Kickstarter to accelerate Windows version development?

Am
Amcmo
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Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:52 am Post

I’m a little surprised anyone would give up on Scrivener just because of the development time for Win V3.

The current version is more than useable. V3 when released will be the bonus.

While I think Mac V3 is amazing, I do play around with the Win version from time to time just to keep current on it.

At the risk of offending. Get a Mac :lol:

IBM, GE, Walmart all going Mac due to lower lifetime and support costs. 8) (oh and higher resale value)

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KB
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Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:29 pm Post

That baffles me a little as well! The Windows version may be behind the Mac version, but it is still - in my very humble opinion! - a fantastic app, and it contains all of the core features that I built Scrivener for in the first place (along with a helluva lot more). Those core features were:

1. The ability to break a long text into smaller chunks of any size and to work on the text either at the small-chunk level or at larger levels, or as a whole manuscript (scrivenings).

2. The ability to assign synopses to sections and to view those synopses on an outliner or corkboard, so that I could step back and get an overview of the whole or drill down and see what I intended to write about. Previously I was switching between Word, Excel and index cards, and I wanted a system that integrated those things.

3. The ability to view different sections alongside one another and to bring in research documents such as images and PDF files and view those next to my writing, too.

4. The ability to compile the final text into a single document in different formats, and to override the formatting at that stage.

The Windows version does all of this and oodles more. There are web apps that do a lot less and charge a lot more.

That said, of course we're doing our best to catch up the Windows version, but the Mac version has a five-year head start and has been continually developed while the Windows version is catching up. I'm excited that they will finally be the same next year, aside from minor platform differences that will always inevitably exist (and yes, someone has already complained about that in advance!), but just because the Windows version is behind our Mac version does not mean that it is not a fantastic app for writers in its own right that offers features tailored for crafting long texts that you won't find anywhere else. But, hey, I'm biased. :)
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Amcmo
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Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:35 pm Post

There you have it... Every reason to buy and use the current version, and get your masterpiece finished in the fastest most productive way possible.

While Keith admits to bias, he is 100% correct. I looked at every alternative there is, and found too many to be overpriced, mere shadows of Scrivener’s features - Mac or Win.

During the iOS development there were similar ‘I’m not waiting, I’ll use something else’ statements; statements that made no difference to the development timeline.

Seriously, try the current Win version if you are committed to Windows. As Keith said, it does everything a writer needs. V3 when it arrives will be the icing, and yes, will make some tasks even better, meanwhile, use the best in current class.

As someone who tried writing in Word, the frustration level involved made Scrivener, in earlier versions a gift from the gods.

P.s. I am not associated with L&L in any way, just a totally happy camper in WIn, Mac, and iOS versions.

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Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:02 am Post

I think it has less to do with it being the best-in-class, and more to do with the fact that the Windows version has been behind the OS X version the entire time both versions have co-existed together and the launch of 3.0 should have really been the point where the products became as close to the same as possible, including launching together. As I mentioned elsewhere, the development schism between iOS and Android versions of apps has long been a point of frustration for Android users, as they often get versions of apps 6 to 12 months later than the iOS launch, leaving them behind for a considerable period of time. The same has happened for many OS X apps that have braved the task of making a Windows version to begin with - there have also been cases in both ecosystems where the reverse is true! Any delay is going to lead to disappointment, regardless of the platform being left behind for a bit.

While the plan is to make Scrivener 3.0 equal across platforms next year, the fact is that one platform has to wait for an indeterminate amount of time and have only a beta to look forward to. I think that's a good way to show that you don't want Windows users feeling totally left out, but beta software is often buggy, incomplete, and without a super clear public roadmap for when things are going to shape up. A lot of users don't want that, you know? Which is why some users question why certain steps weren't taken to ensure speedier development - even if those steps don't exactly work out like they think they should in reality.

I've got some money set aside for 3.0. Scrivener has been irreplaceable for the sheer amount of writing I do. I recommend it to almost everyone who asks what I use, and like hearing how people work before they buy it so I can recommend features that could be of use to them. But... I'm still a little disappointed that there is a delay at all, even if I fully understand where Keith is coming from as he explains to others why it happened this way.

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Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:18 am Post

Well, I suppose the alternative is for us to artificially hold back the Mac 3.0 release for a year so that we can have a simultaneous release.

We would *love* to be able to click our fingers and make the Windows version suddenly catch up. Unfortunately, however, we have to use the old-fashioned method of having developers slog away at it. :)

I guess what I really need to do is just take a sabbatical, stop developing the Mac version for a year, finally write my book and give be the Windows developers a better chance to catch up.

