The status of the next update and 2.0

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KB
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Wed Dec 31, 2008 1:15 am Post

UPDATE: The expected release date for Scrivener 2.0 is sometime around October, 2010

Hi,

Why you are going to hate me
Okay, I have to brace myself for this one... As many of you know, the next update of Scrivener has been in development for a long time, now - nearly a year. I've always said that what I have been calling 1.5 is really 2.0, but that I was calling it 1.5 because I didn't want to charge for an upgrade just yet... However, at this point, after a year of coding and still more to go, I'm rethinking this: this is a significant upgrade and it feels as big as getting 1.0 out; in short, the bulk of what I have been calling 1.5 may well become 2.0 and - scowl and shout now - be a paid upgrade. This here is your opportunity to shoot me down for this. :) I'm naturally concerned that this risks causing a lot of ill-will - no one likes shelling out their hard-earned cash, especially on an upgrade that the developer has said all along will be a free update. So what gives? Well, here's my reasoning:

• 1.0 came out two years ago - yes, Scrivener has been on sale for two whole years now. In that time there has been two new versions of Pages, one major OS release (and there will be another this year by the looks of it), which alone caused me to code like hell to get a version of Scrivener - 1.1x - that worked well on both Tiger and Leopard, and my main competitors have been through at least one paid upgrade (with the exception of the excellent Ulysses, which costs more than twice Scrivener anyway). This next version of Scrivener thus represents two years' worth of improvements and refinements - more than that, given that it won't be out there for a few months, most likely.

• This is a big change, a landmark in Scrivener's development. It's nearly as big a step as that between Scrivener Gold and Scrivener 1.0. There are radical differences in the refinements to the interface. The Compile Draft sheet has been completely overhauled, as have the preferences. All the menus have been reshuffled so everything is now in a different place and users used to the somewhat obtuse placing of the current menu items will have to reacquaint themselves with the newer, hopefully more intuitive, menu item locations. There are new features and replacements for old ones. Anyone downloading the update in the middle of a project thinking it is a simple point upgrade could well be frustrated and annoyed at the fact that they will have to re-learn certain things. Making it a 2.0 will mean people can consider whether or not they really want to upgrade to this version and learn the new features, or hold off for a while.

• Workload and user suggestions: Having spent nearly a year now on this update alone, I've implemented a lot of user suggestions and I've added stuff that I always said would be reserved for a 2.0 release. Page layout view? eBook support? Better scriptwriting features? Better integration for Edit Scrivenings, corkboard and outliner? Titles in Edit Scrivenings you say? And so on...

• User expectations for an update soon. A Scrivener 1.x update is well overdue. If I say that this big release is 2.0 and will be out later in the year, it frees me up to work on a lesser 1.x release that will fix some outstanding bugs, add Final Draft FCF export and a few other features, and get a decent 1.x release out there to replace the 1.12 beta that everyone is using. I'll be able to do that soon-ish, as it won't take a complete documentation rewrite, which is what will be required for the big update I'm working on.

• Capitalism (yeah, and I consider myself a socialist, ha): I think I deserve paying for a year's work. :) I'm no capitalist pig, honest, guv - I even had a Windows user berate me for being a Mac hippy who doesn't want to make proper money by releasing a Windows version recently - but L&L is now turning into a proper company. I have gone from a part-time developer into a full-time business. Hopefully users who like Scrivener enough to want to know its continued development is assured will appreciate this and want to support it. But of course, there will not be an obligation to upgrade.

• Enthusiasm: 1.wha? Honestly, the idea of making this 2.0 excites me. I genuinely think this next update of Scrivener is cool beyond belief, and there's still much to do. Spending all day and all night every day (honestly, I work something like 12 hours a day 7 days a week on this at the moment - and I am supposed to be *writing* :) ) for an update that is just a 1.x upgrade and that will come and go without any fanfare isn't exactly motivating beyond knowing what you are doing is really cool. Making this 2.0 and knowing at the end of it that the review cycle begins again, that you can start telling people about it and that they might be interested... That is cool. Should I be sharing this sort of stuff with the users? I have no idea. (See "I'm making this up as I go along", below.)

What this means for you
All this means is that the next free update of Scrivener won't be quite as whizz-bang as I may have inadvertantly led you to believe. There will still be another Scrivener 1.x release, an improvement on the 1.12 beta that is out there at the moment. But after that, I will be renewing the focus on 2.0, which will have all the snazzy new features such as page layout, improved Compile Draft and so forth. And there is no time-scale for this 2.0 - because there is still lots to do. But it will be out later this year...

I'm making this up as I go along
Really. If I had known how much was going to go into this next version, I would have said it was going to be a paid upgrade in the first place. Instead, just after the last 1.12 beta, I started thinking, "Wouldn't this be cool... And this..." and before I knew it I was adding stuff that I had never intended for a 1.x version and still saying "Oh yes, it's still a free upgrade" whilst lots of people told me I was mad to do so... Really, I should have just shut my mouth about the features I was adding and stuck to my promises for 1.12.

You can always haggle
In the final analysis (as they say), I really don't want to p*** off any existing customers. Really, you guys are valuable to me. You've given me good press and you've been absolute stars in helping track bugs and suggesting new features. If, when 2.0 comes out, you personally feel it's outrageous and that it's not worth the upgrade fee... Well, you can either not upgrade and stick with 1.x, or you can contact me personally and let me know, politely, what you think. If you were someone who e-mailed me to ask if there was going to be a paid upgrade any time soon and I said no, well, just forward me that e-mail when 2.0 comes out and I'm sure we can sort something out.

