Scrivener for iOS Status

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Fri Jan 31, 2014 11:07 am Post

Hello all,

[UPDATE: Blog post 5/08/14: http://www.literatureandlatte.com/blog/?p=405 ]

Seeing as we get frequent requests about when the iOS version will be released and how it is coming, I figured I'd give the current status here.

As anyone who has been waiting for the iOS version knows, development has taken a lot longer than we originally hoped. We first announced that we were starting development on the iOS version right at the end of 2011 and foolishly said that we hoped it would be ready by the end of 2012, later updated that to 2013, and here we are in 2014. We've learned a lot along the way, one of them being not to guess at release dates too early.

From the beginning, we had a dedicated developer working on the iOS version. I didn't take the project on myself, as I didn't want the Mac version to suffer - I've seen the development of too many Mac programs grind to a halt because the developer has dedicated all of his or her time to iOS. (I'm talking here specifically about small software houses such as ourselves, the product of only one or two developers.) Besides, the Mac version is where my heart is.

Unfortunately, our first developer had to step away from the project in early 2013, owing to family health issues, and these same issues had meant that development hadn't progressed as fast as we would have liked during the preceding year. We had been aware of these issues and from a cold-hearted business perspective should have stepped in earlier, but we really hoped that the issues would resolve themselves and that our developer would be able to get back to going full-steam-ahead. When it became clear that this wasn't going to happen, we found another developer, Tammy Coron, to take over the project. Tammy is an experienced iOS developer and also a dedicated user of Scrivener. She has been working full-time on the iOS version since 2013. During that time, a lot of things got rebuilt and rewritten, and also iOS 7.0 came out with the TextKit (a rich text system), which meant that I could also help out by using a lot of what I've learned about the Mac's rich text system over the years in implementing a fully-featured rich text editor with great RTF support.

The project is now in really, really good shape, but there is still a lot to do, including the synchronisation code (which is going to be a huge task), scriptwriting support of some sort, and iPad enhancements. I understand that it's difficult for users to appreciate why software can take so long to develop, but we are taking Scrivener for iOS very seriously and trying to build something special. To give you an example, though, the past three or four months have been spent working solely on the rich text editor and keyboard row - and that's with Tammy working full time and me helping out with a number of aspects of the rich text system. With coding, you often guess that something will be a day's work that can turn out to take a week because of unexpected complications. And those extra weeks add up to become months, of course. But we just aren't interested in releasing a half-baked product.

So the point of this post is mainly just to say: we are working on it. Tammy is working full-time on it and a good deal of my time is spent testing it and going back and forth with Tammy working on refinements. We won't be posting any more screenshots or information about what is going into it for a little while - not until it is nearly ready for release - because it's frustrating enough for those already eagerly awaiting it that it's taken so long without us hyping it too early.

There's an old Zen proverb that says it's better to be walking in the right direction than to reach your destination. We promise we're not that Zen, though, and that we are getting closer and closer to our destination. :)

What we can tell you is the following:
- Scrivener is being built for both iPhones/iPods and iPads.
- It will require iOS 7.0 or above since it relies on the TextKit framework introduced in iOS 7.0.
- It will not support iCloud, but will use Dropbox for syncing (or you can move files back and forth using iTunes, of course). (iCloud is not suitable for bundle-based file formats such as Scrivener uses and is anyway not available to non-Mac App Store customers or to Windows users.)
- It will feature an outliner, a corkboard, an inspector and full rich text editing.
- Both the Windows and Mac versions of Scrivener will feature full syncing with iOS.

All the best,
Keith
"You can't waltz in here, use my toaster, and start spouting universal truths without qualification."