Apple Design Awards - *sob*


You are a winner … you don’t need one of those awards to tell you that, no matter how nice it would have been. And I think of it this way, awards and competitions are looking for specific things. Scrivener may be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it clearly didn’t meet the specific thing that the awards were aimed at … perhaps OS-X “bling!”.

A true story of precisely that:
I don’t know if it’s still running, but in 2002 a French software company that produces a mathematics modelling program organised a national competition for universities here in China, in which the competing teams had to produce a toolbox extending the capabilities of the software. The competition — or contest, as they insist on calling them here in China! — was organised at this end by the Mathematics Department of Tsinghua university, in most people’s estimation, and most certainly in their own, China’s top university.
A bunch of 2nd year Computer Science undergraduates with a 3rd year as the group leader was one of the teams that entered from Xiamen University. To the immense fury of Tsinghua, they were one of the two winners of the competition along with a team of graduates from the Aeronautics University in Beijing. Tsinghua entered a considerable number of teams, all of them graduates in Mathematics or Computer Sciences.
So how did this happen? The Tsinghua teams all wrote tool-boxes based on solving the problems that they were working on for their dissertations. My Xiada chums — three of them have become good friends — wrote a GUI for what up till then had only had a command line interface. That was the sort of thing that the competition was about, creating a toolbox that would be widely useful, not just one that served your immediate needs.
At the awards ceremony at Tsinghua, the head of the Mathematics Department, who had chaired the organising committee, went up to my friend in a fury that his postgraduates had been beaten by a bunch of undergraduates from an inferior university, and said amongst other things, “I bet you don’t dare enter again next year!” On the other hand, one of the judges from France told Lao Da that he had immediately installed the GUI on his own machine and was now using it himself.
Teams from Xiada did enter again the next year, including one led by one of the members of that winning team. What happened? They won again. This time they wrote two toolboxes, one making it possible to run the application over a LAN, when to date it was a standalone app, and another toolbox to let you access it over the internet using a standard browser as the interface. Tsinghua had still not learnt the lesson that you have to know what the competition is really about.

So Keith, don’t feel down about not winning … it was perhaps not the right awards competition for you. Let me qualify that … If these awards were really about software that will bring people over to OS-X, then the committee missed a trick, 'cos Scrivener can pull people over from Windows, 'cos Windows has nothing to match it. No matter how worthy the winning apps were, they don’t strike me as being things that will convert Windows users.
And as Juddbert, I think it was, said in the Sensible Windows thread: a Windows user will say “Look how cheap my hardware/software was!” whereas a Mac user will say “Hey, look what I’ve been able to do on my Mac!” … i.e. bling! Scrivener is a great app for people who want to get on with their writing and enjoy the process, but it’s not about that kind of bling! But it seems to me that that is more what the awards were likely to have been about.


I have not tried Scrivener yet, but let me suggest the reason Apple ignored it was Scrivener’s minimal capabilities with Apple’s two primary word processors, Pages and AppleWorks. I use Pages for final work, and other lesser programs like MacJournal & Text Edit for initial drafts.

If Scrivener integrated better with Pages &/or AppleWorks I bet you would have a better chance of at least being a finalist. Apple is not about supporting the word processors of its competitors such as Mellel etc.


Lesser programs? MacJournal? LESSER PROGRAMS? Durrr (shakes head in utter amazement). Dan Schimpf may well disagree… I certainly do!

iGreg, Scrivener supports Pages just fine. Perhaps if you have any issues in that department it would be a good idea to post them in Technical Support or Wish List. But then, given that you have “not tried Scrivener yet”, I fail to see how you are in any position to judge how well Scrivener works with Pages. In many forums, your post would be considered what is called “flame bait”. Fortunately we have a very sensible and mature user base here who are not baited easily. :slight_smile:

Quite right, Keith. Very glad to see that lack of flaming. I found the post a bit amusing myself. How could someone who has never tried Scr. assess its usability with any program, much less Apple’s Pages? Perhaps that is why iGreg implies Scr. works better with Mellel than with other word processors. And Appleworks? I haven’t even seen that program much less heard anything concerning it for well over a year now. Interesting that there are folks still using it. I found it to be even more limited than Pages for my usage, but then again, that’s just me, I suppose!