Upgrade fee
Half price ($20-25) at the most. Free for users who have bought for a given time period before the upgrade, which we'll announce nearer the time.

Right, let the backlash commence!

All the best,
Keith

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Wed Dec 31, 2008 1:26 am Post

No backlash from me!

I thought I should have paid more, a lot more, within hours after getting Scrivener. And the 2.0 features you describe are most certainly 2.0, paid upgrade, higher initial price features.

Dave

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Wed Dec 31, 2008 1:28 am Post

You have my full support Keith, and I am sure the support of a lot of others as well.

Keep up the good work, and charge what you think you are worth.

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alexwein
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Wed Dec 31, 2008 1:48 am Post

No shouting you down from here! I agree whole-heartedly that you should make this a major upgrade and charge for it, for all the reasons you mentioned and more. Keith, I'm not blowing smoke when I say that Scrivener is truly amazing to use. The care and intelligence that has gone into Scr.'s construction over the years is very apparent and the improvements you indicate you are making certainly warrant such a move. Go for it!!!!!

Alexandria
Last edited by alexwein on Wed Dec 31, 2008 1:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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antony
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Wed Dec 31, 2008 1:50 am Post

As one of the people who said you were mad for not just going the 2.0 route to start with, I wholeheartedly support this decision.

And I didn't realise you'd now gone completely full time, so congratulations! :)

An
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Wed Dec 31, 2008 1:52 am Post

I believe Scrivener is an incredible piece of software and I'm sure 2.0 is worth paying for. I would love to see some screen shots!

best wishes,
André
Sweden

dr
druid
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Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:00 am Post

Keith,

Relax. In my town, 20 bucks is pizza and a pitcher of beer.
Besides, you just gave us 40 worth of soul-wrenching agony.
I look forward to the upgrade and will happily pay the entrance fee.

Droo

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gr
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Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:18 am Post

Heck, in the first round, I had to haul off and buy two 1.0's just to feel like I was paying enough.

Two thumbs up on this move.

-greg

P.S. I love this crazy upside down world where the users beg the developer to charge more and more often--for his program, for his updates, for his fantastic user support--and the developer feels bad about getting the money. Did I step through a portal somewhere?

br
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Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:20 am Post

Along with echoing the above posters, I'd like note that the improvements already made to 1.12 would qualify for a full point upgrade in many apps. What's planned for 1.5 now would easily make the grade. And the new plan for 2.0 certainly merits another payment. Plus, it's great that 1.5 (or whatever it's numbered) will be out sooner this way -- it's really time, and has more than enough improvements planned already. Keith needs to be compensated for all his work over the past two years. So I heartily endorse the new scheme.

Actually, we users -- and I'm looking at myself in the mirror of my glossy MacBook screen -- are heavily responsible for this by suggesting so many great new features that Keith has generously accommodated, and that have helped make Scrivener 2 a new product deserving of a separate fee. Thanks, Keith for all your hard work so far and still to come.

My only concern: with the gates apparently open a bit wider for even more extensive overhaul of Scrivener 2, when oh when is Keith going to get to write that novel?!

PJ
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Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:27 am Post

I've already told you that S was underpriced; at $20 for the bump to 2.0, it's still the best deal, best value, best program for any serious writer.* Do it.

Phil

*Also for the frivolous ones.

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tannie
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Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:44 am Post

No complaints from me either!

But ehm...
[quote="KB"]
[b]What this means for you[/b]
All this means is that the next free update of Scrivener won't be quite as whizz-bang as I may have inadvertantly led you to believe. There will still be another Scrivener 1.x release, an improvement on the 1.12 beta that is out there at the moment. But after that, I will be renewing the focus on 2.0, which will have all the snazzy new features such as page layout, improved Compile Draft and so forth. And there is no time-scale for this 2.0 - because there is still lots to do. But it will be out later this year...
[/quote]

Doesn't that leave you with, say, about 20 hours still left? Better get going then, if you want to get that 2.0 out *this* year!

*runs and hides*
;)

Tanja

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valente.mac
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Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:59 am Post

Hell... these will be the best 20$ I ever spent in a app. :)

Keith — you have no reason to be concerned about this. Scrivener and the work you have put in it are worth every buck and plus.

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Jaysen
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Wed Dec 31, 2008 3:10 am Post

[quote="druid"]Keith,

Relax. In my town, 20 bucks is pizza and a pitcher of beer.
Besides, you just gave us 40 worth of soul-wrenching agony.
I look forward to the upgrade and will happily pay the entrance fee.

Droo[/quote]
Where do you live? I want to move there. I can't get the pizza let alone the beer for $20 here!

KB, Do us all a favor and make sure you take some time for yourself, the other half, and the kiddies. 2.0 will be great, but there is nothing that is worth messing up your health and family for. Maybe we can get Droo to send you the beer from the pizza. Just make sure to do me a favor and remember that code doesn't make the world spin, it is the love of and for our family and friends that keeps our world spinning.

Unless of course you count vic-k as a friend. Then is it mostly gas that makes the world seem like it is spinning (that is the onset of asphyxiation).

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AmberV
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Wed Dec 31, 2008 3:12 am Post

gr wrote:Did I step through a portal somewhere?


I do believe socialist sentiments were expressed! ;)
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

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Wed Dec 31, 2008 3:43 am Post

Go for it Keith,

I've always thought Scrivener 1.x was worth more than you were charging, and I'm happy to pay for the upgrade (though, from what you say, I might not want to switch in mid stream on my current project... but hell, now you've given me an incentive for yet another!)

All the best,

Tim