Is Scapple still alive?

Any hope of some kind of update? New features? Anything?

While I hope that someone from L&L will post an official response about plans for enhancing Scapple, here are two hints:

  1. L&L currently has diverted its development resources to other software projects. In late November 2015, Keith, L&L’s owner and lead developer, posted the following:
  1. No update to Scapple in over a year; none to bring the app current with El Capitan (as threads here indicate; e.g., [url]El Capitan?]).

Scapple is a useful app with great promise. Those of us who use Scapple and other L&L products may want more from the company than it can deliver to us right now. Our demands for more features and functions simply may exceed this little company’s capacity to deliver all we want as fast as we want it.

Is Scapple still alive?

My copy is. Use it all the time.

I simply don’t understand this paragraph. Scapple is a useful app with a great present. I have had it since the beta and use it every day for tasks from sketching organisational moments for two businesses, to preparing academic lectures and writing a couple of books. Not on its own of course, but as a superb - and by now almost necessary - preamble. It may not be the last word, but it’s very much more often than not the first.

There is no need to demand more features and functions - there’s software already out there that does more (I use iThoughtsX). The utter simplicity of Scapple is its strength. I hope to golly the developers leave it pretty much as it is forever. Happy New Year.

I agree.

A typical software evolution begins with a fairly simple, dedicated program. Good at doing what it does, available at a low cost, and easy to learn for the user. Then the developer adds a few specials, allowing it to do slightly more. And more. And more. And after a while the software can do almost anything, which means that the manual will have increased manifold in size, and there is suddenly a both long and steep learning curve before you can do almost anything. And because of all the work put into the software by now, and everything you can do with it, the prize will have to be raised, a lot.

All the initial users, who evolved together with the original software, cheer and think this is marvelous, but new potential users are intimidated by the sheer complexity of the software. And so the customer base shrinks, and the software eventually disappears. Or is bought by a major software developer who turn it into something only for companies etc.

I hope they don’t make neither Scapple nor Scrivener more complicated, and avoid giving them loads of more features.

… I’m puzzled by Dr Dog and lunk - Scapple is a young application… v1.2…
The time to worry about it being too complex is not even on the horizon. What is right at hand are a few small but very important ease-of-use functions, the lack of which go hand in hand with the youth of the application. I really hope the developers don’t listen to you, and see those sorts of improvements as worth their time: as much as I am excited by the potential of the app, I would hesitate to recommend it quite yet because of these missing bits, that, I repeat, are not new paradigms, but rather getting rid of the overly clunky aspects of using the existing functionality.

Two examples, grid snapping and node motion constraining via hot key… to be honest, know of no other application that involves the placement of nodes, that does not have this functionality, and there is a very good reason for that.

Again, this is not a put down to the developers at all - Rome isn’t built in a day. But I don’t think users telling them there is no need for more functionality is doing anybody a favor.

Actually, we’re listening to the developers. Keith and Ioa have often said on this forum that the model for Scapple is a plain, flat (somewhat disposable) sheet of paper and have no plans to develop functions much beyond those embodied in that metaphor (you’ll have noted that there is no `Wish List’ for Scapple).

They may have some ideas in mind, but the idea that Scapple is young misunderstands the nature of its maturity.

I hear you - its true, I was not aware that that was their vision.
Still - I guess I’m disappointed that plain and simple equates to no wish list by design. There are quite a few simple improvements to a simple design that can be made… if there is no intention to field them, I feel I might have done better to spend my money on an application that would continue to be developed, even if I had to spend a little more.

I would love an iOS version but no more functionality than it already has, it’s perfect the way it is, I just tend to be out with an iPad more often when I’m in that brainstorming mode. Great app.

Please see this thread I started.

It includes a description of the Windows version (v1.0.0.0 - unchanged since 2013) and includes some enhancements which would make Scapple more powerful but without in any way interfering with the learning curve.

I’m sorry but I like to use up-to-date software that I can genuinely believe in and which I can recommend to my friends, but if Literature and Late want my money, then they will need to support, maintain and keep their software up-to-date, albeit only with occasional releases.


Literature & Latte policy – for both Scrivener and Scapple – has always been that you should purchase the software (or not) based on what it can do now, not what you hope it will do in the future.

With that said, I think this is simply a case of development resources having been temporarily diverted elsewhere – iOS Scrivener, primarily, and related enhancements to desktop Scrivener – rather than abandonment of Scapple.


Is that the same thing as saying: “Literature & Latte know precisely what the world needs and do not want any help from their users and have no wish to be in communication with them” … ?

If so that is a very “last century” stance and I have no wish to invest my time learning their tools. Part of the reason is that can bet your bottom dollar that someone will eventually write something elsewhere which, through an ongoing process of user trials and intelligent listening to user feedback, will eventually kill L&L’s application off. Adapt or die.

It’s absolutely fair enough for resources to be diverted on a temporary basis, but development seems to have stopped for over 2.5 years. Their management are either being arrogant, naive or are facing an existential threat. Either way, this is not reassuring.

If I had meant that, I would have said that. Or rather I wouldn’t, because this forum wouldn’t exist.

It is simply an acknowledgment that all software development takes time – particularly for a small company – and not all feature requests will fit the developer’s vision for the software.


How long a development cycle takes is simply a reflection of how many and how complex are the changes going into each cycle. For this reason it needn’t take long.

There are several purposes for forums beyond listening to users’ feature requests and that includes explaining to users how the software currently works, users exchanging hints & tips with each other about the current system, and ultimate soliciting sales of what currently exists.

