iPod Touch/iPhone App

Since the iPhone 2.0 software came out and I got my new iPod Touch (which was on the 7th) I’ve been swept up in the Apps mania. I couldn’t find this suggestion anywhere, but I would love to have some way to sync Scrivener with my iPod through either MobileMe or some kind of Scrivener App. I like going over my work on the fly and when I’m traveling or away from my computer, it’s always a great time to look over your work. A simple App that would allow me to view all my work, as well as maybe put a few notes in here and there, (it would probably be too complicated to allow you to change the work entirely) it would be nice. I don’t know if it’s possible or if it would even be popular enough, but just a thought.

Do you mean just sharing projects between computers? You can just use an iDisk for that. Search the forum for hints and tips on how best to do this. Most recommend using Scrivener’s zip archive back-up because of network latency.

“Scrivener” cannot be synched though, I don’t think, in the sense that you mean. It is an application which loads files off of the hard drive. Not an application with an integrated database, like a calendar.

Edit: Nevermind. I see you mean a full Scrivener application on the phone/pod. This has been brought up before as a request and turned down. I have to agree with Keith on this one: The touch interface isn’t really a place for writing apps. But, if you all you need is access to your words, there are ways to do this that do not require the developer spending months on something other than Scrivener for the Mac. Try looking up free text file readers.

You can easily export a whole project into a folder with individual files of every binder object. Using a program like “File Magnet” you can transfer and browse this folder on your iPhone. Or, of course, you can compile a project into one single file.

2 problems there:

  • The single file is no fun to scroll through. Really.
  • The exported files are sorted alphabetically in the finder and and on the iPhone. So the beautifully arranged scenes in your project will be out of order (which, by the way, was the main reason for selling my Eee PC).

It’s a nice idea to have something like “Scrivener touch” that would essentially be the binder and the possibility to view its objects. But let’s face it: You wouldn’t use it. If you’re on the road and want to work on a project, you’d ALWAYS carry a notebook with you. It’s sensible not to put any effort something like this.

I agree if we are talking about actually write on an iPhone/iPod Touch while on the road. But, something I really would be using, is a way of jotting down short notes and ideas on my iPhone while travelling (no, I don’t always travel with my MacBook Pro, as I am in the process of writing a book and articles on photography and have to carry loads of photo gear as well.

My suggestion is an app that can sync my project Binder with hierarchy in place, preferably also with synopsises, general info and Document Notes, so I can take notes and insert them into the right place - maybe as annotations. With the next sync, I would then update my project with the annotations in place.

Small data, but much more handy than using paper books, as I do today.


This just seems like an awful lot of work to replace a task which is, in my opinion, pretty much already covered generously by the existing device software. I write notes to myself all of the time using Mail. I think I take a lot of notes in the course of a day, compared with the average person, but I don’t really ever find myself grumbling about manually moving them to the appropriate applications when I get home. I would say the opposite in fact. That sort of manual treatment encourages thrift and redefinition. An idea I had at 6:00 may seem paltry or incomplete at 19:00. I nearly always re-type and expand on my mobile device jots rather than cut and paste. This has two benefits: 1) I can re-think an idea or eliminate it if it is worthless; 2) I can utilise “sloppy typing,” abbreviations, and shorthand to overcome the keyboard limitations on the device.

well how about at least an iPhone web app, i.e., an iPhone formatted access to the forums here?

I agree, the iPhone is so cool I want to use it for everything…except writing. One-fingered typing is maddeningly slow when you can crank out 85+wpm on a full keyboard.

The forum made more slick for the phone? As a productivity tool? :wink:

No, I hear you. I have grumbled my way around the forum using the Touch and eventually decided (perhaps rightly) that I should just wait.

Amber, thanks for sharing tips on how to use iPhone with Scrivener for notes and ideas. This is so new that I learn all the time.

However, I would still like to have a smart way to sync or carry the present state of my project with me on an iPhone - in a structured way, not only as a long text. But I realize that there are several ways of doing that and nothing to implement by impulse.

Just to reiterate/clarify, there are no plans for an iPhone version of Scrivener, Scrivener Lite or anything else, I’m afraid. I only use notebooks myself in such situations, and don’t really have any interest in developing apps that I won’t use myself, sorry. As for an iPhone-friendly version of the forums - wow, now that is procrastination. :slight_smile: At any rates, the forum uses PHPBB, so if PHPBB ever goes this route or if there is ever a mod that allows it, then sure, but otherwise, probably not…
All the best,

FWIW, I use Google Reader to read this and other forums. Works great on the iTouch.


I can certainly see the points made ‘against’ an iphone app but so the case can also be made for the beauty of pencil and paper over any software. I can’t even recall the last time I wrote a contact and phone number since using a smartphone.

After six months of travelling, the thing I try hardest to leave behind is my laptop. I think when (if?) apple releases drivers for a bluetooth keyboard a Scrivener ‘iphone/itouch’ app may just be a great desktop alternative for those wishing to travel light.

Though it’s a shame to admit it, I now only draw with pencil and paper and hate to write notes and then transcribe them back to Scrivener when I could save so much time with a sync instead.


