Scrivener for iPad

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jackdawsson
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Sun Apr 11, 2010 2:35 pm Post

KB wrote:Just to clarify what I meant about choosing a Windows version over an iPad version - I have no intention of writing either myself, because all my time is taken up by the Mac version (and I'm pretty much burnt out on version 2.0 after over two years of development going into it - I'm looking forward to getting it out there and finally focussing on nothing more than bug fixes for a while, while I do some writing in it myself again). So it would come down to finding someone else to do it, and in that case it makes more sense to pump resources into a Windows version, which would be a pretty much guaranteed success (we already have nearly 1,000 Windows users signed up to our show-an-interest-in-a-Windows-version newsletter, and we haven't even said we're going to make one yet), with a much bigger potential user base. As someone else said, that might then give us the freedom to and resources to find someone to develop an iPad version (Windows would be a much better fit for Scrivener than the iPad anyway).


I've been a lurker here for a little while, so I appreciate your reasons for not committing to either a Windows or iPad version Scrivener. However, if one day a Windows version was released, I think that the "nearly 1,000 Window users" who already have an interest in Scrivener would grow exponentially, in time generating huge sales.

FWIW, I'm not coming from a Mac v PC angle. The quality of Macs, OS X, the growing Mac user base, etc, is widely accepted and rightly so. However, Macs remain relatively expensive compared to PCs, and many writers prefer matt screens. Of these, many consider a new 15" or 17" MacBook Pro (the only Mac laptops currently offering a matt screen option) as overkill and too expensive for their needs. They also don't want to resort to buying 2nd hand, increasingly aged PPC iBooks - the last models Apple made are already 5 years old. On the PC platform, however, even relatively inexpensive Samsung netbooks offer matt screen options.

So I agree that maybe eventually doing a Windows version of Scrivener, if you can find the right terms from interested programmers, seems far more feasible than an iPad version. Just from reading recent iPad reviews by respected critics like David Pogue, it seems a reasonable assumption that relatively few people are likely to buy an iPad for creative pursuits like writing, but mostly for consuming web content, social networking, etc.

All the best with completing your latest version of Scrivener.

Kr
KrisM
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Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:57 pm Post

I'll keep using my 13" MacBook. It's not much bigger (although a good bit heavier, 4.5lbs is still nearly a netbook), 7 hours of battery off wifi is good enough for anything I'll do. If I'm stuck with out, I can always use Auteureist and import into Scrivener later, and pretty easily to boot.
13.3" unibody MacBook 2.4GHz, 10.6.3

Vi
VieAuNaturel
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Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:30 pm Post

Over 200 posts don't seem enough, and since the context has turned almost trivial I figured I'd waste my first post here :) (Hi!)

I've owned Scrivener for a while and have leisurely read the forums from time to time. I've also seen KB's posts in programming forums, asking some of the same questions (years ago) I'm looking to answer now as a programmer. I must acknowledge I've grown over time to be a KB fanboy, as the recently departed (from the forums) fellow called it. Honestly, I would rather be a fan of someone like Keith than a large uncaring corporation. Keith, you're intelligent, sincere, creative, reachable, and... human. Not only human, but not afraid to admit it when the occasional emotion gets the best of you.

What you are not, my dear friend (and someone I don't really know), is an entrepreneur. Maybe artist, or artisan, or craftsman -- I'm not even sure if programmer is a fair label. I know you have stated your background, and your intention for creating Scrivener, but it would be so much easier if everyone could just understand. I think you've grown as a business owner, and in your entrepreneurial tendencies, but at the end of the day that's not what drives you.

Yes, an artist *wants* to make a living and possibly be known for what they accomplish. But artists have a style that overrides other decisions, including monetary ones. Artists are not afraid to struggle for their cause, which I think goes against the very grain of the entrepreneur. In many ways I don't think entrepreneurs quite understand artists. The end result, though, can be striking. While business-minded companies produce products for the masses, you've produced a product for the writer (not plural!). Working in Scrivener is almost like a personal experience -- like joining a club where everyone is welcome and all know your name, and the task at hand becomes transparent. This is your style, to me.

