I wish Scrivener was an online Software as a Service (SAAS)

If Scrivener was a software as a service, it would be available online at any time.
I wouid be able to use any web browser to start writing.
It would be like Google’s word processor, Microsfoft Word, Apple Pages.
It would free writing from location and hardware.
It can then also be updated from a centralized server so updates are immediately available to everyone.
Yes, it may need to go on a subscription plan.
But the benefit is the ability to write anywhere.

If you search the forum here for some key words that relate to this request, you will find this has been discussed a number of times in different threads. It may work better to add any new thoughts you may have to one of those, but I can say that there are no plans at all for anything like this—it simply isn’t something we have any passion for.

No it isn’t. You can write anywhere PROVIDED you have stable and low cost internet. That rules out most of the USA, let alone MANY countries around the world. I have Scrivener on my MacBook Air (Mac and Win versions), my MacBook Pro (Mac and Win versions) my iPad Pro and my iPhone. I Can write anywhere, regardless of the state of internet.

Other benefit, I don’t pay a sub that inevitably turns out much more expensive than the current one-off payment.

Unless you have millions off customers and are a multinational, or you charge obscene amounts SAAS can be a loser. I can think of one Scrivener competitor who went SAAS who doesn’t exist any longer. There may be others.

Why would we want to go head-to-head with three of the biggest companies in the world?


Yup. Setting up SaaS properly as a SaaS provider requires all sorts of levels of recurring overhead that you aren’t likely to match developing stand-alone apps.

True. Especially with something as awful as saas.

That said… I believe that L&L has indeed been unnecessarily competing with Microsoft, to the extent that it has replicated the functionality of MS Word in developing Scrivener’s own full blown “word processor,” simply so it could provide users the prerequisite writing environment for using all the other Scrivener features that actually make Scrivener Scrivener, and a “word processor” only incidentally. At least that’s how I see it as a Word user. .

My “wish list” for Scrivener is that I could wrap its full Binder and Inspector and “scrivenings” functions right around Microsoft Word itself, and I could continue writing in Word, with my customized Normal template and macros, which I’ve been using forever, only now I’d have the the ability to do everything else that Scrivener does, but that Word was never intended to. This is why S3’s implementation of Styles and their swapability with Word is such a critical thing for me. I want to use Scrivener in concert with Word, not as an alternative.

Could the Scrivener concept have been developed as a “shell” application around Microsoft Word as its composition engine, without having to also develop a “word processor” in the bargain? Had that happened, it likely would have developed on the Windows side first, and would feel more native to Windows in how it did things…

One, if not the, key feature that Scrivener supports is LaTeX.

For myself, without support for LaTeX, Scrivener would just be another word processing package that I would have to struggle with to create the type of complex documents that are possible using the freely available software from the over 4,000 packages that are maintained and supported on CTAN*.

LaTeX is an amazing w_o_r_l_d that I was totally ignorant of pre-Scrivener.

In our monetized MSFT world, the concept of a universe filled with free, readily available LaTeX packages that are used and maintained by tens-of-thousands of people on countless websites world-wide is an anathema to the for-profit, monopolistic corporate entities that currently inhabit and dominate the digital ether.

Online software is one gateway that enables such for-profit corporations to justify their ability to search and destroy our privacy, all while charging us for the service and dulling our sense of propriety to accept such an intrusion as the new normal. :smiling_imp: Until legislation exists to protect users from such intrusions, I avoid online software whenever and wherever possible.

Thank you Scrivener for doing what you do … stay cool.


Scrivener was first developed many years ago as a Mac application, in an era where Word for Mac was a very sub-standard application. The Mac OS offers a very rich RTF-based text editor capability as part of its application development APIs (the standard TextEdit application included in MacOS is built on top of this text capabilities) – so Scrivener got much of the “word processor” functionality for free.

Scrivener wasn’t ported to Windows until many years later, and the “word processor” functionality that you see is simply using the Qt development framework (a cross-platform development library originally developed for Linux applications; using Qt instead of native Windows frameworks gets them closer to the functionality provided by MacOS and means that L&L has to spend less time and energy re-inventing the wheel). So the Windows version is simply playing catch-up to the functionality that MacOS has – which was developed using native MacOS capabilities that had nothing to do with Word.

