(Moved from iPad bug report thread)

We are conflating two issues here (syncing and future development), but hopefully people can deal with that.


  1. Some forum users (possibly ageing, and some open about having conditions that don’t always welcome change) who are happy with things as they are.

  2. macOS is currently more powerful than iOS.


  1. Some forum users who are unhappy with Dropbox syncing.

  2. iOS is improving all the time.

  3. Reviewers on the App Store who are unhappy with Dropbox syncing.

  4. Well-known writers who a few years ago were evangelising about Scrivener are now evangelising about Ulysses and other writing apps.

  5. Read any article that mentions Scrivener, and you are likely to read (in the article or comments) about Dropbox issues.

  6. Apple have made it clear that iOS-based apps are the future. Jobs even said this 10 years ago when he gave his trucks-versus-cars analogy.

  7. Tim Cook and Apple have pushed the idea that an iPad is a computer and the only computer most consumers will ever need.

  8. Apple has gutted its iWork, iLife, and other consumer-facing apps, rebuilding them based on iOS designs. They have been successful. The future of Apple app development is clear.

  9. iOS has a far larger number of users than macOS.

  10. Look at articles on Apple-centric websites this week about iOS 13 and Catalina. The iOS 13 articles have five or six times more comments than the Catalina articles. iOS is clearly the main market.

  11. It is far easier for a developer to develop once and publish everywhere (mirroring Scrivener’s core ethos) than it is to run two or more development streams for the same product.

  12. It is far cheaper for a company to develop and support one common app than two or more.

  13. It is far easier for a company to bring developments to one app rather than two or more.

  14. It is far better for users to have a single app design that works on all their devices: learn once, be productive; don’t waste time learning a different interface.

  15. Forum users are already posting comments about switching to using iPads alone.

  16. Outside the forum, many people are switching to using phones and tablets (mainly to the detriment of desktops).

  17. Apple will release ARM-based laptops: they are likely to run iOS-based apps.

  18. Project Catalyst absolutely is about encouraging developers to develop once and publish everywhere, and it absolutely is about moving developers away from producing macOS-only apps.

  19. Apple’s entire drive with the move to iOS, ARM, Swift, etc, is all about making iOS the core platform for consumers. Does anyone really think that after all the hardware and software changes made by Apple in the last decade that the company will suddenly lurch back to making macOS its headline product?

  20. Tech sites already acknowledge that Catalyst is about bringing more productivity apps to macOS and not just games (as repeatedly and wrongly suggested by some here).

  21. Modern users are used to working with convenient and cohesive designs: they use technology without having or wanting to think about it. Dropbox presents an unnecessary barrier. Two different designs for Scrivener create another unnecessary barrier. Why would any developer want to put up barriers that keep buyers away? Surely one app cannot fly in the face of change and expect modern users to work as old users did in the past. We are at a point where tech barriers are coming down and the tech itself rarely needs to be thought about. The current system is more complex than it needs to be, and it absolutely is putting buyers off, irrespective of what some people are claiming.

We have all seen resistance to change: vinyl is better than digital; 35mm film is better than digital; floppy disks work so well, etc, etc. The arguments being made here are pretty much the same Luddite positions that have been expressed about tech changes in the past. With all respect, no one has come up with a single cogent reason as to why Scrivener should be held back while other apps, such as Ulysses, are clearly forging ahead to meet the needs of modern operating systems and modern users.

Of course, Keith can do what he wants. But in the world I live in, I am seeing people drift away from the macOS way of doing things and drifting away from Scrivener and third-party barriers such as Dropbox. I want Scrivener to survive and thrive and to reach out to the huge iOS / iPadOS market out there. No one has explained how an ageing macOS and a two-design app is supposed to compete against sleeker options.

For the writers I know, an updated version of iOS Scrivener compiled for macOS and which syncs seamlessly using iCloud (as other writing apps do) would be far more preferable than what is available now. Perhaps their brains are wired differently, but people growing up today with technology all around them are wired differently to those who grew up when all of the current tech was just a dream.

