Isn't this Word add-in a total Scrivener rip off?

I was looking for help online for MS word and came across this:

writingoutliner.com/index.php

It’s basically Scriverner, but as an add-in for MS Word. Now I’m not sure if I should buy it or stick with Scrivener (which is what I think I’ll do) because it includes all of Word’s functionality as well. Have you guys seen it?

Boy howdy. :imp:

Not sure why people would be upset by this.

The guy admits on his own blog back in October 2009 that his project is inspired by Scrivener.
writingoutliner.com/writing-soft … r-windows/

He’s doing the work of implementing all of this in Word as a Word add-on. For some people, that’s going to make it a much better fit than a standalone program.

Isn’t this really a validation that Scriv’s approach is a useful one?

While imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and while Scrivener is still going to be less, it’s L&L’s IP that needs protecting.

Being inspired is a matter. Copying each detail of the user interface is another. Frankly, this plug-in is ashamingly similar - uh, identical, to the UI of Scrivener.

But it is true: the default color for index cards is aquamarine, not yellow. What a difference!

Paolo

That’s a bummer. It does look mighty Scrivnerish, but then the ‘Scrivener’ brand is the thing - and who wants an expensive Word plugin, anyway?

IP suits are hellish expensive and there’s no guarantee, no matter how solid your case, of getting the result you want.

Karma’s often a bitch, though. This guy’s thing is a yearly subscription, right? Scrivener’s better and cheaper.

I left Word so long ago that this issue is a big yawn for me.
My impression of the Word market is that it’s mostly for suits, in business offices.
Or else for students who are stuck with Office as a campus de facto.
In either case, not many users will want to pay an extra annual fee for this plug-in.
Scrivener is better, costs less, and is adaptive to Word for final formatting.

It’s not an annual subscription, the website shows you can get a free upgrade (new version) in the first year after purchase and a discount for an upgrade (40 %) in the second year after purchase. That’s a very nice offer in my opinion. I’m a happy user of both Scrivener and WritingOutliner.

I used to work for WordPerfect before they sold themselves to Novell (and Novell broke them up and sold off the parts). We had a gripe with MS for this sort of thing. In my opinion MS is very good at riping off. . . ah imitating other people. We weren’t the only company to have this gripe with them, so it doesn’t surprise me to see them produce this.

I like Scriviner better, and use OpenOffice for my other writing needs.

Lunar,
To be fair, Microsoft has nothing to do with this. It’s just an individual developer who coded this extension to MS Word; it’s his copying of the Scrivener interface & philosophy that we’re grousing about here.

Ah, I sit corrected (I am using a computer so I am not standing :stuck_out_tongue: ) Thanks for the clarification robertdguthrie :slight_smile:

I think its presumptuous to say that this other product is violating any right that the Scriviner team has in IP. (What IP? Patent? Copyright? Do you have anything specific in mind?)

This isn’t really any of our business though- if the Scriviner team has concerns they can hire a lawyer.

Well remember this was created back when Scrivener was Mac-Only. But there’s not much L&L can do unless they want to find a lawyer in East Texas to press a case.

I don’t see the merit.

In my experience, even on high powered machines, Word lately has had one big hang-up:

It stalls with large documents. Anything over 20K words has significant open/edit/display lag, even on my machine with 4 gigs of RAM. I shudder to think of what it would do with a document the size of my NaNo submission from last year, easily four times this example. Considering this, even if it IS available fully-polished now, I wouldn’t bother with it. Even in beta–especially the most recent ones–Scrivener’s been more reliable in big documents.

If I hadn’t discovered Scrivener first, I would have found been curious about this Word addin. But it wouldn’t have gone further than that because I dislike stuff that hook into Word like that, with the ever changing versions. But someone else may like it, so there’s something for them as well.

I’m one for choices, and if there are other stuff that does what I like, then all the better. I’m a fickle consumer, so I like to know there are alternatives should something begin to piss me off. I’m extremely content with Scrivener, not planning on going anywhere, and there’s a reason that they have such a large devoted following.

And if this writing outliner seems too parasitic and UI too similar, then I agree with shimra, it’s not our business. It’s up to the Scrivener development team to decide if their IP is being infringed upon. They’re clever people, so I’m sure they know how to look after themselves.

And as devinganger said, it is a testament of Scrivener’s great design. I’ve yet to think of a feature I need that Scrivener hasn’t thought of already. I can’t blame the guy for struggling to think of something better…though he should probably try harder.

Couldn’t help going on, so I’m sorry, but the use of the word “rip off” bothered me.

I’m hesitant, too, about plug-ins to Word. I’m a tech writer and used to use the old RoboHelp that was an add-on to Word (now it’s called RoboHelp for Word) and it worked okay, but there was always the underlying problem of synching to the release of Word that you had.

At one point, we wanted a new version of RH because it fixed some bugs that were extremely important to us, but to use that version, we needed to upgrade Word. When you consider the cost of upgrading Word, any add-in becomes an expensive product.

Consider this, too: if you are allowed to do personal work on a machine at the office, I think the IT department might be happier if you didn’t install an add-on to Word. (They still might have a problem with you installing software from an unknown company, but often will allow it if they have good anti-virus protection.)

I feel for the developer. He probably just started out doing it because he wanted something on Windows and then people heard about it and started asking for a copy. I think it’s good that he openly acknowledges Scrivener, and could even be a method of “payback” (by advertising for Scrivener).

The three-pane arrangement with the pods (or HUDs) is becoming more common in software in general – I see it in Adobe Framemaker and RoboHelp and in Microsoft Word (if you use View > Navigation Pane, or View > Document Map, and then expand Styles on the right) – so we can’t really consider that a rip-off.

I’m not a lawyer, but I think that A) you can’t copyright an idea and B) you have to prove that the rip-off resulted in you losing money. Also, as someone said, Microsoft does this all the time. My husband worked for a small start-up that made a product whose features eventually ended up in a Microsoft product, coincidentally not that long after some Microsoft guys stopped by the booth at a trade show…

I think Scrivener is great, and I love the fact that I don’t need a machine with the horsepower to handle Word to use it. I’m for Scrivener.