Online Scrivener clone

It’s well worth checking out Dabble -

There’s a monthly cost, which I normally hate, but it’s cheaper at the moment and it’s very good - I’m happily writing and plotting with it right now, and it’s very smooth.

They cheekily claim it’s “Like Scrivener. Minus the Learning Curve.” :smiley:

$100 per year vs $45 for scrivener’s lifetime license. I’ll pass. Plus it’s an online service. Where would my work go if they suddenly close shop? No, tnx.

Even though online software is a no-go for me, I took a look at Dabble out of curiosity. Which made me wonder - are there no laws about plagiarism or copyright violation for software? It sure looks like an imitation Scriv.

Unless you have a patent there are no restrictions for copying concepts. Look at any notebook or writing app: they all have a kind of “binder” to the left, the rest is a writing area or possibly with a kind of “inspector” to the right. That’s the usual layout and not something restricted to Scrivener.
It’s like cars. They’remall pretty much the same.
But getting lots of new customers is the tricky part when you’re late to the market. Then you need to offer something more, something new.

I’m paying $1 per month, they had a deal. :slight_smile: And every time I save, it also goes onto my hard drive. I’m a huge Scrivener fan, and Dabble feels like Scriv in a browser, very slick and usable, and nothing to sync, my stories are just there wherever I open a browser. Not quite as good as Scrivener, but not bloody far off!

Looks like Dabble has a desktop version, as well as the online one.

I don’t agree with that assessment. They’re very far off. Perhaps if all you’re doing is putting words down on the page. Or plotting your story. But in nearly every other way, Dabble is still very much a comparatively less mature work-in-progress.

Particularly, Dabble’s export tools currently seem non-existent, and IMHO the primary differentiator of Scrivener from pretty much every other writing tool out there is the depth of Scrivener’s export features. Nothing else that I’ve seen, at least nothing in a comparable price range, comes anywhere close.

Here’s Dabble’s roadmap: They have a lot of miles to go before L&L needs to start worrying. :imp:


It can’t even cut and paste folders and plot cards, and that is on the long term roadmap, not the short term. It’s VERY far away from Scrivener in basic functionality, and it has NONE of the research capability of Scrivener. Creating a large project, and shoveling about parts as the structure slowly emerges is going to be an uphill battle in Dabble, while you can do it without even realizing you’re doing it in Scrivener.

It doesn’t play in the same league.

Not meaning to pile on; and I haven’t looked at Dabble, but… If there’s no learning curve, it can’t possibly be like Scrivener! :laughing: Scrivener just does so much, and that’s where the learning curve comes from. Absence of learning curve can only mean absence of capabilities, as others have noted.

Curses, another free lunch ruined!

Yeah, Dabble is certainly inspired by Scrivener, but it lacks the power.

Scrivener has so many powerful and useful features that we put up with a lot of shortcomings to use that power.

So, no, Dabble is not for me. Also, it’s hard to put your professional livlihood into the hands of a product called “Dabble.”

Ha! That probably never would have occurred to me, but I see what you mean. :slight_smile:

Goodness, I seem to have provoked a minor kerfuffle. :smiley:

I should have been clearer - Scrivener is obviously the best writing program out there, and remains my firm favourite. It’s a fully-equipped workshop that’s fixed in place in your garage, where Dabble is a Swiss Army knife that you can carry around.

For the particular type of writing I’ve been doing recently - short stories - Dabble has worked very well for me, and I’ve loved the convenience of being able to work in a browser - nothing to install, nothing to synch, works on computers where I can’t install Scrivener.

For short stories all I need is the ability to organise a few plotlines with index cards, arrange their plot points into chapters or sections, and have places to dump general research and random thoughts. I managed to actually get something finished and enter the Literary Taxidermy competition last week, which is great going for a procrastinator like me.

BUT - all I needed was that simple project organisation, and just exporting to Word - I literally didn’t need anything else to get finished for a competition. So that was great, but for longer pieces, NO WAY. And if you need to export to anything other than Word, of course not.

For anything longer than a short story, I wouldn’t recommend Dabble at all. For capturing random ideas for a novel, I’m all for Evernote on the move, then get the ideas into Scrivener when I get home. And to organise the kind of complex plotlines that a novel needs, don’t use Dabble, use the Outliner in Scrivener.

But if you’re me, and you want to get short stories finished, yes, give Dabble a go. But only if you can get it cheap.

(I signed up for the free trial, then refused to buy it afterwards, then within two weeks they offered me three months for $1 a month. I don’t know if they still do that, but it’s worth a try. When I have to start paying $10 a month, we’ll see. It’ll probably still be worth it, just about, if it helps me get stuff done.)

So hey - it’s just another tool - it does something that Scrivener doesn’t, and I need that thing sometimes. I don’t believe it’ll ever be a Scrivener replacement, but that’s fine - I don’t believe Scriv will ever have a browser-based version either - they’re two different things.

While I’m banging on - if I’m going to list my entire writing arsenal I’d have to include a gem of a program called Asutype - it gives Windows the automatic spelling correction that I believe Macs might already have? Jeez, it speeds me up to have all my misspellings corrected automatically!

Cheers gang, here’s to whatever it takes to get good writing done. :slight_smile: