Future of Scrivener?

I am wondering what the outlook for my favorite writing program looks like. Is it still actively being developed and maintained?

What are the plans toward better integration with iOS? Whatever happened to the iPad app?

I am familiar with the existing sync features but they don’t work well for my workflow/habits.

The iOS version info viewtopic.php?f=4&t=29755&p=194252&sid=4441dbd561fe0c46e043dfba9cb9fca0#p194252
(tl;dr version: It’s being tested internally at the moment. With luck, out in a few/several months :question: .)

The developer for the Mac version has been dropping hints about future updates, both free point releases and a paid release further down the road. So yeah, it’s being actively developed on all fronts, though the iOS version has been the focus of both iOS and Mac developers lately.

:question: I am not affiliated with Lit & Lat; so I have no insider knowledge and cannot speak for the company in any way. I just waste a lot of time here on the forums.[/size]

Well, we had a minor update last year, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Scrivener is being very actively developed. :slight_smile: I am currently spending twelve hours a day coding the next major version, which has been in development for a loooong time. And, aside from holidays, I have spent every day coding Scrivener for the past eleven years of my life, so no fear there. It might seem as though not much is happening, but that’s only because big things are happening behind the scenes. :slight_smile:

This year is going to be a big year for Scrivener - big features, big overhauls, website refreshes. And, before all of that, the iOS version will be released. The iOS version is currently in internal testing. It’s feature-complete, but we’re testing for bugs and making refinements now that we are using it in-house and finding the rough edges and problems before it makes it into the hands of the users. We still need to put it to a wider beta-testing group and get an icon designed, and I need to write the tutorial for it… But we’re nearly there. Expect a mid-late summer release. And watch this space.

Along with all the cool stuff that is coming to Scrivener, I’ve also been spending a lot of time modernising the code-base so that it is future-proof (and will be Swift-compatible eventually). So, forget old-fashioned 32-bit, the next major version will be fully 64-bit with a modernised UI and all modern conventions used under-the-hood to have it ready for the next ten years of development.

We’ve only been quiet because we’re not ready to start shouting about what we’ve been working on yet, and because we’ve spent the past couple of years making premature announcements and thinking we were further along than we were. I can’t wait to start showing off some of the overhauls, but… Not yet. :slight_smile:

I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear that. Scrivener is very important to me, so I truly appreciate all the hard work you put into it.

Oooooh, more bits for scrivener!!! Great to hear, can’t wait to beta test Scrivener Next!!!

Wot! :open_mouth: How the figgin’ ‘ell can y call hobnobin’ with us intlecktyual gyiants a wayst of time!!? :imp: Jeeeezzzz!! wot y’ like?

This is great news. I was a bit worried that L&L had been caught up in the Great Mobile Rush and Scrivener/Mac was going to lose out because of it.

Very happy to hear this is not the case and looking forward to seeing the new version.

Well, that’s made my day!

Very happy to hear that too!! Scrivener is an absolutely essential part of my workflow. I have been using Scrivener each and every day since the days of Scrivener Gold, and I really wouldn’t know how to work without it anymore. If some cruel dictator would force me to throw away all my applications except one, the one I would keep would be Scrivener.

I don’t share the opinion of those who think Scrivener’s UI is outdated. Or rather, I don’t care a damn if it’s a bit old-fashioned or not, as long as it’s clear and as long as the program as such works well. And both are undoubtedly the case.

For me, Scrivener is good as it is now; I don’t think it has any major defects. But on the other hand: it is very nice to be assured that Scrivener will remain future proof, and all major updates until now have been truly excellent. So I can’t wait to see the next one, or at least to get some concrete information about it.