I’m sorry we seem to manage to disappoint so many people despite all our hard work... It’s just as frustrating for us to see all the complaints, honestly, but we’re really not slacking. We’re not a big company and there is no magic bullet.
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Tue Oct 31, 2017 1:35 am Post

ListeningGarden wrote:I think it has less to do with it being the best-in-class, and more to do with the fact that the Windows version has been behind the OS X version the entire time both versions have co-existed together and the launch of 3.0 should have really been the point where the products became as close to the same as possible, including launching together. As I mentioned elsewhere, the development schism between iOS and Android versions of apps has long been a point of frustration for Android users, as they often get versions of apps 6 to 12 months later than the iOS launch, leaving them behind for a considerable period of time. The same has happened for many OS X apps that have braved the task of making a Windows version to begin with - there have also been cases in both ecosystems where the reverse is true! Any delay is going to lead to disappointment, regardless of the platform being left behind for a bit.

While the plan is to make Scrivener 3.0 equal across platforms next year, the fact is that one platform has to wait for an indeterminate amount of time and have only a beta to look forward to. I think that's a good way to show that you don't want Windows users feeling totally left out, but beta software is often buggy, incomplete, and without a super clear public roadmap for when things are going to shape up. A lot of users don't want that, you know? Which is why some users question why certain steps weren't taken to ensure speedier development - even if those steps don't exactly work out like they think they should in reality.

I've got some money set aside for 3.0. Scrivener has been irreplaceable for the sheer amount of writing I do. I recommend it to almost everyone who asks what I use, and like hearing how people work before they buy it so I can recommend features that could be of use to them. But... I'm still a little disappointed that there is a delay at all, even if I fully understand where Keith is coming from as he explains to others why it happened this way.

Thank you for this post. But I'm curious. Could you please explicitly name the Mac features that are missing in Windows, and whose lack in some significant way impacts your writing?

ETA: By the way, my question is in regards to the current Scrivener versions, not v3. I'm curious to know what it is that's missing from the current Win version that makes your writing more difficult.

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Tue Oct 31, 2017 3:10 am Post

JimRac wrote:Could you please explicitly name the Mac features that are missing in Windows, and whose lack in some significant way impacts your writing?


Not the OP, but two that stick out for me are free-form corkboard and customizing outliner columns. Both of them make it a bit harder to outline and follow the flow of the project as it grows. However, I'm also NOT complaining -- I bought a Mac mini just so I could have both versions and I still end up using the Windows version from time to time. I just wanted to point out that while saying "buy the version that you can download today, not the future version" is all well and good for setting expectations, there ARE quantifiable differences between the two versions and one man's good enough is another woman's not quite there yet.
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Tue Oct 31, 2017 3:55 pm Post

Thanks for answering, Devin.

I asked the question about specific features because I sometimes get the impression that the folks who complain about differences between versions aren't even clear what the differences are. So at the heart of it, the complaint isn't about productivity, it's about their perception of being second-class citizens. Or some other emotional intangible.

If Win Scriv was buggy or missed out on some major features, I could get on board with that. But it's a solid full-featured writing platform, and from what I could find--I haven't looked in a year or so--there is nothing else close to it on Windows.

I suspect some of those people will continue to be disappointed, as there are likely to be differences in the underlying frameworks that result in continued differences in Mac vs. Win Scrivener v3. We'll see.


I'll answer my own question: There are two key Mac features that I miss in Windows.

As with you, one is Outliner column customization, specifically sorting. If I could sort Outliner columns, I would no longer need to build timelines in Excel. I am confident this feature will come to Windows in v3.

The other is Scrivenings. Windows Scrivenings mode is unusable for me, because it doesn't act like one long document, it acts like what it is: separate documents cobbled together.

When one is working within a single Scrivener document, the page up/down keys move the text up or down one page, same as every other piece of Windows software that I use. In Scrivenings mode, instead of moving up or down one page, page up/down jump the text to the top or bottom of the current Scrivening document. And there doesn't seem to be an alternative: I have found no key combination in Win Scrivenings to simply move up or down a page at a time. To accomplish this, one is forced to use the pointing device to move the text via the elevator bar. But when I'm drafting or editing, I'm writing, head down, hands on keyboard. I rarely touch the pointing device.

I can see the value of Scrivenings mode, and tried to change how I work, but it was interrupting my flow too much to continually have to remember to mouse up or down. If page up/down worked normally, I would probably work in Scrivenings mode most of the time I was drafting or editing. As it stands now, I *never* use it.

