Scrivener for iPad

Okay guys, you really have to consider porting your Scrivener to run on the iPad. This looks like ultimate portable writing tool & porting Scrivener to run on it just makes sense. What writer, journalist or author wouldn’t want to have the ability to have their iPad along on their travels, and the ability to run Scrivener on it.

End of 2010??


Ha, you are joking right?

The iPad runs iPhone software. If it ran OS X, it would be a no-brainer. I’ve spent two years coding Scrivener 2.0 to be a kick-ass Mac app, and coding it for the iPad would be a total rewrite, and would mean pretty much abandoning Scrivener for the Mac.

Honestly, the iPad looks lovely, and an iPad version of Scrivener would be great. Do I have the resources? No.

All the best,

So…can we put you down with a maybe? 8)

(running away)

I understand about the resources, but this could be the next really cool thing for writers. Personally I would love to work on an iPad with Scrivener. If there is no Scrivener I guess I’ll use Pages instead. But that would be a shame. No joke, you should consider Scrivener for the iPad.

My point is only, how? We’re not Apple, we’re not Omni. We’re two guys with a niche product. If we were selling Scrivener for $100 a pop and had hundreds of thousands of users, then we could just hire ourselves an iPhone developer and say, “Make it so.” But we’re not. There’s just me and David. And a bunch of great users who are kind enough to rave about Scrivener, but not so many that we’re driving around in sports cars. (Seriously, David’s car looks like a sports car from a distance and then you realise it’s not far away at all, just incredibly small.) David took a pay cut to come work with his best buddy (me), and I’m still trying to get the money together for a mortgage on our first house (let alone pay for food for three kids following the birth of my third last week!).

So, it’s not a matter of us not wanting to produce a copy of Scrivener for the iPad. I think the iPad looks great and would love to see a version of Scrivener on it. But living in the annoying Real World, how is it possible? I’m currently working flat out on Scrivener 2.0, into which I’ve put over two years of development. Do I drop this to work on an iPad version, learning how to program for the iPhone OS at the same time? (Me, I like writing on my laptop, either on my lap or by plugging it into an external monitor - the iPad looks cool, but I wouldn’t use it much for writing, even with the keyboard dock, so personally I’m still more excited about Scrivener for the Mac.) When 2.0 comes out, do I stop developing Scrivener for a year and try to develop an iPad version of Scrivener then? We can’t afford to hire anyone. :frowning: And I don’t really want to ask someone I don’t know to develop an iPad version of Scrivener for profit-share or suchlike, either, as it’s too big a risk.

There are also other big questions. If the iPad runs the iPhone OS, would it even be capable of opening a Scrivener project? Although some Apple iPhone apps use rich text, there is no rich text reader/writer view on the iPhone, and I know of a dev who recently had his iPhone app rejected by Apple for trying to use HTML to render editable rich text. This of course remains to be seen, and I have signed up for the iPhone developer program to look at this, but also because I want to see the iPad emulator and try out Scrivener .epub files (see below) on it.

(Related: There are things I don’t like about iPhone development. First, you have to pay Apple to develop an iPhone product - it’s free to develop for the Mac. And second, Apple can reject your app almost randomly, and you have no control over it.)

So, it’s not a matter of “not considering it”. It’s just a matter of practicalities. Most people don’t realise that programs such as Scrivener are pretty much garage-produced. It’s not resistance, it’s just frustration that we aren’t in a position to “make it so” right now.

Now, if you’re reading this and you’re an iPhone developer with an amazing track record of five star iPhone apps, and you’d like to produce an iPad version of Scrivener but give us 70% of the profits… :slight_smile:

On the plus side, Scrivener 2.0 supports the .epub format, so you’ll be able to send your novels from Scrivener to iBooks, at least…

So, to recap: I’m not saying there will never be an iPad version of Scrivener, or that I’m not interested in such a thing. I’m just saying that with what we have to work with at the moment, it’s not possible. We only have the resources to concentrate on the core Mac product right now.

All the best,

This really explains it all. Although I can understand the hype over the iPad (or i-whatever-will-be-called-in-the-future), and agreed that it looks nice(provided the keyboard), I understand you guys have a real life (surprise :smiley: ), and real-life constraints -of course. Just wanted you know that I am glad that you have a sensible approach to all this craze (not making pun of it, but it is what it is), and hopefully when things become clearer, there might be other grounds for a discussion of an iPad* application -just as it has been with the windows version.

I sympathise with all scriveners longing for scrivener -everywhere- (including myself:)): it is so good; from the design to the icon (thanks to AmberV, I guess :slight_smile: ). But al you said is very much understandable to me. Plus, I share your concerns on iPhone-Pod-Pad-* application approval process as well.

Thanks for the info & the post & for Scrivener
best wishes to everyone :wink:


Don’t listen to those pushers, Keith. Any of them!
You gotta do what you feel able to do, and no more.

