Apple iPad & Scrivener

Ke
Kendric
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Wed Jan 27, 2010 6:33 pm Post

Well, Apple is releasing their iPad. The event isn't over yet, but it looks like one great big honkin' iPhone. In fact, it runs every iPhone app right out of the box. It's the perfect portability platform!

As far as I can tell, this leaves out all the long-established OS X applications. Ugh.

So? Scrivener for iPad & iPhone? I know you've said no iPhone Scrivener would be developed in the past, but in light of the new product...

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KB
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Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:02 pm Post

Ha, ha, ha, ha ha ha ha, ha ha ha etc.

That would be a no. :D

I am watching the live feeds and weeping - mainly at the idea of how many requests for an iPad version I know I will receive. It is indeed just a large iPhone, and although they have ported iWork, I don't have the resources to port Scrivener. The iPhone OS, though Cocoa-based, is very different.

Besides, it may be bigger, but you still wouldn't want to type long texts on it - if you do, don't complain about your chiropractor bills!

Ke
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Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:23 pm Post

Did you see what its dock looks like?

Image


Well, without Scrivener, this is pretty much useless for me. The price is a little crazy too. Ah, well.

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KB
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Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:38 pm Post

I just saw it, yeah, and it looks nice. And frankly, it pretty much screws us. Everyone is now going to want Scrivener for the iPad and we don't have the resources to develop it right now. I have spent two years on making 2.0 an amazing OS X program... But I guess Apple care less and less about OS X. Oh well.

rw
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Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:47 pm Post

Yeah, sorry, that would be what I would want. :cry: I get ideas all the time as a writer; integrating my books, computer, Scrivener, etc. would be ideal.

I still think that Scrivener light - just the writing/outline/notes functions - would make a heck of a great portable product. What's wrong with keeping manuscript production, and most other fancy features, on your main computer?

And that would bring in at least some kind of a revenue stream, and IF people want more on the iPad, then you have the means to provide it.

Scrivener Light, focusing on writing and note-taking features - anyone think that would be a good compromise?

Ke
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Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:18 pm Post

KB wrote:I am watching the live feeds and weeping - mainly at the idea of how many requests for an iPad version I know I will receive.

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=7368&start=0

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=7370&start=0

I see what you mean. Maybe make one of the topics sticky...

The iPad runs iPhone software. If it ran OS X, it would be a no-brainer. I've spent two years coding Scrivener 2.0 to be a kick-ass Mac app, and coding it for the iPad would be a total rewrite, and would mean pretty much abandoning Scrivener for the Mac.


Someone will figure out how to hack OS X onto it. And then... well, you won't need to rewrite, will you?

:)

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Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:35 pm Post

If it's any consolation, Keith, I for one don't like touch-screen devices, and I'm sure I can't be alone. I fear that things like cheesy wotsits might make my fingers greasy, so the screen will go all yucky and blurry. This undesirable optical effect is why I have just abandoned a rather smudgy wine glass and asked my long-suffering husband to bring me a new one (with more wine in it, of course...)

Even if loads of people do like touch-screens or new gimmicks, though, you shouldn't lose heart. My husband mentioned a couple of days ago that he has seen blog reports from people who have seen 10.7 appearing on server logs, which seems to indicate that OS X is far from dead and that a new cat form is on the cards. Scrivener 2.0 will still be the best thing going. It's not as if there is a comparable, rival product for the iPad, is it?

On a side issue, could someone please explain to me (in short words) how iPhone/iPad development differs from OS X? I have lost track of the number of developers who have wandered off to develop iPhone versions of apps I have bought from them; as soon as an iPhone version is in the works, they abandon development and bug fixes on what must surely be their core product, even before their planned feature set is complete, and bang goes the money I have just given them. It is very annoying. (Needless to say, I haven't got an iPhone, nor can I afford one.)
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KB
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Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:50 pm Post

On a side issue, could someone please explain to me (in short words) how iPhone/iPad development differs from OS X? I have lost track of the number of developers who have wandered off to develop iPhone versions of apps I have bought from them; as soon as an iPhone version is in the works, they abandon development and bug fixes on what must surely be their core product, even before their planned feature set is complete, and bang goes the money I have just given them. It is very annoying. (Needless to say, I haven't got an iPhone, nor can I afford one.)


I can do this, at least!

Both the iPhone and the Mac use what are known as the "Cocoa frameworks". (Named Cocoa apparently as a sort of jokey reference to Java.) The Cocoa frameworks are essentially built from two core components:
1) The Objective-C language.
2) The Application Kit, or AppKit.

The Objective-C language is just a programming language, like C or C++. It is based on C. C++ is also based on C, but C++ and Objective-C are very different.

The AppKit is a collection of classes (different chunks of code) written in Objective-C (mostly) that developers can use as a basis for their applications. So for instance, when I code Scrivener, I don't have to write absolutely everything myself. The text system, for instance, is a bunch of classes in the AppKit that I have just extended and added to. The binder is built on the AppKit's outliner view. (Other things I do have to build myself - the corkboard view, the underlying glue-it-all-together code and so on.)

Both the iPhone OS and Mac OS X development use Objective-C (although it is possible to use other languages, Objective-C is what everything is based around). However, the AppKit is different on both platforms. This is because interface objects built for OS X won't fit on the iPhone screen, mainly, so everything is different there. The text system is completely different, for instance; there is no outline view in the iPhone AppKit, either.

