9th NOV - LEE'S UPDATE

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LAP
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Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:32 am Post

Hi All,

Firstly, thank you for the excellent feedback. The quality of excellent descriptive posts, screen shots, and sample files has been fantastic. This really is invaluable to us.

I've also noticed considerable effort by many of you kind folk loitering around the forum posts and providing guidance to each other, which again is invaluable to all of us. Thank you.

To be honest, I've cruised yesterday and today, I think my mind was a mush in the wake of beta 1.3 and I needed to step down a few gears to re-focus. In light of that, I'd like to step away from code this week and get a handle on all the current bug posts to date and consolidate a succinct list of known bugs and missing features and publish them as an announcement on this forum for all to see in a central location. I want to do this as I'm finding it difficult to focus on two things at once; I am male after all. I'm hoping it will also help slow the duplication of reported bugs and provide a clearer view for all of us.

I'm not sure how we could do this, but once the core RTF bugs are fixed, which I'll write a few paragraphs on in a moment, if somehow we could work out a way efficiently to vote on the order of fixes - that would be rather cool, and would enable us to deliver the most desired (demanded) functionality in the order you wanted them. I'll let you all work out a cunning strategy - or at the very least tell me that it's a really crap idea.

Okay, rich text format (RTF) and why I want to deal with this next. Scrivener is a writing tool, and writers write, right? We need to get this perfect as soon as possible so you can write effortlessly, focused only on expressing your thoughts without being distracted by the program you're using. This is fundamental in my mind, and often why you can't go past pen and paper for the ultimate flow.

The problem we have at the moment is that Qt, the C++ framework Scrivener is built on, uses a cut down version of HTML as its editor engine. What this means is that when text is cut and pasted into Scrivener from HTML or Word etc. stray characters are often augmented and remain invisible in the Qt editor - this is the first problem and is a Qt problem that we need to fix. We have decided to bypass this altogether and augment the Qt source code so that all pasted text is first filtered through our own RTF parser. We have not started this work yet, but plan to soon.

The second issue we have is what happens upon exporting or saving a Scrivener document to disk. First the editor text in memory is converted to RTF by our own RTF writer (as Qt does not support RTF out of the box) and when that same file is loaded or imported into the editor it is then parsed through our RTF reader and then loaded into memory for the editor to display. We have many issues with both the reader and writer at the moment and need to re-write large chunks of the code which we have started to do. Interestingly, this was one of the few pieces of work that I farmed out to an expert Qt programmer for 12 weeks to meet the Sept 25th deadline. We are paying for that now and are no longer using these 'expert' services. Instead we are fixing many design flaws ourselves - I hate the saying, but my father was right again when he said, 'If you want something done right, do it yourself.'

The good news is that all this 'expert' code is not lost and we fundamentally understand the problem. It's not like we're scratching our heads wondering how to fix this. It's simply a matter of head down bum up and get through it. We have about four weeks ahead of us to remedy all these import/export/pasting and editor issues such as tables, weird line spacings, and hidden characters etc. that many users are reporting. You'll not get your double spacing features without it either.

So, the reality is that 1.4 will be a huge leap forward, but is probably a month away. After that we can have some fun and start prioritizing which bugs and missing features get fixed first, so we have time to work this all out. If all this takes us until the end of Feb/Mar (which I'm not for a minute suggesting this is likely) then I really don't care, Scrivener, like writing, is a passion for me and I just want to remain focused on making Scrivener for Windows the best it can be.

Lee

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katestap
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Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:59 am Post

I've been waiting a long time for Scrivener for windows and thank you so much for all your efforts in working through the bugs. I've been a spectator to this forum partly because my issues were already being addressed by others but mostly because others express their issues with such great clarity.

That said, while the type lag seems to have been addressed for most people, I'm still having a problem. It's not just a lag, but when the type does appear, it bears no resemblance to what I typed in the first place. It's random letters. I haven't had these issues with any other programs, so it isn't a function of my computer speed. I've updated, then uninstalled then reinstalled the software but it still doesn't seem to work. I''m not fantastically techy, so there might be something I ought to be doing that I'm not.

