Scapple and other platforms (iOS, Windows etc)

Seeing as we’re getting a lot of questions about whether Scapple is going to be made for iOS or Windows, I figured I’d answer those questions here to save having to repeat myself.

Before continuing, it’s important to bear in mind that Scapple was really my own personal pet project–it was something I wanted for my own writing. As a Mac developer, I wrote it on the Mac, and over a couple of years, in my spare time away from working on Scrivener, I polished it up for release.

At this time, most of our non-Mac resources are tied up with getting Scrivener for Windows to have feature parity with the Mac version, and with developing Scrivener for mobile devices (starting with iOS). Our existing Scrivener users certainly wouldn’t thank us if we diverted development resources for these other platforms away from Scrivener. Moreover, as I write, Scapple has only just been released. We have no idea whether it will even be popular enough to justify its development on other platforms–although we hope it will be!

1. Will there be a Windows version of Scapple?

We certainly hope so. Lee, the Scrivener for Windows lead developer, is very interested in producing a version of Scapple for Windows. However, his first priority is Scrivener, and getting the Windows version up to speed with the Mac version. So any work he does on Scapple will be in his spare time, and he has very little of that right now. Scapple is a fairly simple application compared to Scrivener (although it’s still tens of thousands of lines of code), but even so, it has taken me over two years to get from my initial noodlings with the idea to something that is ready for release, simply because Scrivener consumes most of my waking hours.

In other words, we really hope that there will eventually be a Windows version of Scapple, but it’s too early to say when, or to make any definite plans or promises at this stage.

2. Will there be an iOS version of Scapple?

Again, we certainly hope so, but there is nothing in the pipeline at the moment, simply because all of our iOS development is currently focused on Scrivener.

I know a few users feel that Scapple would be right at home on the iPad and that we should have made it for the iPad first. However, I’m a Mac developer because I still like using my Mac for the vast majority of my writing, so I hope no one will blame me for developing software that I want to use myself before porting it to other platforms. :slight_smile: Given that Scapple is the equivalent of taking a large piece of paper, or a whiteboard, and scrawling notes all over it, it generally works best on a decent-sized screen, although it is more than manageable on an 11" MBA. It’s also primarily a writing application, and the Mac is a far superior writing machine than any i-device. Please note, however, that this is just my opinion–I do appreciate that some users genuinely like the iPad as a writing device! The point is just that, as the developer of Scapple, I naturally built it for the platform I use.

So, we definitely hope to produce an iOS version in the future, but for now all of our iOS resources are being poured into Scrivener for iPhone and iPad; in the meantime, please take Scapple for what it is: an app built from the ground up for the unassailed OS X.

3. Please remember that this forum is for the Mac version

Finally, I’m going to ask politely that we keep all discussion of versions of Scapple for other platforms out of the main forum–if you have any comments, please leave them as replies to this thread instead.

Finally, thank you to everyone who likes the idea of Scapple enough to want it on other platforms. We appreciate your enthusiasm, and we do hear you. We just have to be realistic about what a small company with a behemoth still in the works for other platforms (Scrivener) can do when it comes to porting an app that has only just gone on sale.

Thanks and all the best,

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Thanks for your clear and reasonable explanation, Keith. Gladly accepted…although I’m one of those who thinks there is a good future for Scapple, both on the Mac (first) and then on the iPad. I hope that both will evolve and wish you very well for your great work.

  • Hill

Thanks for the kind words! I certainly hope you are right, and I really do hope it works out so that we are able to provide Scapple on other platforms, including iOS, in the future.

All the best,

And here I was going to say, “the perfect place for Scrapple would be on the tablet/handheld.” Especially if it sync’d via Dropbox to the desktop. I’m about to go to a meeting where I will have a lot of idle time. I just transferred some 2’x2’ post-its (yes, feet not inches) for a story concept I’ve been tinkering with. I’m a paper guy, but Scrapple actually made it easier to tweak ideas…

I would love to continue the momentum while at an otherwise less-productive meeting…

Well, if you can find us an iOS developer and pay for his or her time… :slight_smile:

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Where do you find 2 elbow/feet/torso/whatever sized Post-It notes? :exclamation:

There’s the rub… I use Android for my mobile computer needs…Shame there’s still platform OS fracture when Mac OS is BSD under the sheets and Android is Linux…both are *nix derivatives, but the GUI isn’t cross-platform friendly.

I buy mine at Amazon: Post-it Easel Pad, Self-stick, 25 Inches x 30 Inches, Light Blue Grid, 30 Sheets per Pad, 2 Pads per Carton

Sam’s Club in the US often has them, Also Staples and Office Depot. Look in the presentation supplies area.

Thanks, to both!

Lol. It is lovely that you can’t get the Mac version out before we start asking for an Ipad version. It’s a tribute to your work. Really looking forward to the Mac version. Though I shall also be eager for scrivener on the iPad too. Lots of post Christmas shopping then. On the bright side, one day the OS on Mac and iPad may be so similar that writing for one almost does the other. :smiley:
Keep up the good work.

using VNC I can get some of Scapple’s function on the iPad

Presumably people who are more used to resources like VNC can get a fuller set of functions with Scapple in the iPad. There is a bit of latency, not a huge amount. Try it for a foretaste of what a ported Scapple might eventually be like.

