The L&L Blog  /  Scrivener for iPad and iPhone

A Quick iOS Update

We have a lot of people asking after the iOS version given that I haven't posted much about it on here recently (although I have been giving incremental updates over on the forums). The lack of updates isn't intended as a slight against our very valued users; it's just because we've had our heads buried in code and haven't been coming up much for air.

The good news is that our iOS version is (at last!) feature-complete and is currently in internal beta-testing. We're in the process of smoothing out the rough edges we find through use and fixing bugs before we make it available to our wider beta-testing group. Having taken so long to get to this stage (we know), we don't want to fall at the last hurdle and rush beta-testing. After all, the sync code is complex (it was a three-month job in itself) and we want to ensure it's never going to cause any data-loss in the real world (it is holding up well in testing so far, though). Once it's out with our wider beta-testing group, I'll start posting some screenshots and showing off the features. Given past debacles, I'm hesitant to talk about release dates, but we expect a summer release, though whether mid or late summer will depend on what is thrown up during beta-testing, of course.

To answer some common questions we've had about the iOS version:

  1. Version 1.0 will sync with the desktop version using Dropbox. The sync code has two components, the Dropbox-specific code, and the code that handles merging all the changed files between platforms and dealing with conflicts. This second part of the code has been designed for reuse with other sync clients, so we plan on adding support for sync solutions other than Dropbox post-1.0 (Cubby is one that has been requested several times, for instance).
  2. There is no iCloud syncing in 1.0 because iCloud does not work well with package-based file formats such as Scrivener's. We were hoping that iCloud Drive would provide a solution, and are still looking into it, but the APIs don't seem to provide the flexibility we need on the iOS side. (The reason syncing is more complex with Scrivener than for most apps is because .scriv files are really folders, which is how we can allow you to import any sort of research file and only load files into memory as they are viewed in the app.)
  3. You can also transfer projects simply using iTunes, of course.
  4. When the iOS version is released, there will be simultaneous updates for both Scrivener for Mac and Windows that provide sync features. So don't worry, Windows users, we have no plans of leaving you unable to sync!
  5. Version 1.0 will not have any dedicated screenwriting features, but scriptwriters will be able to sync their scripts using Fountain syntax for paragraphs.
  6. Scrivener for iOS is a full-featured writing environment - the binder, corkboard, outliner, full rich text editing (with comments, internal links and so on), import, export, reference to other documents (including images, PDFs, media files) - all the core features of the desktop version are there in the iOS version, but with a UI designed from the ground up for mobile devices.
  7. Scrivener will require iOS 7.0 or above.

It's been a long journey, but at last the light at the end of that proverbial tunnel is in sight. I can't wait to start showing you screenshots and talking about it properly.

It's not all about the iOS version, however: our heads have been buried deep in code working on serious and extensive (and exciting) updates for our existing platforms, too. But we're not yet ready to talk about those, and we want to get the iOS version out first.

EDIT: We've had a lot of users ask about how to get involved in beta-testing the iOS version (thank you!). In the past, the way we have always selected beta-testers has been to look out for users on the forums and social media pages who know their way around Scrivener, are good at reporting bugs or giving constructive feedback, or who post useful information on using Scrivener for fellow users. We continue to look out for new beta testers that way, and from that, we already have quite a large pool of testers for the Mac and Windows versions to whom we'll be sending out iOS beta invites to begin with. Once we've got a better idea of what the numbers are like, and when the time comes, I'll post more information here on how to apply to become a beta-tester for anyone else interested. Please note that it's not a good idea to apply to beta test if you just want early access, though - the beta-testing stage is where we find the most bugs, so you have to be prepared for crashes and even possible data-loss (obviously we hope to have ironed out data-loss bugs by the beta, but beta-testing is where users find the things we've missed and we cannot guarantee that there won't be hideous bugs lurking - beta-testers are guinea pigs). Beta-testers also have to be prepared to spend time trouble-shooting and providing us with detailed reports on every issue they find. We'll provide more details once we're nearing the end of internal testing.



KB  /  11 MARCH 2015

Thanks all for the support and enthusiasm, much appreciated. I'll update the blog right now with information about beta-testing.

Pedro - you certainly can! If you've ever used "Selection Affects Other Editor" in Scrivener (the arrows beneath the outliner and corkboard), you have some idea of how the iOS version is going to work. I'll explain more soon, but for now just know that you will be able to view different documents alongside one another, as well as being able to navigate using the binder, outliner or corkboard.

David - there are no plans to make Scrivener open-source, as that would pretty much end our business and ability to carry on. :) However, we do have plans for an Android version ourselves. We're unlikely to start proper development on it until 2016, though, because of other commitments.


winday  /  12 MARCH 2015

Oh, I'm so glad to hear this! And I'm probably the one person hear who is NOT volunteering to beta test. I'm a PC girl at heart, and just learning my way around my shiny new iPad. I'd never be able to tell if a problem was Scrivner or just me. I'll wait, funds in hand, for the release version.


KB  /  13 MARCH 2015

Many thanks all for the support!

Bianca - see point (4) in my post - iPad sync will be for Windows too! :)

To those asking about price, we haven't set a final price yet. Setting a price that balances affordability against funding continuing development is always a tricky part. $15-$20 seems to be the going rate for apps of a similar size in terms of features, but don't take that for final, as we are still discussing the best price point!


KB  /  13 MARCH 2015

Ashes - that is on our to-do list, don't worry, it's definitely coming. It might be a few months before it makes it in, but it will be there (the Windows team are working really hard at the moment to try to not only get up to speed with the current Mac version but also with the Mac version that is in the works with many improvements).


theoriginalbudman  /  18 MARCH 2015

Glad to hear that you're proceeding cautiously, making every effort to stamp out those bugs! I know that end users can create a lot of pressure on developers, but take the time to get this one right.

I went through five (or was it six?) rounds of beta testing for the Ulysses iPad app. It was a grueling process for everyone but the developers hung in there until they got it right.

Do the same. We're cheering for you and can't wait for the final!


KB  /  18 MARCH 2015

John - footnotes in Scrivener are just special kinds of comments, so yes, it will be able to handle them (and it will be able to export to RTF with footnotes intact, although for more formats and fuller compilation support you'll most likely still want to use the desktop version).

Thanks for the kind words and support everyone, it's much appreciated! I'm just waiting on my external keyboard to be delivered so that I can get cracking writing the tutorial for the iOS version...


KB  /  19 MARCH 2015

Luther - it will work on the iPhone too; both versions have been developed in tandem (it will be a universal app). Once testing is out of the way, I'll most likely be using the iPhone more myself, as I don't use an iPad much for writing but am always taking notes on my iPhone. Both have much the same features except that you can only view one column at a time on the iPhone, whereas in the iPad version you can view different documents alongside one another and have the binder, outliner or corkboard in one column navigating the documents in another column (like the desktop version).


James  /  30 MARCH 2015

It's good to hear that you're making progress and (having been one of those effected by the problems Ulysses for the iPad had with iCloud during its debut week) reassured by your decision to stay away from iCloud for syncing. I tend to work on smaller projects during the academic year, but very much want to settle back into Scrivener this summer to finish up some larger projects (I think of Scrivener as a sort of summer writing cottage — but without the mice and the mosquitos).


IzG2  /  07 APRIL 2015

I am psyched. I love this product. If you need or want beta testers please put me on the list. I develop software and databases for a living and would love to support such a great piece of software.
Please add me to the "will BUY NOW" crowd the moment it becomes available.

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