When will Scrivener support iCloud (or the way around)?

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helderluis
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Wed May 29, 2019 12:00 pm Post

Can someone give me any information regarding this?

Thanks

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kewms
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Wed May 29, 2019 4:29 pm Post

Scrivener will support iCloud when iCloud handles the Scrivener package format correctly. When will that be? You'd need to ask Apple.

Katherine
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jvwritesthings
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Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:22 am Post

kewms wrote:Scrivener will support iCloud when iCloud handles the Scrivener package format correctly. When will that be? You'd need to ask Apple.

Katherine


Sadly, as someone who used to work for Apple, adding functionality for a specific developer's proprietary file format is a tough ask if that file format is only used by a small subset of iOS users. It just isn't at the top of their list of priorities. I can also tell you that AppleCare is not equipped to handle such questions from the general public for a few reasons.

The users/general public are not privy to the details of the structure of a .scriv file, so they wouldn't be able to communicate the critical details needed to obtain an answer. Such conversations are more effectively had between the developer (i.e. Literature and Latte) and Apple's Developer Support team.

Proprietary file formats are the bane of many a consumer's existence, but they are often necessary for a company to deliver on the vision they see for their product. At the end of the day, the responsibility lies on Literature and Latte/Scrivener to determine which functionality is most important to its users and to execute on making that functionality a reality wherever possible.

Consumers are paying $44.99 for Scrivener 3 on macOS and $19.99 for Scrivener on iOS. That $64.98 cost supports the development and maintenance of the software by the development team, which includes partnering with Apple's Developer Support team to address or sort out any compatibility issues.
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kewms
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Sat Jun 08, 2019 7:05 am Post

jvwritesthings wrote:The users/general public are not privy to the details of the structure of a .scriv file, so they wouldn't be able to communicate the critical details needed to obtain an answer. Such conversations are more effectively had between the developer (i.e. Literature and Latte) and Apple's Developer Support team.


Which we have done and are continuing to do.

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devinganger
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Sat Jun 08, 2019 7:16 am Post

jvwritesthings wrote:
kewms wrote:Scrivener will support iCloud when iCloud handles the Scrivener package format correctly. When will that be? You'd need to ask Apple.

Katherine


Sadly, as someone who used to work for Apple, adding functionality for a specific developer's proprietary file format is a tough ask if that file format is only used by a small subset of iOS users


The Scrivener file format isn't a proprietary format, though. It's a basic package file. It's just that Scrivener is overriding some of the default behaviors (so the entire package doesn't have to be saved/read, just the changed documents in the package) and iCloud sync doesn't provide corresponding mechanisms for incrementally syncing package files (if I'm understanding it correctly).

Here's more detail:

viewtopic.php?p=244405#p244405
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Sat Jun 08, 2019 7:16 am Post

Interesting insight, julian.

I think that the very name of Project Catalyst makes it clear that Apple wants to bring about change and that we are heading into a future where developers (in the main) create one app to use across all platforms: preferable for users to have a single interface; cost-effective for developers to only have to develop once; and easier for developers to maintain, enhance, and support a single product – all elements that would surely make life simpler for an app like Scrivener for Mac that is built by a single developer.

Catalyst might lead to some features and some users being lost, and to some design fundamentals needing to be revisited, but I think it is clear that Apple is going to make it more and more unattractive, infeasible, and unnecessary for developers to build discrete iPadOS and macOS consumer-based apps.

Slàinte mhòr.

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Sat Jun 08, 2019 7:24 am Post

JoRo wrote:Catalyst might lead to some features and some users being lost, and to some design fundamentals needing to be revisited, but I think it is clear that Apple is going to make it more and more unattractive, infeasible, and unnecessary for developers to build discrete iPadOS and macOS consumer-based apps.


