Free Creative Writing programs

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ExperimentalArmy
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Sun Nov 02, 2008 6:28 pm Post

I have used Scrivener, and StoryMill for some time now (along with Write Room) but, are there other Database/Writing programs that are like their paid counterparts for free that run on OSX? I am really interested and would like to take them for a spin.
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KB
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Sun Nov 02, 2008 7:20 pm Post

All the writing programs I know of that do this sort of thing are on my links page. Basically, you aren't going to find something that does what Scrivener, StoryMill etc do for free. :) (I doubt many developers want to spend four years working on something like Scrivener and not get paid for it...) There are some nice free text editors/stripped-down word processors out there, though, such as Bean, which are well worth trying out. If anyone knows of any that I've missed on my links page, I'd be interested too though so that I can update it.

Best,
Keith

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Sun Nov 02, 2008 9:10 pm Post

Scrivener – Nisus – Bookends – Devonthink – Lightroom ••• MacMini 2018 / MacBook Pro 2014 (10.14.6) – iPhone 7

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KB
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Sun Nov 02, 2008 9:13 pm Post

? Timotheus - only Z-write is free out of those (and I think Writers' Café is free until it gets a proper Mac update) - Dramatica and Storyist are more expensive than Scriv, and the op was asking for free creative writing software. :D
All the best,
Keith

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Sun Nov 02, 2008 9:34 pm Post

Yes, I know; but my answer was not to ExperimentalArmy but to you. You asked to be informed about other writing programs which are not on your links page, so I sent you some new links!

Perhaps I should have sent them to you personally, but others might be interested as well.
Scrivener – Nisus – Bookends – Devonthink – Lightroom ••• MacMini 2018 / MacBook Pro 2014 (10.14.6) – iPhone 7

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Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:17 pm Post

Celtx is free (and excellent) although it is designed for screen/theatre play writing.

http://www.celtx.com/
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KB
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Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:38 pm Post

Ah, sorry Timotheus, I didn't realise! (Storyist is already on the links page, but the others aren't, true.
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Keith

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ExperimentalArmy
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Mon Nov 03, 2008 12:14 am Post

I think writers cafe looks pretty neat, its the only one I have seen so far that been compiled for almost every big OS. :)
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KB
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Mon Nov 03, 2008 9:21 am Post

I think writers cafe looks pretty neat, its the only one I have seen so far that been compiled for almost every big OS.


That's because it's not native to any OS. :) (I like Writers Café incidentally, especially the StoryLines component, so I'm not having a go at it!) A lot of programs by small companies that are available for all OSes use RealBASIC or something similar. Programs using such a framework have none-native interfaces -the interfaces tend to look a little outdated because they depend on the providers of the frameworks created controls that emulate the ones in the newest updates for each OS. (CeltX is another example of a program that uses RealBASIC or something similar.) The result is that you get some pretty good cross-platform programs, but they don't feel particularly "native" to any OS and stick out a little like a sore thumb - but it is pretty much the only way indie deveopers can develop cross-platform. When setting out on creating an application, the choice is pretty much this: use a framework such as RealBASIC, in which case your app can be compiled for all the major operating systems but sacrificing a pretty interface that feels at home on any OS; or, use the language and interface tools native to a particular OS, in which case the app will feel at home but will work only on one OS. Only the bigger companies, with whole teams and lots of money behind them, can get the best of both worlds - having one team working on the underlying code (usually in C) and then different teams working on the interfaces for each platform... So when it comes to the smaller tools, it depends on how important the native look and feel is to you - a lot of Mac users tend to be quite fussy about this. (And the ones that are written natively for the Mac are mostly not free.) I'm not bashing these other apps here, by the way - just explaining why these tools are available on all platforms whilst Scrivener, StoryMill et all are not, and the pros and cons of each.

All the best,
Keith

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Mon Nov 03, 2008 11:55 am Post

Looks like Cocotron may spearhead the way for compiling cocoa apps to windows. It was reported on TUAW (http://www.tuaw.com/2008/10/28/cocoatro ... o-windows/) and there is a neat account of Cocotron in use here from the TUAW report: http://macdaddyworld.com/2008/10/27/adv ... -cocotron/.

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MarcustheBlacksmith
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Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:45 am Post

Mac developers have more options than most when it comes to cross-platform development.

For example, Java is the most popular cross-platform language, with a lot of support. It's got a cross-platform GUI framework - Swing - which has got a lot better in recent years, especially in terms of emulating the native behaviour of buttons, menus, gestures, and so on.

However, on the Mac, we get one better. Because of the excellent Java-Cocoa bridge provided with the Apple Developer tools, you can write your application logic in Java and build the GUI in Interface Builder, hooking your Java controller classes up to the controls just as you would with a regular Obj-C/Cocoa back end.

So you can write a very native feeling Mac app (MoneyDance and EverNote are two Cocoa-Java Bridge java apps I can think of off the cuff) in Java, then the only work required to port it to Windows/Linux is to build a Swing version of the GUI for those operating systems (Swing without much theming - of which there's plenty of ability to do so if you need to - feels very native on Windows, and relatively so on Linux).
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KB
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Tue Nov 04, 2008 11:14 am Post

Cocoa support for Java has been waning over the past few years, though... I'm not sure whether it will be supported at all in the future.

Cocotron does look interesting, but unfortunately, as with all such options, it is unlikely ever to be able to handle porting something like Scrivener, which just relies on way too many Apple libraries and methods that will take years for Cocotron to catch up with - by which time, Scrivener will most likely be relying on newer ones!

All the best,
Keith

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Tue Nov 04, 2008 2:55 pm Post

KB wrote:Cocoa support for Java has been waning over the past few years, though... I'm not sure whether it will be supported at all in the future.

Cocotron does look interesting, but unfortunately, as with all such options, it is unlikely ever to be able to handle porting something like Scrivener, which just relies on way too many Apple libraries and methods that will take years for Cocotron to catch up with - by which time, Scrivener will most likely be relying on newer ones!

All the best,
Keith


Well, it looks like the File Magnet guys even had some trouble with it but it is interesting as a concept. I'm sure there will be much better options for cross-platform programs (like virtualization) in the future.

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Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:33 am Post

MarcustheBlacksmith wrote:Mac developers have more options than most when it comes to cross-platform development.

For example, Java is the most popular cross-platform language, with a lot of support. It's got a cross-platform GUI framework - Swing - which has got a lot better in recent years, especially in terms of emulating the native behaviour of buttons, menus, gestures, and so on.

However, on the Mac, we get one better. Because of the excellent Java-Cocoa bridge provided with the Apple Developer tools, you can write your application logic in Java and build the GUI in Interface Builder, hooking your Java controller classes up to the controls just as you would with a regular Obj-C/Cocoa back end.

So you can write a very native feeling Mac app (MoneyDance and EverNote are two Cocoa-Java Bridge java apps I can think of off the cuff) in Java, then the only work required to port it to Windows/Linux is to build a Swing version of the GUI for those operating systems (Swing without much theming - of which there's plenty of ability to do so if you need to - feels very native on Windows, and relatively so on Linux).


Couple of things:

The 'excellent' Java-Cocoa bridge has been dead for at least two years now. I would not recommend that anyone try to use it.

MoneyDance is not written using the Java-Cocoa bridge; it is a pure Swing application.

I'm not sure what Evernote is built in, but judging by the quality, speed and stability of the UI, then I would say that they have built two native front ends for it. Definitely not Java Cocoa-Bridge though.
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