What, “Delicious Library” has won the award? That’s the thing I mentioned in the “Software you said goodbye to” thread (though v1 there). A very nice product. Nice and essentially useless. It may have bit more “Mac feeling” to it compared to Scrivener, but I don’t think I could make a living with it. :wink:

I was going entirely by what I read about the various word processors on this site in the information this site provided on exports to the various word processors.

This comes from your FAQ linked below, see III [5]

[url]Scrivener FAQ]

This FAQ was written by KB.

BTW, regarding MacJournal, I was using “lesser” merely as regards to amount of features and uses it has as compared to full blown word processors such as Word, Mellel, Pages etc. MacJournal is a journal & note organizer with some features of a word processor, but most of us would not have just MacJournal without also having a word processor as mentioned above.

iGreg, actually 99% of the FAQ has been written by myself. I have left Keith’s signature on the document to lend it a certain degree of credibility, but have made it very clear in the preamble that it is maintained by me, and that there may or may not be inaccuracies in the document.

That said, the word processor research that I performed for the section you quoted did show Pages to have a less than adequate handling of RTF standards. So you are right to point that out. Where I think you err is in your implication that this is somehow the fault of Scrivener. Actually, it produces very standard RTFs. It is up to the word processor to handle these standards, and the fact of the matter is, Apple has demonstrated their lack of interest in doing so, not only with the basic RTF support package available to Cocoa developers, but with their flagship page layout program as well. As for AppleWorks, I wouldn’t even know where to begin integration testing. I haven’t seen a copy of that distributed since 2002.

The beta version of Scrivener has advanced its interoperability with these standards so that it now stands above most of the competition in regards to how much of the RTF standard it imports. As for exporting, I believe that remains the same, but I do intend to do another battery of tests in the near future. I’ve been somewhat holding off for iWork '07, which seems to slowed down. Mellel has gone through a large update, and Nissus has come out with a pro version of their word processor. So that section is due for an update.

I just finished a big project, and I would have liked to be able to just export from Scrivener to Pages. But I couldn’t, and I had to first export to Word, then save the document as a DOC file, and finally open it in Pages. I use Pages because it’s the cheapest option to get a decent page layout, real printer-grade font features, and produce decent PDFs. I know that it’s not Scrivener’s fault that Pages does not support a more robust RTF. Yet, this is another case in which pointing fingers doesn’t really solve the user’s problem. DT does not support Pages yet, and when you ask the developers, they blame it on Apple.

This is not a criticism to Keith, or to Scrivener. But I think that it’s okay to discuss the little imperfections of something you love dearly.

When it comes to writing, I wouldn’t change Scrivener for anything; but, it would be nice to go directly from Scrivener to Pages. Meanwhile, MS Word (that ugly monster) is able to produce documents perfectly readable by Pages.

Or, put another way, Apple has decided that it’s important for Pages to be able to read files generated by the market leader (Word), and that it isn’t important to read standard-compliant RTF files.

It’s true that pointing fingers doesn’t help the user get work done, but it’s also true that Apple is ultimately responsible for Pages, and they have chosen not to follow the RTF standard. Independent developers, with limited time and resources, therefore have to choose between supporting Pages’ own internal format, which may or may not be well-documented, and supporting a format that works fine with Pages’ many competitors (including Word). Given that choice, what would you do?


Thanks, Katherine. That is precisely the issue at bay. It isn’t just Pages we are talking about here. It is every single word processor that more than ten people use, because that is all it takes to make a “vocal majority” on a forum. You can either go the route of having your application produce industry standard documents, or you can spend months, even years, creating dozens of exporters; hacking black-box binary formats; and hoping that everybody keeps their format stable (which they will not).