I know many people would like to see Scrivener become more suited to their needs, and I'm sure great ideas come out of this communication. But as you consider your roadmap, and whether to pursue new platforms, please don't let the pressures from others steer you from being true to your art. I'm confident 2.0 will be a masterpiece, and I'm another person that supports you, and will support you ($$).

Oh, and I almost forgot the rule for telling Keith how to run his business: My background. I'm a programmer who owned/ran a business for a few years, mainly developing web applications, and I currently work as a programmer for a major university. I've also been a musician/songwriter/lyricist for many, many years (hey, another non-writer than loves Scrivener!) The worst decision I ever made for my business involved giving too much weight to other opinions and not my own gut feeling. The difficult part sometimes is "hearing" your gut with all that gurgling drowning it out.

Peace.

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KB
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Sat Apr 17, 2010 9:30 am Post

Welcome to the forums, VieAuNaturel, and many thanks for your kind words and support - much appreciated!

All the best,
Keith

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Steenstrupian
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Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:57 pm Post

Longshot suggestion: I don't think this has already come up but if it has my apologies, I skimmed the whole enormous thread, having come to it late.

I read K's compelling thoughts on why there'll be no scrivener for the iPad for the foreseeable future, and have nothing but respect for it. I totally get why, from an indie developer's p.o.v., the iPad is at best a bittersweet development, and the economies involved preclude porting scrivener over. Get it, got it, no argument.

However. Here's the thing.

I love scrivener boundlessly and use it for all my writing (at which I make my living). I also, with all respect to the sceptics, expect the iPad to become a totally indispensable input device for me and other writers (also artists, and in both cases I suspect Jobs et al haven't quite realised yet how much that's the case). I'd been hankering for a netbook, but the moment the iPad arrived, I realised that as long as it could connect to a keyboard, I expect to love it even more than a netbook, because i) small! and ii) it better combines the function of book-to-read-during-coffee-break with input device without the keyboard in the way. (Me, I want a stylus too, but that puts me in a minority.) Basically all I want from my day-to-day machine is email, net, writing input and reading documents/books, and this I think could be that in absolute spades.

So I know that I will really really want scrivener for the iPad. I also totally respect why you want to focus on OS X. Any idea how much it would cost for an iPad OS developer to port over Scrivener and look after it? To update it periodically as there are updates in the OS X program, which of course would remain the main program?

Because I would be more than willing to pledge, say, a hundred quid to a Port-Scriv-to-the-iPad Fund!

Would there be any mileage in some kind of pledge-drive (maybe even transferring the funds by paypal or something on the understanding that if, after a certain time, the necessary dosh wasn't amassed, they'd be returnable or something)? Then if you did find there's enough of us prepared to throw some money at this as a project, you could employ a specialist porter when the necessary total was reached?

(What this would not address is the perfectionist problem of letting someone else at it, granted - I'm groping for least-bad scenarios, here.)

Basically I doubt very much I'm alone in considering scrivener indispensable, while also strongly suspecting the iPad will, far from being a netbook manqué, become equally indipensable. Fully cognisant of the bind you as developer of my favourite software's in, I'm eager to work out ways out of it.

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KB
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Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:51 pm Post

There are two problems with this sort of approach:

1) The cost. It would mean employing somebody, and to employ a fully-qualified programmer who is doing it for the money and not the love would mean paying him more than I take. :) A lot, in other words.
2) I categorically would never want to take money from people for something that doesn't exist.

I'm looking forward to checking out the iPad, but it really will never become a substitute to a laptop for me as far as I can see, the more I read about it and look at it. The main thing to know is this, though: it will not be able to run a version of Scrivener that does everything Scrivener does. (Please no one reply to this saying that you don't want it to - yes, I'm aware of that idea, it's been repeated dozens of times above; I'm purely replying to Steenstrupian's idea here.) The iPhone OS is fundamentally not capable of doing everything Scrivener is - it's a mobile platform, it isn't intended to. So, if you were hoping for an iPad to replace your day-to-day machine, you would not be able to have the Scrivener experience on the day-to-day machine at all. The only way an iPad version of Scrivener would work is as a very basic, stripped-down version. As Andy Ihnatko said on MacBreak Weekly, it would have to be a "packed lunch" - a way of being able to work on your project while out and about before bringing it back to Scrivener on the Mac for the proper work.