JJ
JJSlote
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Tue Nov 09, 2010 12:50 pm Post

Lee, have you looked at Windows' own Wordpad engine for RTF editing? Jarte, a terrific third-party editor, is built around the Wordpad core DLL shipped with Windows.

Je
Jeco
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Tue Nov 09, 2010 1:05 pm Post

Thank you very much for both the new beta update and this note regarding your plans for the development of Scrivener. I think your are absolutely right by concentrating first on correcting the RTF code. Certain bugs can be annoying but we always find some way around it. Your idea for the list of bugs makes sense. In the end Scrivener for Windows will be terrific and that's what counts.

Thank you again so very much for your efforts. We are all behind you.

Take care.

Cheers.

Jeco
Writing is sculpturing your dream.

pk
pking36330
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Tue Nov 09, 2010 3:39 pm Post

katestap wrote:That said, while the type lag seems to have been addressed for most people, I'm still having a problem. It's not just a lag, but when the type does appear, it bears no resemblance to what I typed in the first place. It's random letters. I haven't had these issues with any other programs, so it isn't a function of my computer speed. I've updated, then uninstalled then reinstalled the software but it still doesn't seem to work. I''m not fantastically techy, so there might be something I ought to be doing that I'm not.


I echo the thanks for attempting to build this plane while it is in flight.

That said, I have to place my vote to correcting the 'lag issue' first above RTF and the rest. I've tried all the spell check options, longer save options, and everything else I've read here, and still experience lag on both systems on which I've tried to use the program. One older but very stable XP desktop that is capable of every other program I run on it, and the other a fast, new i5 laptop running Win7. Same lag on both and it makes the program unusable except as an organizer. I have been unable to write in the program from the first release through the v1.3 Beta.

The RTF issue can be completely overcome in the near-term by only copying and pasting text through the Notepad app, which will remove all those pesky hidden characters, but the lag issue makes the program unusable for its primary purpose, writing.
Last edited by pking36330 on Tue Nov 09, 2010 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sh
shrike
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Tue Nov 09, 2010 3:46 pm Post

Thanks for the update, Lee. Some of the most distracting bugs (indenting, spell-checking, mutant fonts, etc.) have been fixed, so I'm finding that writing with Scrivener is a pure joy. Maybe I'm unique but I haven't noticed any lag at all when using the program (with an early version while backspacing over a line of text, yes, but not with 1.3). I love that it provides lots of great features but stays in the background while I write, rather than imposing functions and tabs and fields to populate.
I wanted to thank you for all the great work so far during the Beta, thanks for porting this great app to Windows in the first place, and thanks for giving us a glimpse at what you're working on next. Your work is very much appreciated.

Di
DiscoveredJoys
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Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:52 pm Post

Sorting the RTF bugs out? Yes top priority, no question.

All other bugs? Sort out the top 100 and number them 1 to 100 (doh!). Invite people to submit an email (or a forum post if easier?) voting for the top ten bugs - but here's the interesting bit - people are allowed to vote for ten bugs e.g. "1,23,4,5,7,66,52,87,22,10", the order being unimportant, or ten times for one bug e.g. "42,42,42,42,42,42,42,42,42,42" if that is the most important one for them. Or a mix of five votes, 3 votes, 2 votes for the top 3 bugs etc.

A quick bit of spreadsheetery or string parsing, and you've got a prioritised list of bugs.

Wi
WillMunny
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Tue Nov 09, 2010 5:53 pm Post

Hey Lee, thanks for everything so far. Very happy with Scrivener.

Your idea of voting to prioritize bug fixes / missing features is excellent. Perhaps the forum's polling function can be used to do that -- it'd probably be easier than sorting through emails, etc, and give folks a nice visual indication of the rankings.

Lo
Louis Cypher
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Tue Nov 09, 2010 6:07 pm Post

people are allowed to vote for ten bugs e.g. "1,23,4,5,7,66,52,87,22,10", the order being unimportant, or ten times for one bug e.g. "42,42,42,42,42,42,42,42,42,42" if that is the most important one for them. Or a mix of five votes, 3 votes, 2 votes for the top 3 bugs etc.