So although both platforms use the same programming language, and although the iPhone OS is designed to resemble OS X, they are quite different. It's not a matter of just recompiling your code - you have to completely rethink and rewrite most of your code to scale it down to the iPhone platform and use its different libraries and frameworks.

I hope that makes sense and isn't too much programmer geek-speak!

All the best,
Keith

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Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:54 pm Post

rwodaski wrote:Scrivener Light, focusing on writing and note-taking features - anyone think that would be a good compromise?


Nope, sorry, not if it would take Keith away from making Scrivener the best it can be. And judging from all the suggestions that flow into this forum and the ideas Keith himself has, I'd say Scrivener, though wonderful, still has scope for lots of development.

H

P.S. I read somewhere that Apple might expect to sell two million iPads in the next twelve months. Presumably Apple will continue to sell three or four times that number of lap- and desk-tops over the same period. So unless L&L magically grew, it would be a wrong use of resources from Keith's point-of-view as well.

P.P.S. Like Siren I too have become frustrated when developers have wandered off-piste to try their hand at an iPhone app, leaving their core product stagnating.
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
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Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:29 pm Post

KB wrote:I hope that makes sense and isn't too much programmer geek-speak!

Thank you. That makes perfect sense, and is very helpful.
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PJ
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Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:51 pm Post

Siren wrote:If it's any consolation, Keith, I for one don't like touch-screen devices, and I'm sure I can't be alone.


You aren't. There may even be three of us.

Phil
You can't conquer stupid — or cure it — with more stupid.

rw
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Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:18 pm Post

Siren wrote:I have lost track of the number of developers who have wandered off to develop iPhone versions of apps I have bought from them; as soon as an iPhone version is in the works, they abandon development and bug fixes on what must surely be their core product, even before their planned feature set is complete, and bang goes the money I have just given them. It is very annoying. (Needless to say, I haven't got an iPhone, nor can I afford one.)


Without an iPhone, yeah it would be hard to understand the excitement. 8)

The negative comments I see here: are they all from folks who won't be going in the direction of iPhone/iPad? Because it seems to me, if you ARE using those platforms in your daily life, your opinion would be exactly the opposite. Mine sure is.

I don't know if poll numbers here in support mirror what you'd get if you could talk directly to users; I have no idea how well-represented users are here. But as much as I love Scrivener - and I really, really, love it - I will have some very hard decisions to make, and they will - they have to be - based on what devices I decide to carry around with me. Not the other way around. So I may have to use one product when I'm not at my traditional computer, and scrivener at my traditional computer, or whatever.

I think it's a mistake to assume that things will end up a certain way. They will end up how they end up. New information, new ideas, new products, new trends - they come along whether any individual wants them or not. Just for the record, I personally feel really, really strongly that something for the iPad would be extremely valuable. (It's hard to place much stock in anyone NOT using an iPhone or iPad having useful input into how valuable that would be - that's just logic. If you don't know, you don't know!) What should rule are the simple numbers. If people are turning to the iPad, and it's economically viable to develop for it, then I hope that happens. If not, well, I'll live. <g> You don't always get what you want. Imagine a world in which that kind of stuff starts to dominate, and Scrivener can't be ported due to lack of resources -- that hurts not just the users, but Scrivener, too. All of that, I presume, will eventually play into decisions that get made. I just wish that there were more excitement about the new platform, but I can certainly understand that business is business.

I am in the process of signing up for iPhone development. I will be curious to see what that looks like myself. The Foundation I run provides internet access to telescopes to kids, and I'm thinking that it would be very valuable to provide an iPhone/iPad interface for that.

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KB
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Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:29 pm Post

The only things that play into the decisions that get made are what we can do and what we enjoy doing. I know we're a business so have to think about some things commercially, but I also produced Scrivener because it was something I wanted, and my interest still lies in Scrivener for the Mac. We're not a big business making decisions based on how we think the market is going or how we think we could best make a profit; we don't do focus groups and I'm not really interested in "meeting demand". It's the same as writing a novel - some might write a novel they think will fit the market right now, others do it for artistic purposes, because it's the novel they want to write. Scrivener for the Mac is the program I want to write. It really just comes down to that. If I was a millionaire because of it, obviously I'd be paying someone to write an iPad version. But just because I'm not a millionaire because of it doesn't mean I'm going to drop it and move to the iPad.

If users decide to drop Scrivener because we can't produce an iPad version at the moment, then sadly we'll just have to live with it. It would be a mistake for us to ditch our core users to work on something else completely (even if it turned out there were more users who wanted something different).

I hope that makes sense. And just to reiterate, it's not that I don't find the iPad interesting, but we have to be realistic about what is possible right now and leave other possibilities open for the future.

Best,
Keith

Ke
Kendric
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Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:44 pm Post

KB wrote:If users decide to drop Scrivener because we can't produce an iPad version at the moment...


The reverse is more likely for me. It's a pretty toy, but if Scrivener and other actual workhorse programs aren't available on it then it remains little more than a pretty toy.

What a shame they built it on the iPhone OS and not OS X.

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KB
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Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:40 pm Post

What a shame they built it on the iPhone OS and not OS X.


I know. I guess they have the whole app store thing set up for the iPhone so could have all the apps immediately available, but if it had been a modified version of OS X a lot of regular Mac developers could jump at the chance of making modified versions of current programs. Moreover, it concerns me that it could be a commitment to the iPhone OS over Mac OS X...