Anyway, I will explore possibilities, but as I say, it would be foolhardy indeed to jump in at the deep end.

Thanks for the enthusiasm and all the best,
Keith

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Jowibou
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Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:53 pm Post

Nothing wrong with packed lunches.

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Hugh
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Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:15 pm Post

I see Keith has already answered for himself, but here's a customer's view:

For me, Scrivener is very good partly because it pulls together a bundle of features which one could conceivably create using a number of individual applications, but which it is much more useful to have "under one roof". The whole becomes more than the sum of the parts. Yet many of those features depend on a proper, physical-keyboarded OS X platform with a decent-sized screen. For its full worth, Scrivener requires not just rich text, but also (ideally) other features such as screen acreage, multi-tasking, a keyboard you can hammer away on for hours, and easy printing.

Strip out some or all of those capabilities, and what will you have? Something, maybe something worthwhile, but will it be so much better than "packed lunch" note-taking applications for the iPad already in being or on their way?

There are several other "heavy-duty" OS X applications in the same boat: Tinderbox, Curio, and DevonThink to name three. All face calls from their customers for iPad versions. I'll be interested to see how the upcoming DevonThink iPad/iPhone app translates. I wonder if some of these heavy-duty applications will lose quite a lot if they are required to slim down and simplify to fit on the iPad, however ingenious the methods used. Or alternatively they may remain too complex for the platform, even if ported over - with too much drilling down and too many panes.

If I buy an iPad, I think that in the short term I will look to install simple, nimble writing, outlining and information management applications which are designed for the platform from the outset, yet which have a chance of talking to Scrivener, rather than replacing it.

H
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
that distant, almost inaudible clicking sound? That's one of your
competitors, working away in the night in
Paris or London or Erie, PA.'

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druid
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Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:30 pm Post

As I've noted in another thread (viewtopic.php?f=15&t=7588), the iPad already has several outlining and writing apps that create notes or texts for import to Scrivener. And one may export a Scrivener text to the iPad, if needed. The same is true for netbooks using other software, like PageFour. Given its current limitations of memory and app interface, the iPad isn't suited for Scrivener and vice-versa.

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Jowibou
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Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:52 pm Post

I certainly can imagine an Ipad version that would present only the entire draft folder as an edit scrivenings session. No notes, no binder, no links, no fiddling. Just the burning Rome of the text itself ready and waiting for some old fashioned sofa (or bath) editing. Much like a printout but automagically synced back to the desktop version. An excellent opportunity to switch modes and focus on the draft.
I can just hear Keith screaming all Munch-like: "But it's a programming nightmare!"
Yes, yes, but i can dream can't I?

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Steenstrupian
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Tue Apr 20, 2010 5:11 pm Post

Many thanks for reply. Sitrep received and totally understood.

(thanks also druid for those suggestions, I'll take a shufti.)

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Mishenka
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Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:46 pm Post

bodsham wrote:I may get killed for pointing it out but...

I would actually like the ability to read a finished Word or Pages format manuscript on a tablet and do minor editing, notes, comments etc. If Pages on the iPad was actually capable of doing this, instead of mangling all the important revision material, I might have stumped up for it (though I doubt I'd do any serious writing on the thing). We now know that iPad Pages is actually Pocket Pages or Pages Lite and NBG for that anyway.

But there is at least one tablet coming along that will run a full version of Word, and one assumes a full version of Scrivener were a compatible one to appear. It's the Windows 7-based HP Slate. I'm sure the iPad hammers the Slate at the things the iPad is good at it. But for reading and tinkering with a manuscript the Slate could be great. My workflow always involves exporting a final manuscript from Scrivener to Pages for a final, final revision anyway. I could do that in Word though I'd prefer Pages. But since there isn't a working iPad Pages editor that can handle comments and track changes...


I just posted this on druid's "iPad as a research tool" thread but you might want to look into these apps for the iPad: iTeleport for iPad @ 19.99 Euro/14.99 GBP or LogMeIn Ignition @ 23.99 Euro/17.99 GBP (I had links here but they aren't displaying properly).

