A developer's impressions on Scrivener

po
potoole77
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 3:26 am
Platform: Windows

Sun Jul 03, 2011 7:49 pm Post

Having tried almost every screenplay writing software product available, I thought I'd give my thoughts on Scrivener for Windows. So far, I like it. It took me a little time to adjust my thinking and to see how SfW would work for me. But I'm beginning to see that it has enough flexability to allow me to write without providing an enormous amount of feature that I'll never use. (like mind mapping software) I'm a little bummed it's not up to the Mac version yet, but I'm hopful it will be one day.

It took me a little time to find some features and a few commands, the software shows it's Mac roots in that respect, but gladly the feature were there.

The product has some bugs, but it's BETA so I can live with that. What I like is that the bug forum is active and updates are regular. That's important to me. I'm a professional software develper. I know software has bugs. I spend all day finding them and releasing hotfixes for them. Our customers don't like it when bugs go un-addressed for long period and neither do I. Yet other screenplay software companies seem to think that fixing bugs is unimportant.

<Soapbox on>
I own a copy of Movie Magic Screenwriter 6.0. I owned version 4 before that. I waited years to get v6 and was hoping it would fix a lot of the issue with V4. It didn't. MMS is fine, but the Windows version crashes regularly and has numerous bugs that are very annoying. I want to use software, not work around it. I have submitted numerous bug reports to MMS and none have been fixed. Their last Windows version was built 2/1/2008. That's over three years ago and not a single bug has been fixed! My company has released three major versions and half a dozen minor versions since then and out product has close to 20 major components and is vastly more complicated. Unfixed bugs and long release cycles are unacceptable to me and it's one of the reasons i'm looking for new software.

I tried Final Draft. That was okay too. I had a demo copy and I found bugs with that too. Their last update was Oct 2009. Better, but still way too long. In a world of agile development with quick development cycles, the days of releasing updates every two or three years is over. If a company can't release updates at least every 6-9 months, that tells me their development process is out of date and that concerns me.
<Soapbox off>

I've tried Celtx, Adobe Story, among other. Most do basic scipt writing and formatting well. Adobe Story I really like, but it lacks story develpment and outlining features. I use OneNote at work but, IMO, isn't structured enough for story development. I even tried a wiki, which i might use for a epic novel idea I have, but it lack tools certain tools and is geared for lowest common denominator web use not writer productivity.

Scrivener seems to have a nice balance of features for my needs. I haven't been exactly sure of what I wanted, but the other tools don't have it. I'm currently working on a story that has about 4-6 different version of the plot. I haven't figured out a way to organize all that. In Scrivener I'm starting to see ways I might be able to lay it out so I can sort through to a single story.

The meta-data options are nice. I like being able to label sections for easy classification. I love the document/screenplay modes. One of my main annoyances of MMS is that I can just add some text to a script, like notes, with out a hassle.

At this point, I'd recomment Scrivener for people to check out. I'm looking forward to the final release. As others have said, this is software I'd be willing to pay for.

da
daf
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:27 pm
Platform: Mac + Windows

Thu Jul 07, 2011 4:15 pm Post

I'm a developer too. Well, I was anyway, for about 15 years. Now it is a hobby. My impression is this: the release date expectations here have been managed horribly. Last fall, as a writer who had been using Scrivener for (I think) almost two years already, I was excited about the possibly of getting a Windows version in January 2011. As of about a week ago, my organization lost all of its funding for Scrivener due to the delay. Now I'm torn between just upgrading my mac copy, which would probably give me a better experience anyway, and waiting (until 2012? I wouldn't bet against it) for a Windows version so I don't have to lug my macbook to and from work. I don't know why I haven't just upgraded yet.

All that being said, as someone who has spent time writing Windows software, I sympathize with anyone who has to release a windows product to end users.

Li
LinnyP
Posts: 140
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:13 pm
Platform: Windows

Fri Jul 08, 2011 1:51 am Post

daf wrote:My impression is this: the release date expectations here have been managed horribly.


Release dates often slip, but we're kept up to date. I'm sure the Scrivener developers are working around the clock and sweating it to get the best software out there for us.

daf wrote:As of about a week ago, my organization lost all of its funding for Scrivener due to the delay.


How terrible! But don't worry Scrivener people, my funding for my one license is still there. And when hubby buys a Mac, I'll beg for more funding to buy another license. The money will continue to treacle in...sheesh!

daf wrote:All that being said, as someone who has spent time writing Windows software, I sympathize with anyone who has to release a windows product to end users.


Argh, developers and windows...

ge
geoffh
Posts: 61
Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2010 3:11 am

Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:51 am Post

I'm definitely not a developer, but a life in science has caused me to have very lowered expectations of things turning out as hoped. So it was quite easy to cool my heels and NOT recommend (as yet) Scrivener to all and sundry at my research institute (where Im the "communication guy", and thus one of the people who would do such a thing).
But I do know quite a few scientists who have taken to the beta windows version and love it even in its current state. And of course I do evangelise about Scrivener to all the Mac people who are still not yet in the know.

Li
LinnyP
Posts: 140
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2011 11:13 pm
Platform: Windows

Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:35 pm Post

geoffh wrote:I'm definitely not a developer, but a life in science has caused me to have very lowered expectations of things turning out as hoped.


I love this sentence...I keep coming back just to read it. :D

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garpu
Posts: 2070
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:38 pm
Platform: Linux

Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:51 pm Post

I'm definitely not a developer, but a life in science has caused me to have very lowered expectations of things turning out as hoped.


Oh, you're in computer music, too? :)
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