Thanks all! It’s nice to see some of the old guard still around and using Scrivener, too; it’s been quite stressful seeing some users get angry at us for taking so long over the iOS version and taking their business elsewhere (sometimes very vocally!). :slight_smile:

Rest assured that the Mac version has not been much affected by the mobile version - that’s the whole reason I always insisted on having another developer for the iOS version and not coding it myself. I have spent some time on the mobile version code, but only in two areas: (1) the rich text system, seeing as iOS uses the same text system as the Mac, so I spent some time recoding parts of Scrivener’s text system to work on both platforms; (2) the syncing code, seeing as that also has to work on both platforms.

Other that that, though, I’ve been working flat-out on a major overhaul of the Mac version. There are several months’ worth of work that isn’t even going to be noticeable to users, though. For instance, I overhauled the codebase to make it 64-bit (Scrivener 2.x is still 32-bit). Also, Apple has completely changed the way outline and table (list) views are drawn under the hood, which means the binder, outliner, collections, keywords lists and everything like them all need huge amounts of recoding just to make them work the same but use modern methods (which is fun I’m having at the moment). They’ll be better for it, and have some improvements, but it’s a lot of under-the-surface tinkering that takes time without much to show for it.

Much of my focus is going on better integrating the tools already there, too, and decluttering without removing features. It’s more about refinement than adding lots of new things. Scrivener’s never going to be “minimalist”, but I would love to get rid of its reputation for having a steep learning curve. (Which is partly our own fault for having a bloated tutorial and a 400-page manual, ha.)

There’s still lots to do, and it’s frustrating to see other software putting out great releases and refreshes while knowing that we are still several months away. I’m looking forward to it, though.

allow me to argue with you…

Yes, if you are trying to use scriv as a word processor (instead of word) or you have uber strict needs, scriv can be tough. But I think, and that’s a questionable activity, I think the “learning curve” really is “unlearning” the idea of formatting and editing as you type. If you consider scrivener in the context that you originally intended it it is very simple to use.

  1. Open new project.
  2. Type up a few ideas in a new doc.
  3. Split that into sub docs.
  4. two and three repeat.
  5. Look in outliner mode if you are an outliner and do what outliner types do.
  6. WRITE
  7. Split and reword.
  8. Compile.

The problem is that folks hang onto things they’ve done in other programs. Take revision. While snapshots are great and all, I stopped using them. I leverage time machine and on disk backup. Maybe I’m dumb or slower than others, but really, how many of us need more than that?

i guess I’m done. Keep going with scriv using the vision you have. If you really think it needs pared down/cleaned up go for it. Otherwise, make the power people learn and encourage the rest of us to get out of our own way…

And now I’m done for real. Time to go fishing and wait for some useful idea to spring into my head only to be forgotten.

Oh, I’m not going to pare it down; I love all the things it does too much for that. Well, if I’m honest, there are things I would remove because I don’t use them that much myself: collections, the freeform corkboard, script mode, yes, snapshots too, and custom meta-data. But that’s about it; I either use everything else or have realised why I don’t use it (usually because it’s something that seemed useful to me but then wasn’t integrated enough with other tools for it to be something I ended up using) and have refined it for the next major update so that I’m much more excited about it. (Examples include references and keywords: think of being able to see the content of your references right there in the Inspector, or being able to use the keywords to navigate through documents, for instance.)

Oh, and to anyone reading this, don’t worry: I have no intention of removing collections, script mode, freeform corkboard, snapshots or custom meta-data. All of those things are much beloved by many users and are here to stay. I’m just giving examples of things I don’t use much myself (whereas, as the creator of Scriv, I use most of everything else).

It’s less about paring it down that making things better integrated and less confusing in the way you access them (less cluttered menus and so on). And about breaking up the tutorial a bit. With 2.x, I just added a lot to the tutorial, so that it now takes several hours (!) to go through. I think that’s why people think it has a learning curve. I plan to break the tutorial up, and have a section that teaches the basics in ten minutes, and then tells the user to come back and dip into the other sections as and when they need them.

Lots of plans and it’s March already, and only a week until I reach the age of the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. Argh.