Either allows you to remotely access your iMac/MBA/MBP & work directly on it. Might be an alternative to buying a Slate, leaving your manuscript on your primary device. AND you can even work directly in Scrivener!!

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root
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Mon Jun 21, 2010 1:00 am Post

I write all first drafts of feature scripts and fiction in Scrivener for all the obvious reasons, then switch to Final Draft and Pages respectively for polish. Until the last two weeks.

Using a case that has a handy backstand and the Apple Mini Bluetooth keyboard, my 'day pack' is so greatly reduced that it's like I'm not lugging anything. And I'm reading books and watching the latest episodes on the same device as well.

After just two weeks of usage, I think the iPad has been slightly overestimated as a 'gadget', but simultaneously underestimated as a 'productive' tool. That is, by the people that don't have one. Because if you look in the App Store, it's quite a different list compared to iPhone apps: Productivity apps (and news/media readers/viewers) are in the lead, instead of games.

And if you have a very mobile workday - meeting producers in the morning, directors in the afternoon, it sure is very handy not to have the laptop bulk to carry. And I have a MacBook Air, but the iPad is so much lighter.

Only problem is I don't have Scrivener on it. I have Scripts Pro, which is compatible with Final Draft (and Celtx, if you don't want to shell out) and Pages which compatible with...

So I export scenes from my Scrivener binder in .fdx format and import them over wifi or Dropbox to Scripts Pro. It's just wonderful to sit down in a café or anywhere and start tapping away on the iPad - it lends itself extremely well to writing. I thought the screen would be too small, but the aspect ratio and the fact that you don't have any interface - just the text (not unlike full screen view in Scrivener) makes it work really well.

And if you don't want to pay for the Apple Bluetooth keyboard, just buy the Camera Connection Kit, and the USB adapter in that will make any USB keyboard work on the iPad.

So my problem now is that the iPad is so great as a 'traveller's typewriter' that it's disrupting my former workflow a bit. Because without Scrivener on the iPad, it's a lot of hassle with the files in and out of Scrivener on the Mac. And now when Final Draft as an app in the making, I might have to go back to using FD from start to finish.

But I don't w a n t to do that. I love Scrivener - it's much more intuitive than any other writing app, especially for the early, more creative stages. The same stages that the iPad is good for, since it's like a sketch pad and you can always have it with you. Especially good in story meetings.

At the same time, it's difficult to have an app in one's workflow that isn't compatible with that flow. If FD has an app, and Scrivener doesn't it might not be worth the while for me to upgrade to 2.0 of Scrivener, because I will start to use it less the more I write daily on the iPad.

Also, I think there is only going to be more and more productivity apps - especially from those who make them for the desktop. Already musicians have stuff compatible with Logic and ProTools. And with the Camera Connection Kit and the iPads ability to read RAW files, there will be light versions of Lightroom ;-) and the likes.

Especially when os4 come to the pad in September and gives us multitasking and file sharing/system.

Having said that, I would absolutely contribute to any collection of funds for coding. Because Scrivener on the iPad would not only be good for people like me, it would be a better writing app than Pages and the likes for most people!

dr
druid
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Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:38 am Post

root wrote:After just two weeks of usage, I think the iPad has been slightly overestimated as a 'gadget', but simultaneously underestimated as a 'productive' tool. That is, by the people that don't have one. Because if you look in the App Store, it's quite a different list compared to iPhone apps: Productivity apps (and news/media readers/viewers) are in the lead, instead of games.


This thread is dead, because Scrivener ain't gonna happen on the iPad, at least not soon. Come on over to "iPad as a research/writing tool" where we're reviewing apps and discussing workflow issues. You have a lot to add. Maybe you could repost some of this comment there. Thanks!

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=7588

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KB
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Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:24 am Post

After just two weeks of usage, I think the iPad has been slightly overestimated as a 'gadget', but simultaneously underestimated as a 'productive' tool. That is, by the people that don't have one.


I have one. And when it comes to productivity... It has renewed my appreciation of my MacBook.

At the same time, it's difficult to have an app in one's workflow that isn't compatible with that flow. If FD has an app, and Scrivener doesn't it might not be worth the while for me to upgrade to 2.0 of Scrivener, because I will start to use it less the more I write daily on the iPad.