When it comes down to it, love it or hate (which most of us do), there is only one word processor worth going through all of that effort for–and it certainly is not Pages.

Those of you who are speculating about reasons for Scriv not to win an award should review the Design Awards judging criteria, and then see how Scriv compares to the two winners in the UE category in regards to the criteria.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Scrivener a lot, but the competition is really good, too. And on the whole, it’s hard to say how Scrivener is “better.”

Gee, thanks, Gordon. I wasn’t actually saying that those apps didn’t deserve to win - as I have made clear several times, they are more than worthy winners. (Did you even read my earlier posts?) I was just sobbing that Scrivener didn’t, which I am allowed to do (as a sore loser, as I said). What’s wrong with that? Congratulations to those apps - and I mean it. But I can still feel sad that Scrivener didn’t win, can’t I? I did, after all, put several years’ work into it, am greatly invested in it and am allowed to feel that it should win. That is my prerogative. If I didn’t feel that way then really I shouldn’t be charging for it. But really, thanks for that. :unamused: Now, if you would like to be a little more constructive and actually post the sections of those rules - which, believe it or not (shock, horror!) I have read - that you feel Scrivener fell down on, that would make a more interesting discussion and may even lead to Scrivener becoming a better application. Though actually, I have read those rules and feel that Scrivener fits them very well. Which is not to say that the other apps do not. How many times must I say that I think both of the winners are more than worthy? THEY DESERVE IT! I can still be miffed that Scrivener didn’t win, can’t I? No, apparently not. I think I’m going to have to start being more “professional”. Ho-hum.

Yeah, I’m in a fricking bad mood right now. :slight_smile:

Keith, is it possible that the problem is that the categories are too broad? You entered Scriv in User Experience, the only really applicable category. The winner and runner up seemed aimed at developers, in both cases website makers. Whereas Scriv is more of a document creation program for end users. Given that WWDC is aimed at developers more than end users, maybe that’s why it didn’t place? Obviously most of us here consider it our favorite app, and it deserves to win beaucoups awards. Maybe there should be more categories? Are there other contests that provide more specific categories?

Hi Brett - I don’t think there is really any “problem”. :slight_smile: Scrivener was beaten by two excellent programs; the judges just happened to prefer them over Scrivener, and that is perfectly valid, even though I damn them to hell (j/k). I don’t think the categories are too broad because they have to accommodate nearly any app, and Scrivener - I think - certainly fit into User Experience. No, the only problem is me being a bit miffed because I wanted a nice, free cinema display!

Sure. I wasn’t talking about Pages either. Yes, Apple is ultimately responsible for Pages, that goes without saying. Small development efforts have limited resources and time, that goes without saying. But this is a forum to discuss possible solutions for writing scenarios in which Scrivener is used. I don’t think that shunning those of us who print with Pages is the best solution to this specific problem. Dialogues do not go far where solutions are foreclosed.

Whether we like it or not, MS Word is one of the industry standards. And, yes, their format has been changing over the years, and they are changing it again. Yet, in 20 years of using Word, the DOC format–in its different incarnations–has always been supported by other word processors and page layout programs (hence, Apples support of DOC files). I was suggesting that a good work around to the Pages problem was to support MS Word’s DOS format. If Scrivener were to export DOC files, I wouldn’t need Word as a middle step towards Pages.

I don’t know about other users, and I’m probably alone here, but I need to produce manuscripts that follow certain guidelines, and that cannot be done in Scrivener. Scrivener is a wonderful writing environment–minus a couple of features that would be nice to have–but it is not a page layout program. Therefore, I need to use another program to print my documents. It just happens that, for my budget, Pages is the best tool.

Emphasis, mine. Scrivener, as conceived and developed by Keith, encourages writing; not formatting.


But Scrivener exports as Doc files. And the whole point of Scrivener is that you write in it as opposed to make text look pretty.