Heh. I resemble that remark. If you don’t hear much from the ‘old guard’ then it’s probably because we’re busy using Scrivener and don’t really have much to complain about in terms of bugs or ask for in terms of new functionality.
I average about four hours a day writing. In the last six years or so, Scrivener has only been shut down for OS upgrades, two house moves and a suspected heart attack (to bring the laptop to A&E so I could finish the back cover blurb). It clocks up more hours of usage than anything else on my Mac, including Safari.

Yes, I’ve read some of those comments. My personal take is ‘It’s late software – no one died. Watch Comic Relief for ten minutes and get some perspective.’

I’m afraid it’s human nature. We complain when things go wrong, but we don’t say anything when things go well. You have a massive user base of customers who are, silently, very happy with what they have.

Seriously, the internet is an echo chamber of negativity.

And Happy Birthday for next week (42 if I’m remembering your reference correctly) :smiley:

It’s called not “managing customer expectations”. I admit to being one of those very vocal and vociferous people complaining about the nonappearance of Scrivener for iOS even going so far as a call it “vapourware” because there was no information being given out. Months would go by with no mention of the iOS version at all. It should not be a surprise that regular and active users looking to have a sizable hole in their writing workflow filled would get angry at the lack of information and that some would defect to other less capable products that had tried to fill that hole.

Back when I worked in software R&D with some customer facing roles our company’s policy was we never ever talked about new product until we had the gold master in our hands and could release it to customers. That managed the customer expectations without losing any of them. The only customers who got any R&D information at all were the favoured few who paid for the inclusion of specific features. (If we didn’t like their ideas then we priced the work accordingly — out of their budget.) We had a good product; so good it remains on the market now after more than 20 years and in the niche market it serves continues to be the premier product. But no one talked about new product or new features or new platforms early.

Tsk: And you a former schoolteacher, too, accustomed to enduring adolescent angst.

Since the first Beta, pre-gold, I’ve done all my writing, and all the editing, management, and acquisitions work for a bi-monthly magazine, exclusively in Scrivener, and wouldn’t go back to Word for worlds. I’ve been waiting for an iOS version, too, but I’m in no hurry: There’s no point my buying an iPad until Scrivener’s available for it, because that’s what I’m running 90 percent of the day.

The most strident requests seem to come not from writers, or from people who are seriously striving to be writers, but from caffeinated dabblers who simply can’t finish that world-beating novel unless Scrivener’s icons are snappier and the metadata creates its own dialogue, on all platforms including the Apple Watch.

When the signal-to-noise ratio tips over the line, just reflect back to those good old classroom days.

I’ve been using Scrivener since at least 2008—might be longer but that’s the earliest licence key email I can find—and like you use it daily for all my writing activities whether they are caffeinated dabblings (that I have finished thank you so very much) to papers and book reviews for scholarly journals through to (non-fiction) books published by major publishing houses. I’m also not influenced by bling. I couldn’t care less what icons are there I want to use the keyboard at all times because I touch type and taking my hands away from the keyboard slows me down.

I already had an iPad and an iPhone purchased well before any indication of an iOS version might be in the offing. That it might appear soon fills a hole in my writing workflow.

Who are you to say that someone’s best efforts are not to be valued! Just because you’re published and they are no does not make your writing any better than theirs.

That wasn’t meant to be a snarky remark! It’s genuinely nice to hear from people who have been using Scrivener for the best part of a decade now. (It’s always good to hear from new users, too, of course - I’d hate anyone to drop in and mistake my remark for cliquey-ness - but it’s very gratifying to know that Scrivener has proved worthy of keeping its place in people’s workflows for so long.)

That’s some serious commitment - I hope your health is fine now, though.

