Literature & Latte

An Update on the iOS Version of Scrivener

By KB, posted 08 April 2013

Given the number of tweets and messages we get enquiring after the progress of our iOS version (thank you everyone for your enthusiasm!), I wanted to give everyone a quick update, since there have been some important developments recently.

As many of you know, development started on Scrivener for iPad and iPhone early in 2012, and we had hoped that we would have it ready for the end of that year; we later revised that estimate to the first quarter of 2013. And, as many of you have pointed out to us, here we are in April – so where is it?

 

 

I’ll provide the information you are most likely after first: it will still be a little while–certainly much longer than we had hoped. We can give no firm release date yet, and given that past estimates have been wildly off, I’m not even going to make a guess at this stage. We very much hope it will be out this year, in time for National Novel Writing Month, but we’re not going to make any promises at all until we know for absolutely sure that we can keep them.

The frustrating part for us is that, for the past four or five months, we have had a version of Scrivener for iPad that is in many ways so nearly there and yet still not ready for beta-testing. We hit snags with the rich text system (or iOS’s lack of one) and building the synchronisation code is incredibly complicated because of Scrivener’s package-based file format, but we had most of the other basics in place and felt we were really making good progress.

 

 

Unfortunately, however, owing to unforeseen and serious health problems in our iOS developer’s immediate family, over the past few months our original developer has been unable to spend the time on the project that is required to get past the final roadblocks and finish it. It’s been a difficult time for everyone as we tried to work out the best way to proceed, all the while hoping things would get back to normal even as time slipped by, especially since she has done such an amazing job so far (the iOS versions of the binder and corkboard are a joy to work with). It gradually became clear, sadly, that our iOS developer had no choice but to officially reduce the time she could dedicate to the project so that she could concentrate on her family, and that we would need to find someone else to step in. But because we’re a small company with limited resources and no headquarters or offices, it’s not as though we could just throw money at the problem by hiring a bunch of developers and supervising them until it is done; we’re not Microsoft, Apple, or even Omni. We needed to find another iOS developer not just passionate about coding, but passionate about creating an iOS version of Scrivener in particular.

 

It is with great pleasure and some degree of relief, then, that I can now announce that we have found a new developer to focus on getting Scrivener for iOS completed. (The original developer will continue to work on it too, as much as her current circumstances allow.) The new developer is Tammy Coron, an experienced iOS coder who is also involved with Nickelfish and developed the iMore app. She’s a dedicated Scrivener user and, like many of our users, is desperate to have the iOS version for herself. (It’s not just our users eager for this–I want to be using the iPhone version as soon as possible too.) There’s an interview with Tammy available online for anyone interested here:

http://www.imore.com/debug-10-tammy-coron-nickelfish

Tammy can also be found on Twitter @Paradox927 (which is the same user name she uses on our own forums).

Tammy has been getting up to speed with the project for the past fortnight and has now started diving into the code proper. We hope to provide more news over the coming months, but we’re all excited to have her on board and to once again be forging ahead with getting our iOS app completed.

 

 

To those desperate to have an iOS version as soon as possible, we are very sorry for the delay, but remember that in the meantime Scrivener for Mac already has some great ways of working with mobile devices (e.g. via external folder sync). We know we’ll get a bunch of angry emails and tweets over this, but I hope that most of our users continue to find Scrivener one of the best desktop writing packages around, and that the iOS version will be worth the wait when it is eventually in everyone’s hands. We also hope that everyone will understand why we haven’t wanted to say too much about what has been holding up development until we really had to and had already got a solution in place.