For the record, I like Scrivener 3 and don’t need it to change. But I believe Catalyst presents an opportunity for Scrivener to streamline its development, support, and user-experience in a way that will be beneficial to the company and the vast majority of users in the years ahead. Sure, vinyl sounds better than digital, but most people would rather haul around 50,000 digital files on a small handheld device than lumber about with a heavy sound system and 50,000 slabs of vinyl. The tech around Scrivener has already changed and is going to change even more: in what alternative reality does a dual-design Scrivener with a clunky third-party sync function actually have a glorious future?

Slàinte mhòr.

The company website has long had a notice up saying that it is experiencing a high volume of tech-support requests, causing delays. Why not create a simple app that is easier for users to use and easier for the company to support?

From the blindingly simple questions we see repeatedly asked on the forum, we know that a lot of users need and want a more simple app. Why do you want to stop those users enjoying Scrivener, just because of your arcane needs?

A single app would surely mean less work for Keith. That has got to be better for him, his health, his sanity, and the amount of time he has to spend with his family, enjoying the rest of his waking hours. Why are people asking to increase Keith’s workload unnecessarily when Apple is presenting a system that would allow Keith to work more efficiently, allow the company to be more effective, and make the app more user-friendly?

For the love of Keith, the support team, the survival of Scrivener, and future users, embrace change. And please deal with reality as it is, not a fantasy world where things are not changing around you.

Slàinte mhòr.

The two post above have been moved from another thread by someone else. The title is not mine. That is not what I am proposing.

Slàinte mhòr.

Well, in essence it is.

I call it back-seat-driving :laughing:

I moved your posts because they had nothing to do with fixing a status bar bug on the iPad.

Feel free to suggest another title and I will fix it, but that’s what it sounds like your argument is. Stop making the full desktop version of Scrivener and just pipe a simplified iOS version over to them, no?

Lunk, I don’t think you are reading the arguments presented at all.

JoRo, I disagree with the majority of what you’re saying, but appreciate the thought behind it. I’ll also reiterate a point I made before- the “simple” app has already been created. It’s iOS Scriv. Misunderstandings arise when people attempt to write on two separate platforms and don’t want to use Dropbox, Airdrop, iTunes file transfer, unzip projects, etc (there are a lot of ways to work cross-platform!), or expect iOS Scriv to have the same features as macScriv.

Your posts on this forum tell me that you are a very knowledgeable and helpful Scrivener user. You are also clearly worried about the future of Scrivener, but I’ll reiterate another point I made in a discussion with you elsewhere: We, as users, have to trust that Keith et al will continue to develop Scriv in an optimal way.

PS - the forum moderation in this instance is not great, IMO. JoRo’s posts were made in the specific context of another thread, and the creation of a new thread with a provocative title should have been cleared with him first.

I have one problem with this argument: it seems to have been proposed from within the Apple ecosystem, where it might make perfect sense.

I use iPad Scrivener a lot: almost every day in fact. I do not need a laptop, because I have an iPad and a magic keyboard for when I need it. However, I DO also use scrivener on my desktop computer, which runs Windows 10. I have Dropbox on both (and on my phone).

Windows is a much more popular choice for desktops and laptops than MacOS. On the other hand iPads are much more popular than Android tablets (or, heh heh, Windows tablets). Given that, it does not seem very likely that I am one of the only Scrivener users with a Windows computer and an iPad.

If I am correct then Scrivener has a large number of users for whom iCloud means little or nothing. My few attempts to use it on my Windows computer were even more hassle than my final few attempts to use iTunes on Windows.

I have had a paid Dropbox account for years. I have almost a terabyte of stuff stored there. I access it from any device and don’t regard this as difficult or obstructive. The opposite, in fact. Dropbox has always “just worked” for me.

I am far from convinced that dumbing down Scrivener to make it fit on the iPad would be a good idea. I use Scrivener on two big screens on my desktop to do tasks like editing/rearranging whole projects that work far better with more space. I use my iPad for writing and editing text I have written. I sync these happily using Dropbox because as a Windows/iPad user I find this an easy and pain-free experience.