In general unless really large structural changes are involved, the modern method is to solicit as much user feedback as possible, to listen to it very carefully, to deliberately not follow quite a lot of it, to have numerous short development cycles, to see how the introduction of new features affects user various metrics of behavior including Net Promoter Score and of course sales, and to remove as much complexity as possible if users in fact respond negatively to the new features. Google “The Lean Startup” business movement for further info.

Scapple is actually less buggy than it initially seemed from listening to their explainer video and experimenting for several minutes. The core problem was that for some weird reason, the Windows version of Scapple has completely different hotkeys compared to the Apple version and this was not made clear in the explainer video. In fact I couldn’t even find an explainer video for the Windows version of Scapple. It may exist but I couldn’t find it.

No matter, I can probably get the functionality I seek with more responsive suppliers. In case anyone is interested, the very low cost yEd is very different and vastly more complex but is looking like a promising alternative to Scapple. L&L could learn a few things from yEd, should they wish to listen to mere humble users.

If I read your alternate posting accurately, you are still using the trial version of Scapple. Which is to say, you don’t currently have any money at stake. Correct?

I’m sure Keith is grateful for your market study, analysis, and approach advice. Perhaps he is unaware of such matters, although I tend to suspect that, given his success thus far with Scrivener, it may be that he is aware.

Forgive the presumption, but you do not come off as a mere humble anything.


Numerous short development cycles are indeed very common for web-based software, but neither Scapple nor Scrivener is web-based.

For more traditional, locally installed software, each new release imposes support and learning costs on both the user and the vendor. If the users don’t like the new features, they will insist on reverting to the old version, and there’s no good way to force them to switch. (Witness the number of users still running Windows XP.) Even if the users do like the new features, they will still cause some degree of confusion, leading to additional support queries.

Moreover, most users don’t want to be beta testers, they want to get work done. They’re perfectly happy to wait for months or years between versions, provided the current version fits their needs reasonably well. I’m sorry to hear that Scapple does not appear to meet yours.


PS FWIW, the lean startup model does not appear to be universally acclaimed. … he-lessons

If I read your alternate posting accurately, you are still using the trial version of Scapple.
Which is to say, you don’t currently have any money at stake. Correct?
Whut? Scapple is not free. I have 28 days and then have to pay.

given his success thus far with Scrivener,
Only 3 employees and not enough resource to fine-tune Scapple is hardly Bill Gates.

Forgive the presumption, but you do not come off as a mere humble anything.
Your are conflating have strong opinions with arrogance. I have strong opinions yes, but I here to learn and assist.

Katherine - yes web-based is different and easier to have short development cycles. Yes there are some down-sides of having too numerous too short development cycles. Yes, once a product that fulfills a particular niche extremely well has settled, may need less and less evolution. Yes, Lean Startup much more art than science. No, it is not easy to execute. Yes it’s very very easy to annoy & alienate your users - hence the need for careful sandboxing. Yes OF COURSE you need to add value to users at every step (see article you site.) As the author found it’s very easy to find oneself testing the wrong thing. Ultimately, one startup’s failure to execute lean thinking does not invalidate an entire business ethos.

Either way nowhere is he saying what he should have done is down tools and wait for the money to role in, which appears to be what is happening here with Scapple. The principle of continually testing and measuring - albeit sometimes in slow motion, remains a valid one.

But Scapple has had no new releases not just over many months but 2.5+ years. Moreover the talk appears to be that Scapple is done. Finished. Perfect. Yes, at the first release. Version

Within a few minutes of using Scapple it became clear to me that there are numerous small modern ways to slightly improve it without over complicating what it does. If L&L can’t be bothered to listen or keep evolving it would be very tempting to write a competing product that does exactly what Scapple does, but does it just that bit better, in a more fluid, more obvious manner.

Can anyone here think of a single thing in the whole of human history that perfect at it’s first release? I can’t.

I agree that a major part of the joy of Scapple is it’s very simplicity and short learning curve. And I agree that whatever is done should not compromise that. But that still leaves a large number of possibilities whether or not L&L can be bothered (or have the resources) to do so.

Have to pay? No. You have 28 days of free use left. If, as seems obvious, you do not think Scapple suits your needs at the end of the trial period, then you delete the software and pay nothing. That is one of the great advantages of trial periods. Use and evaluate; purchase or don’t purchase based on your evaluation.

Not very polite, really.

:smiley: You come across as though you are here to criticise and instruct.

The reason Scapple was created was because the developer wanted software to fulfil a need he had, and couldn’t find it on the market. Actually, that’s how Scrivener was created too, funnily enough. If you can’t find something to suit your needs, then by all means create it and sell it.

Michelangelo’s David.

I was more thinking of functional tools than works of art but since you raise it… Although works of art are in a special category of their own and although it is generally ill advised to go back and pop a bit more paint on something like say the Mona Lisa so as to change that famous smile for example, Nonetheless all expensive works of art are regularly maintained or “conserved”. And yes even solid marble needs to be repaired and maintained from time to time.

But maintenance aside, was David ‘perfect’ when made?

…certain part of his anatomy are widely recognized to be way out of proportion. By which I do of course mean that his head and right hand are both too large… :wink:

Both his over-sized head and some conservation in action can be seen here:

Just had a very interesting quote come across my twitter feed that I think is very applicable here.

It was a re-tweet by Wayne Pepper, a GTD Coach at the David Allen Company. The quote is from Ken Rutkowski ‏@kenradio

“If you have time to whine and complain about something then you have the time to do something about it.”

I think that applies here. If you think Scapple is not suitable then go find something else or write your own.