So no Scrivenings for me in 1.9.7. My understanding is that Scrivenings works the way it does in Windows because QT doesn't provide some features that the Mac framework has. So while I remain hopeful that Scrivener's signature mode will be improved in Win v3, I realize that it may be a technical bridge too far for the Windows team. :)

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Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:32 pm Post

JimRac: On those two features, I can say that they are definitely both coming with Scrivener 3 for Windows. I am not sure on their status for the initial beta, though.

I know the Windows team had hell getting outliner sorting working, because apparently it's not like with the Mac frameworks, where I just sort the data set, but more complicated somehow using Qt. So right now I'm not sure if the bugs have been ironed out enough for it to appear in the initial beta or whether it will be introduced in a later beta.

True Scrivenings mode is a necessity for getting Page View working - Scrivenings needs to happen at the model layer rather than the view layer so that the composite text model can be placed in any type of view (a page view, which consists of multiple text boxes or a single view). This is another feature that has caused the Windows team a lot of grief with Qt. I believe they have it all working, but the last time I checked, there were still bugs, so I'm not sure if they will also hold that back for a later beta once the bigger bugs are fixed.

Funnily enough, I don't *think* any other apps offer anything like a true Scrivenings mode (StoryMill on macOS maybe?). All other apps I've seen that have added something like Scrivenings mode in the past few years do it the same way our Windows team had to do it - multiple text boxes. (Perhaps not surprising: getting the Scrivenings model layer working on macOS probably took two months of work in itself - fortunately back then I didn't have anyone waiting on me for the feature.)

So, these are definitely coming but you might have to be patient beyond the first beta.

All the best,
Keith
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Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:41 pm Post

Keith, thank you for the update.

As I mentioned, if Windows had a true Scrivenings mode, I would probably spend the majority of my time working in it. And my "#3 missing Mac feature" is Quick Reference panels. So the fact that all 3 of these will be addressed at some point in v3 is big happy news for me. 8)

Thank you,
Jim

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Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:47 am Post

Keith, I wouldn’t waste time on feeling you have disappointed ‘so many people’.

Truth is a smallish number do seem to be vocally not understanding the realities of a small company developing a complex solution.

Like everyone I would have loved an iOS version 2 years earlier, yet did understand your predicament, just as I (and I believe the vast majority) understand the reality of your team developing Win V3.

MS have not developed a Scrivener equiv, a because the potential market is too small for their development structure, and b, because they are not ‘writers’ developing a specialised product that focusses what a specific market needs to (almost) perfection. The Scrivener type solution can only be perfected by that tightly focussed small team IMHO

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Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:09 pm Post

KB wrote:I know the Windows team had hell getting outliner sorting working, because apparently it's not like with the Mac frameworks, where I just sort the data set, but more complicated somehow using Qt.
Windows has a very powerful ListView control of its own, which I found quite easy to populate from the ScrivX binder file via AutoHotKey. You can see the control in any number of Windows utilities; it powers the column sorts and multi-selects in File Explorer and the collapsible levels in Task Manager. It's built in, available for anyone programming for Windows.

Like JimRac, I needed to sort the Binder entries by date. Not for a narrative timeline, but for a view of the docs I'd been working on most recently. Without that capability, I would not have stuck with Scrivener.

I'm pretty sure the decision to prefer Qt controls stemmed from the desire to make a cross-platform Scrivener and the ease of working out of a single box, rather than from any shortcoming in the corresponding Windows tools.

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Wed Nov 01, 2017 6:34 pm Post

There was never any need to use Qt for cross-platform support, given that the Mac version already existed (although it will perhaps make an Android version easier one day). My understanding is that Lee chose Qt because it offered the most flexibility. I have seen other developers lament the state of Windows tools because there have been so many APIs that have been introduced and then half-abandoned or replaced. I'm no expert on that, though, being the Mac dev - Lee would be better placed to comment on that. I thought Qt called through to native tools anyway, but may well be wrong on that...
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Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:12 am Post

Obviously way too late now, but if not for cross-platform reasons, why wasn't .NET used? It could have made feature parity with the Cocoa version easier. It's certainly nicer to program in if you're just focusing on Windows.

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Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:32 pm Post

I actually did have this discussion with Lee, seven years ago to the week. Cross-platform was indeed a consideration, not the primary one.

Re: 9th NOV - LEE'S UPDATE

His vision was vindicated, too; Qt was a superb choice. So glad Scriv is not locked in to MS's development ecosystem.