Scrivener’s strengths, in fact, are distinctly un-WYSIWYG – about as non-Word as you can get. The formatting and setup that you see in the editors can have little to no relationship with the final format that gets put out after the Compile function. Others have mentioned the strong integration with LaTeX. There’s also the support for Markup.

Or take Scrivener as it is without LaTeX etc., and produce a nicely formatted prose novel for $49 US without exposing your data. Scrivener does that basic long form task very well, for all I bitch about wanting a Markdown editor. :smiley:

Use Word as Scrivener’s editor instead? :open_mouth: shudders

Actually Word 5.1a for Mac in the 1990’s to early 2000’s was brilliant. I’d still be using it if it were possible. While I was using Word 5.1a, my PC based colleagues were still using WordPerfect for DOS, apart from my section head who used Word 4 for DOS. Microsoft developed Word for Windows clearly eschewing their experience with Word for Mac. For some totally misconceived reason. they then redid Word for Mac as v. 6 by porting the awful Word for Windows over … the result was horrible.

So you’re right in a sense that Word for Mac was substandard in 2007 … it had taken a huge leap backwards, but I don’t believe that was the reason behind KB’s creation of Scrivener.



God forbid. I’m with Mark – I wrote my book with Word 5.1 for Mac, and was happy with it. Nowadays I will only touch Word when I absolutely have to because other people need it, and then only “with pinzers”, as Italians say. It fits into the Mac experience a bit like Attlia the Hun did into Europe. No doubt some Mac users will like it, but it is not for me.

I tried Pages out from frustration with Word and discovered a fully functional WP that is fast, and doesn’t have any of the nasty Word habits when copy and pasting between apps. Doesn’t help those in the Win world unfortunately. Oh for the days of AMI Pro and a couple if others back when Word for Win was a total bloated dog of an app. Oh wait, it still is :smiley:

Scrivener’s editor is actually pretty basic relative to what Word can do. As a writing app, we need some kind of editor, but TextEdit (Mac) and Notepad (PC) are better comparisons than Word.

In my experience, new Scrivener users are generally happier the more they are able to put aside their Word-based habits. In particular, Word expects that you’ll define most of your formatting up front (or use a corporate template), which is exactly the opposite of how Scrivener “thinks.”


Oh please no.

SaaS model generally benefits companies with a monopoly or near monopoly, who then get others to follow suit. Hmm…colluding behavior. :question: :question: :question:

I don’t understand this love affiar with SaaS. It’s a common strategy to increase revenue and a play to stockholders. In the end it punishes the actual end-users who have little to no choice in having to comply with such a subscription-based model. And these big Corporations do it with a guise of leased licenses being able to provide greater benefit for tax write-offs instead since they won’t be considered accrued assets with depreciation–depending on your tax laws. Writers don’t fit this model well.

100% agree. This is huge for me. My writing via Scrivener is within the control of the security I set. I write many things of a sensitive and timely manner, I cannot afford to have them lost or leaked.

Add to the fact that Keith (and L&L) has intentionally set Scrivener as affordable. In SaaS model, you can be 5 months in to equal Scrivener’s price and then everything’s a premium of greater expense. Under such circumstances, because I’m a nerd, let’s say you were wise. That you wanted to treat the savings from Scrivener as though you paid on it as a SaaS, and that you’d take the money you saved over the years of use and invest it.

In my case, adhering to such a scenario, I would have already paid over essentially 10 years of having Scrivener if it were a SaaS (though my actual cost is around $~80 with all the upgrades). Whereas SaaS would have cost at least ~$1000 up to this point. Invested, and funded monthly as though I’d paid SaaS, with my typical low monthly rate of return, I’d have turned that $1000 in savings to $2100 in 10 years.

In 20 years? It will approach ~$9500, assuming a similar update and purchase schedule from L&L. In 30 years, ~$34,000. If I can write for another 40 years, $120,000. If even another 50 years, ~$375,000. And yet, all this doesn’t show the value of a software that helps me create products I am paid for. Of course the market could crash, EMPs could send us back to the stone age, but then again, it could play out as it has for decades.

So, treat Scrivener as a SaaS for your purposes, invest the savings, be richer tomorrow for it. Let it stay as it is, in its current model, for the security it can provide and with the actual fact that there’s no need for internet to use it.

And thanks for the realization that I should be treating Scrivener as though it was a SaaS and investing the savings. Here’s to at least 30 years from now. :mrgreen: