What about the iPhone?

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Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:27 am Post

Hello everyone,

First of all I want to say that I am tremendously excited with the prospect of a Scrivener version on the iPhone. Scrivener is simply an outstanding software for writers on the Mac, and even though there are workarounds and solutions I have always secretly wished I could do some quick edits and brainstorming on my iPhone while on the go natively on Scrivener.

I agree with Keith's wish list and the idea of a fullscreen binder as the main view, that would be perfect to look at glance at a whole project and organize stuff. The rich editor engine is also a major requirement for sure. However, something that Keith didn't mention and that I would definitely need would be the option to go inside each document/text file in the binder and being able to edit it, and not just the notes. This would be the very reason why Scrivener on the iPhone would be so productive for me, as clearly the iPhone is not a writing/production device, but it's an outstanding piece of equipment to collect ideas and brainstorm. It happens often for me to get an idea to change a specific sentence I wrote a few days before, or to add a certain thought in a specific position of the text, without being close to my laptop. This would require me having access to each text document inside the binder in order to edit it as ideas came to mind. Certainly I wouldn't be writing a whole novel while on the iPhone, but it could become very productive to make small edits, changes or simply reading for the purposes of reviewing while on the iPhone. Actually I can see myself checking up and reading bits of text from different documents within the project in the iPhone just to organize ideas in my head or to develop further concepts. Would be really great.
Will this be possible to do on the iPhone version of Scrivener?

Also, seeing/opening the image documents in the Research folder would be a nice detail, but clearly my main wish is text editing capabilities of the full text documents within the binder.

I hope my wish made some sense to you and please keep up the great work. You guys make any writer's life easier!


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Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:06 pm Post

I'd like the following things:

Binder view showing:- Title
- Icons (ie folder vs text vs picture)
- Icons to show Label colours
- Indication of heirarchy

Eg, this bit of the normal window:
Binder.jpg (18.3 KiB) Viewed 1293 times

I would personally use this view (the Binder) to use to move files around. It would also need a "new file" button.

"Corkboard" view:
The corkboard view can be a single card for me for the iphone, eg:
corkboard.jpg (14.51 KiB) Viewed 1293 times

I don't need a 'full' corkboard on the iPhone, just the index card. (I'd use the binder to move files around). You could then navigate around the cards by sweeping left or right to go to the previous or next card, and up or down to go up or down a layer. Usual tap locations to edit synopsis or go into the editor.
I'd be keen to have the visual indication whether the card is a single card or a stack as shown, as well as the hints that there are more cards to the left and right (if appropriate).
I'd like to have access to the project notes as well from the inspector pane, but I'd only want access to it in this 'index card' mode.

Editor view:
Honestly, I'm not going to need much here. A plain window showing my text is fine.
Perhaps something like - landscape = edit mode (with a large keyboard and a small text window) and portrait = review mode (pure text).
editor.jpg (18.93 KiB) Viewed 1293 times

Screen furniture:
As minimal as possible - Just an icon in the corner that calls up a larger menu to switch between the binder, index and editor windows?

Other things:
I really am in two minds about things like keywords and references panes. On the one hand, this sort of 'admin' is exactly the sort of thing I'm more likely to do on the run (ie on a train away from my laptop) rather than writing proper. On the other hand, knowing me there's a good chance that this is the sort of thing I'd wait until I was on a laptop to do because it will be be less fiddly - if for no other reason than screen size.
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Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:03 am Post

Those using Dropbox who're concerned about having what they're writing stolen or damaged if their Mac laptop or, in the future, iPad/iPhone gets swiped might want to look at an idea suggested on the Dropbox forum:


Remote wiping is apparently in Dropbox's wish list, but until that happens this is a work around that avoids all the hassles of encryption and passwords. You do have to get back to your home/office computer to activate it, but once activated, it should work quite quickly.

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Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:37 pm Post

I, like everyone else here, have been waiting with bated breath for an iOS version of Scrivener. I think between your own thoughts, and everyone else's suggestions here, you'll come up with a mighty serviceable app. I only have a couple of requests:
1) syncing is the most important thing. For 90% of people, this will not be the primary platform for creation, but rather a stop gap for when they can not be near their computers. If they can not move back and forth seamlessly, without having to worry about odd duplicates, or strange version discrepancies, then it will be pretty useless.
2) PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, regardless of how many different sections you include (corkboard, binder, inspector, etc) PLEASE,...make the actual writing interface clean and simple. (Think Writeroom) It might be ok to include an extra row that the user can configure to add commonly used characters, but please make this optional. When it comes to writing, the less clutter, the better.

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Tue Feb 21, 2012 6:36 pm Post


Great to have this topic open to suggestions!

I like the idea of having a structured document and I think it could be achieved with the table view that is already available in iOS.

Let me quote a very interesting comment in this line made by W.A. Wood:
"How to make engineers write concisely with sentences? By combining journalism with the technical report format. In a newspaper article, the paragraphs are ordered by importance, so that the reader can stop reading the article at whatever point they lose interest, knowing that the part they have read was more important than the part left unread.

State your message in one sentence. That is your title. Write one paragraph justifying the message. That is your abstract. Circle each phrase in the abstract that needs clarification or more context. Write a paragraph or two for each such phrase. That is the body of your report. Identify each sentence in the body that needs clarification and write a paragraph or two in the appendix. Include your contact information for readers who require further detail."
End quote.

This way of writing could be better achieved with hierarchical views, something the iPhone (and iPad) excel at.
The idea is to be able to have the main text divided into separate paragraphs with a header to state the idea covered by the paragraph (that would make one paragraph per header). Then each paragraph can have multiple sentences (eg. one sentence per row).

I am not so sure if the default table view allows such multiple-line headers and text labels.

It would be great to be able to scroll through a whole chapter in this manner. In the navigation bar you could, with a button to the left of the Title, go back to the outline of the document to add new chapters or to read/edit a different one.

The tricky part would be to customize the table view so as to be able to add new sentences specific to a certain header. One possibility would be to be able to tap on a header and go to a new view where you would edit just that part of the table, and so you have a hierarchical navigation..
As you see in the attachment the rows of the table view could be ordered at will.

I like the classic background (grey vertical stripes) - a prototype I made with Blueprint Lite for iPad.
I also like the size of the typeface, quite readable, a plus in such devices.
I was inspired by the app 'Habits' by Louis Franco (that's not me!).

We already have a Writeroom type of app. I would like to have a different kind of tool, one appropiate for the kind of navigation panels/views that the iOS has and that allows structured texts to become a reality.

Congratulations on your efforts Jenny_Y8S and KB!
Prototype.png (150.75 KiB) Viewed 1214 times

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Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:10 pm Post

I realise development for the iPhone Scrivener is probably under way, and my comments can't affect the basic structure of iPhone Scrivener, but I'll comment anyway.

I see iPhone Scrivener to be a quick note taking tool where the writing is made directly into Scrivener rather than having to import.

Given the small iPhone screen, I can't imagine iPad-Scrivener just scaling down. For instance, I would not want to have a cork-board facility. I think it's ridiculous to move rectangles of notes around a corkboard on a 3" screen.

Here's how I visualise iPhone Scrivener.

It's a hydrid of the old iPod interface (where we used to use the clickwheel), and the recent iPhone todo app named "Clear".

If you play around with Clear, the view of its todo list could represent the Binder. We can move items up and down the list.

In the Clear app, you can drag an item to the right. I'm only using this as a visual point - that this could be what a sub-heading in the Binder looks like. So we can double tap for a Binder item to reveal its sub headers.

Then, we can hold-down for each Binder item to reveal its text content.

As I see it, this is all the functionality we should aim for in an iPhone Scrivener.

Any more -- e.g. trying to simulate the cork board on a 3" screen - is going to be zany.

Regarding the Inspector -- once again, using the Clear app visual paradigm -- the Inspector information could be accessed at the top level (blue in the Clear app).

Hence, I am concerned that making the iPhone/iPad into a universal app would render the corkboard iPhone app virtually unusable. For example, Jenny showed a screenshot of the iPad version. That, on an iPhone, would be unworkable. What's the point of showing 2-3 pieces on a corkboard. I'd much rather the above Clear-app visual model, rather than feeling the need to be tied to the corkboard paradigm.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1844583/ScreenS ... naiPad.png

In summary, if you download the Clear-app, that's how Scrivener could function, except that each item can be clicked to reveal a text-edit page.

Note: I'm just using the Clear-app as an illustration. I'm not saying to directly copy it, since that might provoke copyright infringement - but rather to simplify iPhone-Scrivener to a moveable list that fits on the 3" screen, where we can expand each item to add text. In other words, dispense with the centre corkboard, and mainly just focus on the Binder.

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Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:29 pm Post

I'm not saying to directly copy it, since that might provoke copyright infringement

I'm not a lawyer, so take this comment with a truckload of salt. As I understand it, given the Windows vs. Apple suit many years ago, "look and feel" cannot be copyrighted. So as long as the graphic representation is not a pixel-perfect copy, an "act-alike" program would be fine.

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Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:20 pm Post

Hence, I am concerned that making the iPhone/iPad into a universal app would render the corkboard iPhone app virtually unusable.

There seems to be some misunderstanding of what a universal app is here. Just because an iOS app is "universal", that does not at all mean that it will look or work the same on both the iPad and iPhone. A universal app just bundles both versions into a single application; when you load a universal app on an iPhone, it runs the iPhone part of the code and interface; when you load it on an iPad, it runs the iPad variant. It's no different than having a separate app for each platform, except that you only have to buy it once rather than separately for each platform. The only advantage to users for having a non-universal app is that if they only want the iPhone version, they can get it cheaper; the disadvantage is that if an iPad user buys the app, they will have to buy it separately if they want to use it for the iPhone too. (Incidentally, no final decision has been made yet on whether it will be universal or not. But my point is that whether it is universal or not has absolutely no effect on how it will scale to the different platforms; the interface will be tailored for each.)

The corkboard is still useful on the iPhone - I've used it - but of course you can't use as many cards as you can on the iPad, and it is less useful for getting a large overview. One important thing to note, however, is that we are building Scrivener for iOS here, not an entirely different application; it will be a (very) pared down version of Scrivener with an interface designed to be optimal for the iPhone and iPad. And yes, we designed the interface differently for each platform.

All the best,
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Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:33 pm Post

Excellent plan!