(Sorry, I posted this on the main forum first, and have since deleted it from there) j

I know this is not usually discussed as a “platform” in these forums, but it seems to me that Scapple would function very well as a web-based app, or at least would benefit from being able to export or exchange file formats with a web-based tool with similar features.

After a little scouting, I found two Chrome web apps that have a similar basic feature-set to Scapple, i.e. they allow creation of non-hierarchical text notes, linked by connecting lines on an infinitely expandable canvas. Of course, they don’t have the same ease of use and flexibility as Scapple functioning in its native OSX, but it is interesting that Scapple documents could in theory be “translated” into these apps.

  1. Google drawings:


Just some food for thought. A web-based app would allow users to work more in the cloud (very significant for those who are often on the road) and to do more collaborative work with others.


I really like how Scapple transforms the idea of free form paper notes to the mac.
But if anybody is interested in similar capabilities for the iPad, you might want to look at NotesPlus
It’s one of the basic notebook apps out there, but it lets you set a page size of up 84x84 cm. Which is pretty much more space then you need. You can zoom into details, make drawing, and most importantly it has handwriting recognition, lets you add pictures and syncs via dropbox.
On the iPad this is my go to app. But while working on the mac, Scapple is definitely becoming my app for sketching out ideas.


With respect to (as well as for) the decision not to develop Scapple for iOS at this time, I wonder if anyone could provide advice about iOS apps that might play well with Scapple files. I’m looking to identify an appropriate app to view or perhaps even edit Scapple files that reside on Dropbox.

I can’t think of anything off of the top of my head, because this kind of completely non-linear, 100% spatial approach is really only common amongst programs that are devoted to illustration (Adobe Illustrator files, for instance, do not organise vector shapes into a logical outline, nor can they be reduced to one). So there isn’t a commonly used co-ordinate based text file format that programs can use to talk to each other. Word processors have their RTF, outliners have their OPML—Scapple has… itself.

Maybe we’ll start a trend though? :slight_smile:

P.S. If you want to “void your warranty”, you could take a stab at hand-editing the .scap file. It’s just a plain-text XML format, and about as intuitive and legible as an HTML file is. I wouldn’t recommend trying to do much more than editing notes you’ve already added, though.

I read your comments regarding iOS and scapple. I have been trying it for a few days and, as much as you will hate to hear it…this kind of app screams touch interface. It screams iPad.

For example, Scrivener is extremely appropriate for the Mac and Windows, being an authoring tool requiring a keyboard. I am excited to get my hands on the iPad version so I can work on projects when I cannot carry around a MBP. But scrivener feels more at home on a device with a nice keyboard and proper file management…a real PC, either Mac or Windows based.

Now, Mind Mapping by its very nature is a very organic process. It originaled from pen and paper, markers and white boards, hell even napkins. It is built around the rapid flow of handwriting. Hence why people are telling you that scapple seems more like a native iOS app. I don’t want to think about the tool, i just want ideas to flow.

I like scapple, but it just feels too cumbersome for mind mapping. Everything I do is deliberate and requires thought…not about what I am trying to mind map…but HOW I am doing it. I am too conscience of the tool.

a free-draw tool might help…especially if it could convert the hand-drawn lines into your connector lines automatically. recognize the lines with or without arrows. Differentiate between solid and dashed lines. Not sure if its possible, but can one use the trackpad to free-draw when the FN key is pressed? something like that?? How about a wacom tablet??

Anyway, this is some initial feedback. Sorry if its depressing. But this does feel like a touchscreen app ported to the Mac…without the app to port it from. For whatever its worth.

Not depressing at all - I’m flattered you like the app enough to want it for your preferred platform so much that you registered here just to make your points, much as I disagree with them. (I don’t get your point about mind-mapping originating from pen and paper, by the way - so did word processing, spreadsheets and suchlike. I guess what you mean is that you find i-devices better for freeform thinking, whereas I don’t because I just keep running into the device’s limitations.)

You and a couple of others, you mean. :slight_smile:

Personally, I love Scapple and use it all the time, and find it entirely frictionless - the Mac is the perfect platform for it. For me, anyway, and that’s what counts when I write software, so I’m not going to go into boring detail about the technical details of why Scapple is at home on the Mac, as that’s secondary. I’d find it a lot more difficult to use on an i-device because it works best when there is a decent amount of space on the canvas, but even more importantly, as it is for getting ideas down, it is predominantly about typing, which is hideous on i-devices unless you use an external keyboard (in which case I’d use my MBA anyway). But that’s fine, because I wrote Scapple predominantly for me, just as I did with Scrivener, and it’s a bonus if other users like it enough to buy it. Obviously it’s not the tool for you while it is Mac-only, and that’s fine too.

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As much as I like iThoughtHD to sketch ideas on my iPad, I would find Scapple much easier to use for free-form drafting. Not that you cannot do it with iTHD, but Scapple is more direct, cleaner than that. Obviously it does less, but this is its strenght.

Yes, yes, yes, please make an iOS version as soon as you can! You will need it, when you start liking the iPad more and more! Can’t you imagine your frustration, when you discover that there is no Scapple on the iPad?


You should get a refund then. I don’t think I could use Scapple if it kept screaming iPad at me. Or any word for that matter.

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Mute switch. :wink:

Actually, I’d love Scapple on my iPad and hope that, one day, I’ll be able to map out my ideas on the tram and move notes around with my finger. Scapple seems perfectly suited to the direct, physical, interaction a tablet allows. In the meantime, however, I love it on my Mac. I’ll happily wait.