not saying it is not usable or that you can’t make great things with it. Just that it is buggy and you have to jump hoops to achieve your goals. That’s what I mean with barely usable… maybe a bad choice of words.

Again… My English is not amazing and I am probably not communicating correctly what I want to say.

If that’s the case, thank you for pointing it out to me. And I am sorry :slight_smile:

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