The History… iChart!

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Rob In der Maur

Being a music lover and having my favourite music listed in my own personal charts during multiple periods of my life, I imagined building a Mac OS X app in the early days of that new operating system using my knowledge of NeXTSTEP OS. So I did. It would be a nice exercise, I thought. And so it turned out to be.

iChart never made it public; I used it for myself and shared it with some others. It was definitely not bug free yet the app is still working on Mac OS X versions, but unfortunately not anymore on Mac OS Big Sur. B.t.w. look at how I used drawers extensively, a UI element highly discouraged these days by Apple's human interface guidelines.

So what was iChart really? Nothing else than your own ‘chart maker’.

You could create a collection, let’s say Favourite Singles 2003-2004 (as illustrated above) and then add charts to that collection. E.g. every week, or whenever you saw fit. Adding a chart would simply copy the previous chart and allowed you to modify the order of entries in the chart, remove entries and add new entries. All in line with your music preferences, your music moods at that moment.

Over time, a consolidated view would give you a list of all entries, ranked by the points acquired by each entry, or the number of charts an entry appeared in, or its highest postion over all those appearances, or whether it has reached the number 1 position (and how many times). Like the typical 'end-of-year' lists you see on Billboard, Pitchfork, etc..

The beauty of all this (collecting personal charts) is that over time it becomes your musical diary; you can revisit how singles, albums, tracks impressed you, wonder how certain music ever ended up in the chart (what were you thinking?) and get surprised how entries meander over a period of time to make a big footprint and other entries quickly come and go.

In itself, music charts are extremely intriguing for exactly these reasons; at least to me…

Are you intrigued as well by music charts? Or do you just want to keep track of the music you love, over time? Then the new incarnation of iChart, dubbed Chart Your Music, might be for you.

In the remainder of this blog, I will post about the journey building and improving on the app. Stay tuned.

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