Whether or not those apps need it, if history is anything to go by.
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Sat Jun 08, 2019 8:40 am Post

devinganger wrote:The Scrivener file format isn't a proprietary format, though. It's a basic package file. It's just that Scrivener is overriding some of the default behaviors (so the entire package doesn't have to be saved/read, just the changed documents in the package) and iCloud sync doesn't provide corresponding mechanisms for incrementally syncing package files (if I'm understanding it correctly).

Here's more detail:

viewtopic.php?p=244405#p244405


Thank you for sharing that thread. I've been engaged in discussions with members of the Scrivener team regarding that thread behind the scenes over the past week. There are unique elements to how Scrivener deals with syncing/saving projects, which does seem to be the primary reason for the incompatibility. Here's hoping the changes being introduced by iOS 13 and iPadOS this Fall will lead to greater compatibility with iCloud as a syncing method.
julian.

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Sat Jun 08, 2019 8:59 am Post

kewms wrote:
jvwritesthings wrote:The users/general public are not privy to the details of the structure of a .scriv file, so they wouldn't be able to communicate the critical details needed to obtain an answer. Such conversations are more effectively had between the developer (i.e. Literature and Latte) and Apple's Developer Support team.


Which we have done and are continuing to do.

Katherine


I appreciate that. I'm sure this long-requested functionality will someday be a reality, and it will be well worth the wait.
julian.

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Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:14 am Post

devinganger wrote:Whether or not those apps need it, if history is anything to go by.


Hi.

I agree.

I get the feeling that some people don’t really see the transformation that is happening. We’ve seen Apple disassemble iTunes, eviscerate and rebuild Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Photos, etc, and bring apps like Stocks and Voice Memos from iOS to macOS. The direction of change / convergence seems to be pretty clear. If they had perhaps called it Project All Change, people might see things differently: but a catalyst is a trigger for change.

There are threads in which Scrivener users are talking about using iPads as their main writing platforms and / or switching from Macs to iPads entirely.

Obviously, I have no insight into what Keith might do in the future, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Scrivener for Mac is subsumed by Scrivener for iPadOS before too long: one development stream, one app to support, one interface for users to master, etc.

Development takes a long time and a lot of effort. App releases have been delayed in the past, and Keith has a limited amount of time available to him. If a single app would make his life simpler and make it easier for L&L to support users, it is hard (for me) to see a logic to keep two apps going.

Just an opinion. Appreciate that I might be entirely wrong. While I use Mac Scrivener exclusively, I would embrace iPadOS Scrivener if Keith decided to focus on its development. Apple has made great strides with the apps it has retooled, and I think Scrivener would make the same advances in time.

Slàinte mhòr.

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Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:41 am Post

While I would agree with this in general (and based on following Microsoft's attempts to perform the same type of convergence), I don't think this convergence is going to happen for a handful of specialized applications in the Apple world -- and I believe Scrivener is one of those applications.

The reason I believe that is that there are several MacOS features that are vital to how Scrivener is current designed and they are not nearly as full-featured on iOS or (I believe) the forthcoming iPadOS. Some of those limitations are the reason behind the feature disparity we see today. Apple will have to invest time in fleshing those OS features out, when it seems like the vast majority of apps don't need them -- and Apple doesn't seem to be that kind of company to invest work in the under-the-hood features that aren't going to be used. I can't see them spending the time bringing the iPad's text subsystem up to part with the Mac's when almost no app that uses it need the missing functionality (just as one example). I don't see the sandboxing going away on the iPad.

I guess it comes down to how close iPadOS will get and whether KB is willing to re-architect the program yet again to drop some of the functionality or work around the gaps in the OS functionality.
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Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:45 am Post

JoRo wrote:I wouldn’t be shocked if Scrivener for Mac is subsumed by Scrivener for iPadOS before too long: one development stream, one app to support, one interface for users to master, etc.

I would.
There is still a huge difference between Mac OS and the coming iPad OS, and between Mac Scrivener and iOS Scrivener. And so far it’s the Mac OS that is the target, not the other way around. I do use my iPad a lot, but not for serious writing, number crunching or for making figures for publishing in scientific journals. iOS just isn’t powerful enough.