Very good Idea. Perhaps you can use something existing

I liked this one that exactly does what you proposed:
http://uservoice.com/plans?utm_campaign ... rvoice.com

they are using this one, but I don't know which version
http://uservoice.com/plans?utm_campaign ... rvoice.com

Markus

P.S: Congratulations Lee for staying such focussed even working all day, all night
I definately LOVE scrivener! You guys reinvented writing and made it a pleasure instead of a "must be done" job. Thank you! Quality is not being bug free, it's having the features and abilities I need.

Windows XP 64 Service Pack 2 on i7

pk
pking36330
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Tue Nov 09, 2010 6:58 pm Post

Louis Cypher wrote:Very good Idea. Perhaps you can use something existing

I liked this one that exactly does what you proposed:
http://uservoice.com/plans?utm_campaign ... rvoice.com

they are using this one, but I don't know which version
http://uservoice.com/plans?utm_campaign ... rvoice.com


I think they were thinking about a poll using the tools built into the forum (phpBB). Selecting NEW TOPIC permits you to start a poll instead of a text thread.
Attachments
ScrivPoll.PNG
Poll at the bottom.
ScrivPoll.PNG (57.17 KiB) Viewed 2398 times

sa
sablebadger
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Tue Nov 09, 2010 7:35 pm Post

How awesome is Scrivener for Windows?

I've already doubled my output from my last attempt at NaNo, and I'm still going strong. That's how awesome.

The tool, even in beta form, does what it needs to, doesn't try to do too much, and just lets you get it done. I love the corkboard feature (that's why I'm still going).

Great job guys, and I love the work you've done from 1.0 to 1.3.

Thank YOU!

-- badger

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LAP
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Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:58 pm Post

JJSlote wrote:Lee, have you looked at Windows' own Wordpad engine for RTF editing? Jarte, a terrific third-party editor, is built around the Wordpad core DLL shipped with Windows.


Thanks JJSlote. I had not considered Wordpad core DLL as I wanted to have the ability to augment and modify any part of our core text engine as Scrivener matures over the years - I wanted to have complete flexibility here with no boundaries. For example, there are Mac Scrivener specific RTF codes/hacks we need to cater for which would be difficult with a proprietary closed system such as Wordpad. Keith, on the Mac platform has had to engage a myriad of hocus-pocus-shape-shifting-trickering to get the proprietary Mac text system to jump through the Scrivener hoops. I did not want to have the same frustrations on Windows, it's certainly tougher up front as you have less to offer initially and can’t leverage from in built functionality out of the box, but longer term the yield is going to be far better for us. So, it's all about flexibility and not being tied down and constrained technically.

Oh, there's one other thing. If I went and used a Microsoft DLL for Scrivener's core text engine, I'd need a volunteer sacrifice to go and tell those tech-crazed Linux zealots, who happen to use Scrivener for Linux natively, that someone just stepped on and crushed their toy - any volunteers?

Lee

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AmberV
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Tue Nov 09, 2010 9:08 pm Post

I think this is a wise investment of time as well. There already things you can do with the Scrivener RTF engine that WordPad has trouble with, such as footnotes, comments, tables and proper inline images that are supported by a variety of word processors on multiple platforms. Once it gets over the growing pains, it will be a much better platform to work off of---especially for writers which need access to more than WordPad's basic authoring provides.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

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majtophat
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Tue Nov 09, 2010 9:38 pm Post

Just have to say, thank you Lee for doing this. I have been looking forward to the day Scrivener was released for Windows for about a year. I believe that fixing the core RTF engine problems is definitely the number one priority.

LAP wrote:Oh, there's one other thing. If I went and used a Microsoft DLL for Scrivener's core text engine, I'd need a volunteer sacrifice to go and tell those tech-crazed Linux zealots, who happen to use Scrivener for Linux natively, that someone just stepped on and crushed their toy - any volunteers?


I'll pass.

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garpu
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Tue Nov 09, 2010 9:50 pm Post

LAP wrote:Oh, there's one other thing. If I went and used a Microsoft DLL for Scrivener's core text engine, I'd need a volunteer sacrifice to go and tell those tech-crazed Linux zealots, who happen to use Scrivener for Linux natively, that someone just stepped on and crushed their toy - any volunteers?


...there are ways, I'm just saying. ;)
Slackware-current 64-bit, XFCE