Fair enough - I'm certainly not trying to bend anyone's arm into buying Scrivener. If it doesn't fit your workflow you would certainly be better off going with a different solution.

Also, I think there is only going to be more and more productivity apps - especially from those who make them for the desktop. Already musicians have stuff compatible with Logic and ProTools. And with the Camera Connection Kit and the iPads ability to read RAW files, there will be light versions of Lightroom and the likes.


It's worth remembering that there is no rich text system available to developers on the iPad, and won't be for at least another year (Apple used private APIs to create Pages). This may not be a concern to scriptwriters, but Scrivener isn't just a scriptwriting program. It's also worth bearing in mind that the iPad just is not capable of doing the main things Scrivener does. Other than lack of rich text, it doesn't have the equivalent of the outline views used pervasively throughout Scrivener. Scrivener on the iPad would be a different beast altogether, but the beast I created is the one I want.

Things an iPad version couldn't do:

• Create, edit or maintain rich text (all bold, highlighting, italics, line spacing etc would be destroyed going back and forth between the two)
• (Thus no comments or footnotes.)
• Have adjustable split views.
• The interface would need to be entirely different to fit the iOS screen design.
• Probably no "Research" folder owing to memory and disk space concerns.
• It would not be able to support the .scriv file format.
• No outliner or hierarchical view on the iPad means this would need designing from the ground up and probably could not be synced with another outliner or corkboard view.
• You would never be able to see as many synopses on the iPad because of the iOS screen size restrictions.
• And inspector view wouldn't really work in the iPad context for various reasons.

When you start breaking it down, some of the core things I built Scrivener for - Edit Scrivenings, corkboard and outliner integration, the ability to assign synopses and view them alongside documents or alongside one another to get an overview of the whole, the ability to view research documents next to your writing - would have to be severely compromised on the iPad. The iPad is a completely different device to a traditional computer, and it therefore probably needs a different solution for these sorts of things. You just cannot take Scrivener's interface and capabilities and plonk them on the iPad.

Scrivener for the iPad is not ruled out, not at all. In the future we may look into what a solution on the iPad would really entail. But really, if users prefer using the iPad for their writing then I guess they don't need Scrivener in the first place, given that Scrivener really is a desktop/laptop solution, and requires something with the power of OS X or Windows to run it.

Ultimately, although Scrivener is a commercial concern, it's also the tool I use and love myself, so I'm not prepared to abandon it for months on end only to provide a compromised version that can't do all the things I designed it for, just because a certain proportion of users find themselves better served by the iPad. My priority has to be existing and future Mac customers. My philosophy has always been that I don't want to try to persuade people to use Scrivener who don't really need it; and if you can do all of your writing on such a stripped-down OS as iOS, which just isn't capable of doing all the things Scrivener does, then you probably don't really need Scrivener in the same way that I do and did when I created it. I created Scrivener because I needed it, because I'm a messy writer and wanted something with the various tools it has; if you can do all of your writing in iOS then I certainly envy you, but I never would have developed Scrivener on such a device in the first place. (And those who believe the iPad is capable of doing all the things Scrivener does have probably over-estimated the iPad's capabilities - iOS is not an OS X replacement.)

On the other hand, although I just don't like the iPad for content production (I like the device itself, I just cannot imagine ever writing extensively on it), I do understand why some users would want to compose on it while out and about and away from their computers. For those, as I've said elsewhere, Scrivener 2.0 will come with Simplenote sync for the editing and creation of simple documents while on the go. This probably isn't very helpful to scriptwriters though.

So: any putative future version of Scrivener-for-iPad (not ruled out, not in the works) would not be complete Scrivener solution, no matter what - for the reasons given above - and a desktop version would always be the hub.)

I hope this all makes sense. I'm not being awkward and have nothing against the iPad per se, but if some users decide to abandon Scrivener or not to upgrade because they are moving to the iPad, I can do no more about that than I can about users who have decided to move to Windows or Linux.

Good luck with whatever solution you choose!

All the best,
Keith

P.S. I'd also say that it's telling what applications won the Apple Design Awards - not a single productivity app.