And... at WWDC Apple presented a coming change to make it easier to port apps from iOS to Mac OS, but I can’t remember hearing them say anything about the opposite direction, easily porting Mac apps to the iPad.

Edit: ... and once again I think Devinganger is spot on.
I am a user, writing non-fiction and science, using:
* Mac Scrivener 3 on a Macbook 12”, MacBook Pro 13”, and iMac 27”, all running the latest MacOS
* iOS Scrivener 1 on an iPhone 8, iPad Air 9.7”, and iPad Pro 12.9”, all running the latest iOS

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Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:06 am Post

lunk wrote:Edit: ... and once again I think Devinganger is spot on.


Lunk, for the love of all that's holy, you've got to stop saying that. I'm pretty sure we are doing fantastic levels of damage to the deep structure of the multiverse.
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Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:52 am Post

Thanks, devinganger and lunk, for sharing your thoughts.

I can see your arguments entirely, and I have great empathy with the points that you have made. I agree that Scrivener is a professional-grade app that uses features that are currently exclusive to macOS. On the other hand, I think that most Scrivener users don’t use and don’t need many of the professional features that macOS Scrivener offers. I know I can’t talk for all users, but I can say that of the writers I know who use Scrivener, most of them just want a platform where they can write, and very few of them actually use the grunt that is available to them in the operating system and in Scrivener itself.

I also think that as the iOS install base is far larger than the macOS install base (in terms of operating systems), it makes more financial and technical sense to go for the larger install base. I also think that iPadOS is going to get increasingly powerful and that Apple’s primary development efforts will be put into that operating system and how macOS will converge with it in the future.

In many ways, I think an app like Ulysses has already stolen a march here. I know of a number of writers who previously used Scrivener but who have switched to Ulysses for the simpler interface and iCloud syncing.

Personally, I would prefer to have the macOS version of Scrivener for as long as it trumps the iOS version, but I think that with the way Apple is developing its hardware and software, it will make more sense for most developers – especially if most of their users are regular consumers – to follow Apple’s lead.

We all know the adage about skating to where the puck is going to be, not where it is. I feel that Apple has made it clear that it is repeatedly punting the puck way down to the iOS end of the rink, away from macOS in its current state. Whether developers skate ahead of the puck or not remains to be seen.

Of course, this is just a personal opinion, and I may well be horribly wrong. On the other hand, I can’t see any other explanation for what Apple has been doing with its hardware and software in recent years. And if iOS devices are going to grow and grow at the expense of macOS devices, it feels like it would be a no-brainer to go for the largest market sector. Increasingly, people around me are giving up their desktop and laptop computers. Perhaps I live in an atypical part of the world.

If I were Keith, I think I would either follow Apple’s lead or take the opportunity now to call it a day, sell the company, embrace early retirement, and bask in the Sun.

Only time knows the answer.

Slàinte mhòr.

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Sun Jun 09, 2019 1:20 pm Post

Interesting observations JoRo, and I have no doubt that you are right in terms of Apple's overall intentions (or wishlist) to have everyone move to iPadOS in so far as is possible. But the fact that they have just re-designed the Mac Pro for the second time in 6 years, and introduced the ability to add external storage to the iPad, seems to indicate that even Apple thinks we're a long way from having iPads capable of replicating the complexity of MacOS, and of finding a way to allow desk/laptop users to recreate all workflows work on iPad.

The other thing, of course, is that Scrivener has become more feature rich, rather than less, over the past few years. That is presumably in response to sufficiently high customer demand. It's rare here to see people asking for less power or fewer functions! I have iOS Scriv on an iPad, and I've probably only opened it a handful of times. It's not that I don't like it, it's just that the combination of apps on my laptop, along with its trackpad and other hardware, create a much more pleasing and productive environment. When iPadOS allows me to recreate that environment, without sacrificing app functionality, then I'll happily jump on board.


PS - Interesting to see some posters here speculating as to the future while simultaneously trying to shut down other threads with similarly speculative musings :?