I’m sure there are lots of plus points for developing such an app, and I’m sure there would be a number of users who would use it. I’m not saying that anybody is wrong or that some users wouldn’t find such a thing useful. My point, though, is that I don’t have any interest in developing such an application, which is why I won’t be doing it. Scrivener is a labour of love - I created it because it’s the software I want to use and write with. I don’t own an iPhone, don’t see myself getting one, and don’t use anything other than a notebook when out and about, so I would just never use such an application. And I’ve no interest in developing an application that I wouldn’t use; my heart wouldn’t be in it and I’d be doing it for the wrong reasons. To me, developing an iPhone version of Scrivener (not even possible - they use different programming languages, so it would have to be written from scratch, use an interface based on a different screen size etc, and have a different feature set) would be akin to me developing a spreadsheet app; sure, some people would want it and use it, but I wouldn’t so what would my motivation be? So, whilst users are free to speculate about such an app, I just want to make it absolutely clear that it won’t happen as I don’t want anyone to get their hopes up about something I have no intention of developing. The question here isn’t whether people would use it; it’s where I want to dedicate my development time. Hope that makes sense.

All the best,

I share Keith’s disinterest in the iPhone, though I can see its many advantages for frequent travelers who don’t want to carry a laptop. If Apple built a sub-notebook with a real keyboard, that would be the best choice for me. But surely, the iPhone must already have an app that allows you to take notes and export them as RTF files to your writing machine. Then it’s just a matter matter of drag-and-drop to a Scrivener project.

Lot of traffic on the OmniOutliner forum about OG developing a version of OO for the iPhone once the OmniFocus is fully stable and out there. And I’m sure there’ll be other text-based apps in the pipeline that it’ll be possible to get the text into Scrivener from.

Quite apart from Keith’s points, to me, Scrivener is more than just the sum of its parts, and a writing app that would fit and work well on a device like the iPhone, with its memory and screen limitations, could hardly be anything like the Scrivener we love. That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be possible to write an equally elegant text app in its own right … it just wouldn’t be Scrivener. For the OP and many other people’s sake, let’s hope someone does develop one.


Unfortunately, the Bluetooth keyboard option for these devices will not happen, at least not with the current hardware that is out there. The Touch doesn’t even have Bluetooth hardware at all, and the iPhone’s is seriously crippled; the only thing it works with is head-sets, I believe. That isn’t something that can be hacked around either, like some of its other limitations. The protocols required for complicated wireless information transfer just aren’t there.

Serious mistake on Apple’s part. As someone who used to do all of my remote writing on a folding keyboard and a PalmPilot, I can attest to just how incredibly handy this is. For a writer—the only negative aspect of this configuration is that people will not stop bugging you and asking, “what is that!” :slight_smile:

Bluetooth aside (and really, why go Bluetooth when you need to prop up the device anyway), I wonder if somebody could make a docking keyboard that plugs into the bottom of these devices. Then the keyboard does not require batteries—and as said, the device gets propped up by a clip on the keyboard.

I absolutely agree with this. I have used a Palm keyboard with docking facilities and a Windows mobile with Bluetooth keyboard, and though the screen was much better on the latter, typing was much more productive with the former. Mainly due to better response and better stability. A tiny jotting device like this has meant the difference between holiday spending and travelling income for me several times. I like to travel light, and with an iPhone/iPod plus a good compact camera I can do professional work with all the equipment I need in my pockets.

But I also think this thread shows that many of us would be interested in a smart way to take electronic notes on the road and easily sync with Scrivener after returning, as well as carrying the scrivenings of our uncompleted projects while on the road. And the thread also has learnt us that this does not necessarily have to be an “iScrive” app :slight_smile:

The Alphasmart Neo*? You don’t even have to sync - just plug in and press “Send”.

I used to be a Palm TX/BT Keyboard travel user. The Neo with AlphaWord is a more than adequate replacement. Not pocketable but still very portable, less expensive, at least equally robust, with much better screen visibility (recently tested extensively for many hours in full sunlight on the shores of the eastern Mediterranean :wink: ), vastly longer battery life and no chance of Internet-distraction.

*Acquired thanks to recommendations on Lit 'n Lat. :slight_smile:

Yeah, that would sate a lot of the desire, I think. I used to use a Targus folding keyboard with my old Visor PDA in exactly this way, and it was great. I don’t have any need for something like that any more, but if you do it’s a good solution.

Thanks for your replies everyone.

I agree that it’s not really a necessary App…I guess I just had iPod Touch App mania and I was wanting to see all my favorite Apps on my iPod.

I agree with the person who suggested that as writers we might be better off putting our efforts into encouraging the Omni Group to create a iPhone/iPod touch version of OmniOutliner. Keith is right. That tiny touch screen isn’t the right place to do writing, which requires a lot of typing. However, it is fine for writing activities where you do more thinking and moving things around than typing. When I’m klutzing with the outline of a book, I do a lot of looking, thinking and moving, and a touch screen does that as well as a mouse.

And that brings up the issue of importing OmniOutline documents into Scrivener, an import where each level in OO becomes a level in Scrivener, with folder/document names taken from the first line. I fooled around with doing it manually, and that is possible. But the two applications work so well together, it’d be nice if they knew how to hold an intelligent conversation. I’ve already made a suggestion to the OmniGroup along that line. The easiest solution might be an new OO export format marked up so a script inside Scrivener (or other editing programs) could use to good effect.

Another suggestion. If you’re the sort who has story segments pop into your head at inconvenient times, you might consider getting a small digital recorder, one that would let you move the recording to your Mac, where the MacSpeech Dictate could turn it into text that’s imported into Scrivener. Given the $200 price of MacSpeech though, I’d make sure the scheme works with your voice before putting out the money.

Finally, there’s a new sort of productivity application typlified by Jott.com. Call a number from your cell phone and dictate your message. You’ll get it later in an email as text. Unfortunately, those systems tend to have a monthly fee and don’t seem to be oriented to long messages, just “Remember to call Bill” to-dos. You might be better off with the recorder or a recording application for your iPhone.

–Mike Perry, Seattle