Your mileage may vary :slight_smile:

Whatever good intent you may have in pushing this discussion is lost in the face of the casual ageism and ableism displayed in this quote. You’ve seemed to be a really decent person over the years I’ve seen you on the forums. Please rethink how you worded this. You appear to be assuming that people who don’t agree with you have some deficiency that would keep them from coming to the correct (e.g. your) conclusion. This is not the case.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but my position has always been, and will always be:

  1. You are accurately describing the general trends (and certainly the way Apple hopes most developers will go)
  2. Scrivener is not a mainstream application and does not meet the assumptions required to easily fit those trends
  3. Until one of two events happens, all of our speculation is as useful as wetting oneself in a dark suit (it gives you a warm feeling but otherwise, nobody much notices). Those two events are:

a) Apple finally levels up the iOS/PadOS implementation of system functions so that core Scrivener functionality (such as being able to edit in scrivenings mode) is not lost in the mobile version of Scrivener.
b) KB decides that his core vision for Scrivener can and should be modified to fit within the technical limitations and proceeds on the required re-engineering.

Talking about development trends and potentially losing market share and such is all well and good, but if you have to break your product to keep up with the Joneses…now you strongly risk alienating ALL of your customers. Only the L&L folks know what their sales numbers look like and how their customers are actually using the darn thing. Maybe it’s only a vocal minority who are attempting to use the sync workflows and are even affected by the Dropbox/iCloud brouhaha.

Thank you, @devinganger, for your post. As one of those who has self-identified as disabled, I appreciate your support.

Those of us with ADHD are not known for resisting change; on the contrary, we are known as novelty seekers. I won’t bore the forum with the loooong list of writing apps I’ve tried over the years that “fostered collaboration”, had “simple interfaces”, or provided a “distraction-free environment” (This last is a laugh to anyone with real ADHD. There is no such thing. Our brains generate distraction events the way uranium gives off radiation.) I keep coming back to MacOS Scrivener for long-form writing, and use iOS Scrivener as a drafting environment in which I can use handwriting input. Before I discovered how much more productive (of fiction) I can be while handwriting, I had almost stopped using iOS Scrivener except for travel.

Despite my disagreements with some of @KB’s design decisions (anyone who was on the iOS Scriv Beta team with me knows that I can be almost as stubborn as he. :wink: ) I respect him for sticking to them. He will make his decisions—partly based on forum imput like @JoRo’s and others contributing to these discussions, but largely based on his own evaluation (which I note he has not yet provided.) I’m content to wait on his decisions in these matters, and make my own when he’s announced or implemented them.

I think we can safely assume that Dropbox’ decision to impose the three device limit on their free plan and other recent decisions on their part, were based on sound business logic.
I think we can safely assume that Apples introduction of Catalina and the new Mac Pro are based on an assumption from Apple’s side that MacOS and its way of doing things has a future.

So a logic conclusion could be that what JoRo sees is not what L&L, Dropbox or Apple are seeing.

And… Project Catalyst is still only meant to provide iOS app developers with a way to sell their products to the MacOS world, without having to write a new MacOS app. There will still be a substantial market for complicated, niche MacOS apps that are almost impossible to port to iOS or the coming iPadOS in a meaningful way.

So I think JoRo’s conclusion is completely wrong.

PS. Those who want a more light-version-writing-app, have you looked at Storyist? Its Mac version is as limited as its iOS version, and both are too limited from my point of view. I tried them , for some time, and they are simply not good enough. But they do sync via iCloud, automatically.

Oh yeah, Storyist. On my long list of discarded apps… :wink:

Every single feature in Scrivener is there because either Keith or a vocal subset of users (or both) wanted it. The implication that complexity has been introduced for its own sake and can therefore easily be discarded is ridiculous.

Comparing the number of iOS devices to the number of Mac OS devices, and using that information to predict the market outlook for an application that serves a very specific niche is equally ridiculous. It’s like saying cars are too complex because there are a lot of bicycles in the world.


This was, as you said, ten years ago. And yet…


Have you noticed how many pickup trucks are on the road these days? :smiling_imp:

This is two years old but still correct:

businessinsider.com/steve-j … ?r=US&IR=T

Developers need Macs and MacOS.

