The long awaited day has arrived! Craftwell has released an updated version of the eCraftshop Pro software. I have really only had maybe an hour to play with it, so I can't really give a thorough assessment of the software yet. I thought that I would share a few observations that I have had in the short amount of time that I have had to play with it.
The Installation - No more RAR files! Yeah! For me the installation went very smooth and I did not have any problems. After installing and opening up the program, a pop up window appears asking if you would like to add the additional images that are available. After clicking yes, these images from the rest of the available SD cards will start to download and install into the software. I unfortunately don't know how long this took because I was called away on mom duty. When I returned it was finished and I could see all of these images. Some people have reported that this downloading and installing of the SD images seemed to freeze up. Since I did not have that happen, I really can't give a good explanation as to why that happened. However I will tell you that before I installed v 2.0, I completely uninstalled v. 1.0 and the drivers. During the software installation, the drivers were then re-installed. I suspect that maybe some people did not uninstall the old drivers, and that maybe there is conflict there. If you having that problem, try installing the software after uninstalling the software and the old drivers and see if that helps. Hopefully we can get some feedback from people and figure out the issue there.
The Screen - In the first version of the software, there was no way for any of us to see the entire mat, and in fact when the program was maximized on your screen, you could not even scroll down to see the bottom half. That has all been fixed, but there is one thing that has changed and is not for the better. For some reason, the entire window looks stretched from left to right. Normally this might not affect anything, but this stretching is affecting the mat on the screen. Instead of seeing 1" squares, we actually are seeing rectangles. When you put something on the mat, it looks stretched, but when you go to preview it looks fine. This can be a problem, because no one is going to want to go to the preview screen after every change that they make on the mat to make sure that something looks OK. Frankly I don't see a need to have the preview screen at all, why not just use the mat view for that? Maybe there is a reason for it that I am just not seeing at the moment, but it sure would be easier to be able to see everything in one place. And that brings me to zooming. When you are using the mat view, there is only so much zooming in that screen that the program will allow you to do, but when you switch over to the Preview screen, the zooming there is far more advanced! I am hoping that Craftwell can add those zooming abilities to the mat screen as well!
SVGs - The first thing I did was cut a couple of SVGs that I could not cut before, and so far I have not had a problem, so that is GREAT news! I still have quite a few to test out, and I will over the next few days. One user mentioned that she had a problem with an SVG cutting a random circle. At this point, I have not seen that file so I cannot verify if that is an issue with the file or the software. Hopefully we will hear back from her so we can figure that out! Another thing that I would really like fixed, is that SVGs come into eCP smaller than the original size. To test this out, I made an SVG with just a single square on it measuring exactly 1". When I imported this SVG into the software, the measurement was 0.94". I would really like the option to bring things in at their original size because there are many SVGs out there that are designed to be a specific size, such as cards. If they are being imported smaller, and then cut that way, they will not fit the way they should. Hopefully this is something that Craftwell can give us in the next update, I really hope so! We do not have the option yet to ungroup SVGs yet, and I really hope that this is one of the very first features that are added when they get to that point!
TTF / Text Tools - So far, I have only played around with one font to see if it would cut. No problems to report on that. The test font that I used cut great, and I also did some welding on it and it cut great, so my early report is good. I will also be testing out more fonts here in the next few days to see if these results are consistent. Also another big improvement is that the Ungroup Text button works properly now and keeps upper case and lower case letters proportional to one another!
SD Card Images - As I mentioned earlier, I can see all the images from the cards, but I have yet to try to cut any of them from the software. I will be doing that in the next few days, and will report back what I find.
Basic Shapes - I have not tried to cut any of these yet, but I will!
Pen / Curved Line Tools - From what I can see, nothing has changed with these tools. Have not tried to cut anything with these yet.
Eraser Tool - Like before, this tool seems to only work to erase part of images where we used the Pen Tool or the Curved Line Tool. It would be a nice feature to have this work with other types of images, but I would imagine that this is far down the priority list!
Add New Project - When clicking on this green plus sign, you will be asked what size project you want. One of the things that I thought might be changed is to give us the option to change the width of the project. As in the previous version, the width of new projects is fixed at 12". It would be nice if we could put in our own dimensions, but that has not been changed and also may not be a priority at this time.
I know that this update may not be what everyone wants, but that was not the point of this update. This update is specifically geared towards fixing problems that existed in the first version of the software. So far from what I can tell, Craftwell has done this. I still need to do a lot more testing to be sure of that, but as of tonight I am positive in the direction that we are going. There is word that Craftwell is already working on another update, no reports of an ETA yet, but that should give all of us some comfort that Craftwell is doing everything that they can to make this software something that we will all want to use. Software development takes time, and considering where the software was, this update is a great accomplishment. I will be back with more information, once I have done more testing, so be sure to check back soon!