Most of the requested features will actually be addressed together in a new user interface that I'm designing right now. Following that, I'll put some time into building better optimization algorithms that will be made available as each one is finished. The new interface will replace the old one and it will continue to be free and not require a login.

I will be putting some advertising onto the site but only in an unobtrusive location. No pop-ups, pop-overs, fly-ins, pop-unders, sounds, flashing images, videos, or any other horrible thing that the internet advertising gurus have come up with to date. If these ads bother you, I suspect you're probably the sort of person who is already using an ad blocker. That's fine. I'm not going to fight you over it. I pledge to be responsible with advertising and I hope I don't disappoint the 95% of users who said that would be fine.

I will also be adding in some for-pay functionality over time. I can't stress enough that I will never be taking features away from the free version! Users who are interested in paying for things like cloud storage will be given that option. I might add something like a tip jar for people who just want to buy me a beer to say thanks.

Finally, I'll be working to develop a calculator to plot cuts on two-dimensional stock — plywood and the like. I know there is a strong demand for this but it is effectively a different task. I'll develop it within the same framework and style as the one-dimensional version but I'm not going to make any promises about timelines at this point. Just like the 1D version, there will be a free version made available.

I appreciate the time that the 58 respondents took to fill out the survey and the words of encouragement some were so kind to include. As I progress through this roadmap, I'll poll the user base again to see where I should direct efforts beyond that point.

— Jonathan Overholt, 26 April 2016

Aggregated Results

Question 1: How often do you use Cutlist?

Response # %
Every day 1 1.7%
Every week 4 6.9%
Every month 6 10.3%
Not very often, but more than once 21 36.2%
Just this once 26 44.8%

Question 2: What is the nature of your use of Cutlist?

Response # %
Personal 40 69.0%
Work 14 24.1%
A mix of both 4 6.9%

Question 3: If I were to place a small, unobtrusive advertisement on the Cutlist page, would it bother you?

Response # %
Yes, it would bother me. You shouldn't do it. 3 5.2%
No. One small advertisement is okay with me. 55 94.8%

Question 4: If I implemented a for-pay value-add model, might you be interested?

Response # %
Yes 2 3.4%
Maybe, depending on the features 16 27.6%
No, the free version does everything I want 38 65.5%
(Write-in) I would donate some money, but try to keep it free with ads 1 1.7%
(Write-in) No, I would make my own if there wasn't a free one 1 1.7%

Question 5: Select from the list of potential new features to indicate which are of most interest to you.

Response # %
Prettier/friendlier user interface 15 25.9%
Optimization for bundle cutting 9 15.5%
Optimization for cost, add a field for price of each type of stock 23 39.7%
Optimization for fewest cuts 23 39.7%
Ability to generate plywood cut-lists (two dimensions instead of one) 29 50%
Ability to import and export various file formats, such as a spreadsheet of desired pieces 16 27.6%
Ability to save and recall your cut-lists online (cloud storage) 14 24.1%
Web service API for integration with other applications 1 1.7%

Question 6: Do you have any other comments or suggestions?

Note: I omitted suggestions that simply echoed an answer in the previous questions, appeared to stem from a misunderstanding of how to use the interface, or were simply comments — although the comments were quite positive and appreciated :-)

Suggestion #
Use metric lengths 4
Improve custom stock/stock availability 4
Handle angled cuts (e.g. cutting stock at other-than-90-degree angles) 1
Include more information in the cutlist (e.g. wasted stock, more kinds of diagrams, aggregate counts of each type of piece) 2
Improved reliability (e.g. fix problems with the interface freezing, not generating lists) 2
Improve the optimization algorithms 3
Mobile-friendly (mobile-friendly website or app) 2
Be able to enter all the parts for a full project (different dimensional stock) 3
Manually prioritize stock 2
Be able to enter lengths as feet and inches instead of decimal inches 1

Analysis and Response

Question 1: Usage frequency

I was pleasantly surprised at how many repeat users there are. There aren't a lot of insights to be gained from this question, I was mostly interested in using this to frame some of the other data.

Question 2: Usage type

The majority of respondents are using this for personal projects. This makes sense to me because big shops will tend to have CAD programs that already have this kind of functionality built-in.

Question 3: Advertising

An overwhelming majority (~95%) indicated that a small, unobtrusive ad on the page would not bother them. This is stronger than I expected and I'll probably go ahead and add that at some point. If and when I do, you have my assurance that it's not going to get in the way of using the application. I've used Google ads on a few pages in the past and have been happy with their level of quality control. If I place an ad on the page and get more than one or two reports of it causing problems, I'll pull it down and reevaluate this decision.

Question 4: Value-add for-pay

The majority response was that the free version is sufficient. That's great! However, about 31% indicated that they would potentially be interested in some kind of subscription model if the features were right. That's proof enough for me that it's worth pursuing in my free time.

In response to both of the write-in answers, I will never be taking away the free version. I was talking about adding new features that would only be available for pay. The free version will continue to be improved as well, much in the same way that the free version of Google Apps (Gmail, Drive, etc.) are supported by the paid version of the platform.

Questions 5 and 6: Wishlist and suggestions

A full half of respondents indicated that they want a version that can layout 2-dimensional cuts, as for plywood or other sheet stock. I've received a few emails to this same effect. I have a use case for this myself, so this is going to be a mid-term priority (some time in the next year or so).

Behind that, the most popular suggestions related to the optimization algorithms. You want more options and I'm going to give them to you! There are a variety of edge cases that produce funny results from the current algorithm and I've already done some work to improve that, but much more is on the way. Improving the algorithms is going to be priority #2.

The user interface is a big pain point and I realize that. New user interface is priority #1. This will address the stability issues, better flexibility for different types of input and output, mobile friendliness (probably as a mobile-enabled website, not an app), and gradual introduction of cloud storage and whatnot. In case you're wondering how much this is going to cost, the vast majority of this is going to continue to be free. I'll probably introduce some kind of pricing structure for cloud storage, to cover my associated expenses, but the rest will be free.

The web service got very little interest but that one person will be happy to know that the API will also be made available as part of the UI redesign. I'm moving the optimization code out of the web interface and back onto the server for a variety of reasons, mostly because it gives me a lot more flexibility for code management and optimization that just isn't available in JavaScript. The new user interface is going to use an API which will be documented and available for another else to write their own client for. I discuss this more on my API page.

Last, but not least: metric. I've gotten a lot of requests for this in email and it's always been on my list of things to do. About a year ago, I actually switched to doing most of my plans in metric, so it's moving up the list. The API supports both imperial and metric measurements and the new user interface will as well!

This page last updated: Wed Apr 27 18:45:27 2016 (GMT)