What strikes me about the truck-and-car metaphor is that it wouldn’t exist were it not for the necessity of trucks. I think most would agree with that, but it seems to me that what Jobs was saying wasn’t that car design should start driving truck design because more people just need a car—he was saying that it was his hope that tablets would be able to one day accomplish what most people had been using trucks for all of this time, a statement that is quite a bit different than saying most people only need a car, in fact! Apple are pleased to have people buying both vehicles, after all. The other argument being made was that “mini-trucks” (netbooks, which was the actual target tablets were meant to take over) were the wrong answer to the question the iPad was created to poise.

And I don’t think anyone can disagree with that. Most people just watch videos, respond to the occasional email and browse the Web. You don’t need much at all for that.

Back then there were many horns being tooted about the death of the traditional computer—that tablets would take over the world save for all but a few highly specialised and performance dependent jobs. That was the great fear in fact, that Mac OS X was already planned to be phased out, and by this point in time we’d all be flicking oversized buttons with our fingers (unless we worked in Simi Valley or something)—or not using Macs. The whole “back to the Mac” speech could be, and was by some, interpreted that way. But as someone said above, here we are. I for one did not interpret the speech that way—I did fear it might be what was meant, but the ultimate result of that “back to the Mac” movement was mostly a sadly crippled virtual desktop system and a weirdly designed (for desktop) launch tool that in my opinion has become as much of a sideshow as Dashboard, in the following years. That’s about all that happened, after all of that rhetoric.

To my mind, this rekindled advocacy for the death of the desktop is but a mere echo, and a rather muted one at that, of the conversations that were going on in 2010. That fear of losing a flexible platform to an OS originally designed for telephones (and only barely adapted to the larger screen of a tablet, at that time) has been vanquished for the most part, which explains why this is no longer such a big talking point in the media. We’ve come to realise that there are crucial ingredients to even “humble” careers like writing, which don’t require much by way of performance—but benefit greatly by being positioned from a platform that can scale with ease (never mind the form factor for an iPad being antithetical to writing, and requiring external peripherals to serve as such).

As for whether Scrivener for macOS and PC should be degraded down to iOS levels of functionality in order to suit a perceived growing trend (one which I am dubious of the factual nature of) is to my mind no different than the question of whether or not a writer should use Scrivener instead of Word, or a pencil and paper for that matter. If an individual does not require all that Scrivener does as a full platform (both the workhorse desktop version and/or the pared down mobile interface), then that’s fine. We’ve never been about consuming the market and taking over everything. We like being a niche tool, and not having to grow into a huge company to support the concept of not being a niche tool. If some other thing becomes a mainstream tool, like the word processor, then more power to them.

To JoRo personally, if the moderation put you off, I should have waited until I was a little less busy the other day with the Paddle site change and releasing four separate product updates at once. I was hectic, and if I didn’t treat your argument fairly I apologise.

The title I used initially was how I understood your ongoing argument—that the time for complex software was coming to a close (at least again, except for people in Simi Valley) and Scrivener should get ahead of that curve and stop making complex software: just focus on one simple UI driven from iOS and propagated through whatever means to PC and Mac. To my mind, that is abandoning Mac and PC development in the sense that one is no longer taking into account the unique advantages of a fully established deep operating system and the hardware these systems have available. That is what must be done, if the lowest common denominator is what drives design and development (at every level, from the user interface to the data model to the logic in between).

Just yesterday, a friend of mine with a perfectly usable car was asking for recommendations for places to rent a truck.


I think many conversations around this topic also blur the lines between “work” and “leisure.” The very same person who spends their leisure time watching cat videos and browsing the web might also spend eight hours a day crunching spreadsheets or assembling presentation materials. They might only buy a tablet or a phone with their personal funds – and that’s a big change from the days when you had to have a computer to browse the web – but their employer is buying a heck of a lot of laptops and desktops.

Writers as a category straddle the line because so many of us are self-employed or write as a sideline. But writing – or at least the kind of writing Scrivener emphasizes – is a work task, demanding work-capable tools.


Yeah, and? If someone needs accommodation and some sort of feature that’s been there and worked a certain way from the beginning, that’s not going to magically change. From an accessibility standpoint, if a piece of software needs to work a certain way to be useful to those who need it and it inconveniences me or doesn’t work the way I’d like, then that’s on me, as one who doesn’t need those accommodations, even if that piece of software doesn’t work the way I think it should.