Yes, that’s the one, but let’s not say the number out loud. :slight_smile:

Well, as I think I’ve said elsewhere, you live and learn. We now know we were foolish to mention the development of the iOS version before we had any clue how difficult it would prove, but at the time, people were clamouring for it, we thought it would only take a year at most (ha!) and, well, mistakes were made. We’re not a big company with any written rules or policies, just a handful of people enthusiastic about what we make (which isn’t to say big companies aren’t enthusiastic, just more guarded and experienced!).

But just to clarify my earlier remark (although I did take exception to your use of the term “vapourware” :slight_smile: ), I’m not in any way railing against users who have vented their frustration. Although there’s the occasional angry email or post that I wish had been toned down a little (“I would underline all the expletives ever directed at you” was a fun recent missive), for the most part I recognise these expressions of angst for what they are: genuine enthusiasm for Scrivener subverted by frustration at having to wait so long for an iOS version. And we are grateful for that enthusiasm while wishing we could have avoided the frustration by delivering earlier. (On the other hand, we still think our desktop products stand well on their own - even if parts of the UI are looking a little dated, which is being remedied - but we’re not talking about that yet!)

No, my remark wasn’t directed at those users expressing their frustrations to us; I was purely talking about how it’s sad to lose some valued long-time users and see them now very enthusiastic about other software on social media. The other products they are using are fantastic, and we have no hard feelings towards those users or to the vendors of the products they are now using - people have to use what’s best for them. But I get attached to users and it’s sad to see them go. :frowning: I should add, lest I sound as though I fear we’re on a sinking ship (I definitely don’t), that we are very fortunate to remain the leading software in our niche, it’s just that right now we are in what must seem like a period of inactivity to many users (like the op), simply because we are not at a stage yet to reveal all the furious work we have been doing. But things are afoot, and we will be excited to reveal more when the time is right.

Ha, but there’s a reason I prefer being a software developer than a teacher! :slight_smile: That’s great to hear you are still using Scrivener so much. Apple will have an iPad purchase from you before the year is out, I promise!

All the best,

I love this music! :slight_smile:
Now that I said that, I fear Keith would do the opposite…
May I retire what I just said?


Maybe misunderstandings arose because some users (in particular newer ones) confused L&L’s approach to software development and customer relation to the ones of a major company. Older users might have been aware that Keith and his gang have always developed software to satisfy a personal need, and this eventually became a commercial enterprise.

L&L’s approach has been very different from a traditional software house: the forum, the place where the developers interact with the users, is not merely a support tool, but the place where software development begins. So, when Scrivener for iPad was announced it was not the beginning of a commercial agreement, but a talk between friends about a possible creation. That will eventually become a commercial enterprise.


Disagree. It was the long very long too very long periods of silence about what was happening with the iOS version that pissed off both existing and new users. You can see the fallacy in your own argument by checking the archives here for just how much news was given between the withdrawal of the original developer (for personal reasons) and the more recent progress reports. Or check out the Scrivener FaceBook page and see how many people there complained about the silence (and seemingly still do). There was no excuse. Drip-feeding some news would have been better than KB having to write a long apology diverting him from main stream Scrivener development.

Yes, yes, we made mistakes, but “no excuse”, really? We’re not committing war atrocities here. :slight_smile: And there’s “no excuse” because we had genuine reasons every step of the way. Our lack of communication was mainly because we were really, really busy with the actual business of writing the software (although I disagree entirely about the scope of the lack of communication - we responded to every single question both here and via social media, but presumably you wanted a blog every week that said we were still working on it). I wrote a very nice and polite reply to your criticisms above; I’d be very grateful if you could try to reciprocate and keep things civil. Let’s keep things nice and friendly in this Sunday conversation, eh?

One thing to remember is, we actually give users a platform for criticising us directly and publicly. Some of our competitors and many software companies these days have done away with their forums completely, and don’t allow comments on their blogs, so users either have to email them or vent about them somewhere they are unlikely to receive a reply. We, on the other hand, let our users vent at us, because we enjoy communicating with them (mostly :stuck_out_tongue: ).