You’re doing a great job. I don’t want you to be Apple, or Omni, or anyone else. I love your product, and that’s because it’s you and David who make it possible. Not some faceless multinational.

I know what it’s like working yourself to death on a project - hell, I’m a writer - and no one here wants you to drive yourself into the ground.

I for one am happy to go along with whichever direction you chose to take. I know it will be good, because it will be the way you want to go.

Huge congratulations on the new addition, btw. That’s the best news :smiley:

I will support you in every decision Keith… I know how difficult is your work and surely I will prefer a wonderful 2.0 for OsX than a not-so-well done iPad version.
By the way, congratulations for your newly born child! :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

So is there an opportunity for a cooperative of say 100 people or 1000 people who would put in the seed money for an iPad version, buy in the programming skills and even project management if required. Then 70% of sales goes to Keith and David and the balance to the co-op and further development.

Seems such an opportunity to grab the application and distribution channel of what could be a significant new market for readers.


Here’s one Scrivener user who wouldn’t buy a Scrivener for iPad!

I won’t buy an iPad either. For me, writing is hammering on keys. If I want to leave greasy marks on shiny surfaces, I can do so on the mirror in my bathroom.

I’ve not posted here before… but i’m posting now… because i LOVE scrivener… and I’m 110% behind the guys that develop it… they have a fantastic application, and they have to do what they believe is right and fits with their situations and work/life needs

I’d rather see scrivener 2.0 than an iPad version… IF i got an iPad… AND… i HAD to write on the move, I’d do what I do now… write it down in something (like WriteRoom) and sync it up and work on it properly in Scrivener when I can get to Scrivener

The future of scrivener and its developers is the important thing… the guys do a great job of programming a excellent stable amazing piece of software that helps others create…

Keith would be mad to work on Scrivener for iPad. If you want to write things buy a computer. If you want to consume things buy something like an iPod Touch (or the big expensive and frankly disappointing new version called iPad). It doesn’t matter that L&L is a small company. Even a huge company wouldn’t throw something at developing a serious writing app for iPad. Only a handful of fanbois would ever use it and by diverting resources from the mainstream of Scrivener users we’d all suffer.

Outside the fanbois community this looks a very dubious product indeed to me - and not just me either… … t-the-ipad



Screen shot 2010-01-27 at 5.36.39 PM.png

So this was you then!

THANK YOU, Keith, for not giving in to this closed Appstore environment philosophy. I am upset about Apple going the iPhone OS route, thus limiting the possibilities you have to create software and USE software for this device. Apple though, well, they love that. They have control and earn money with pretty much everything that is happening on those devices.

Also, yes, I want a physical keyboard as well. The fingers need to rest somewhere, they cant stay afloat while not typing on that screen, I suppose.

For that money, I will rather get another battery for my MBP (so I have roughly 10 hours of Scrivener too) AND a larger internal HDD. Oh, and at least I can display 720p on that screen, unlike that iPad thingy… sorry for the rant.

Keith’s logic makes perfect sense to me.

I will probably buy an iPad at some point, and will always use Scrivener, but if I need to own a laptop to use Scrivener, I will. It will make long plane trips less writing-intensive, but like I said, the thought process makes sense.


I only thought of wanting Scrivener for iPad when I saw that Apple have released iWork (Pages, etc.) for iPad. I admit, however, that these may have been written with inside information and capabilities not available to the app developers and so Pages’ ability to open .RTF may not be available to app devs - but, then again, it may be.

P.S. By the way, everyone, the iPad is said to be able to support a bluetooth keyboard - like the one I am writing this on. 8)

What if there was a pared down Scrivener app that allowed you to work on individual text files - without full access to the binder and outline modes. It would allow you to choose specific pages you knew you were going to work on that day, use them with your iPad, and then sync them back to the main document.

Either that, or work with one of the smaller/simpler text editing programs, like write room, and see if they will build in some functionality that lets you communicate easily between the two programs.

That way, before you leave the house, you open your project, export the “Chapter 1” file only. Use that on your iPad at the library. Come back home and upload the changes. Scrivener users with iPads are going to be doing this in some way regardless, so maybe there’s a way to build it in.

Some have complained about not wanting to write without a keyboard. That’s a legitimate beef, but the iPad not only will have a combo keyboard and stand, it’ll work with the stock Apple Bluetooth keyboard. You can find details here:

Also, keep in mind that, while the iPad is about half as fast as an MacBook, it also costs half as much and is far more portable (1.5 pounds or 0.68 kg). If you’ve ever thought of getting a MacBook but were deterred by the $1,000 price, an iPad at $499 could be the answer for you. As Steve Jobs clearly intended, the iPad offers something much better than a netbook for a netbook price.

But, as Keith has stressed, bringing Scrivener to the iPad is a different issue. From what the developer of TaskPaper has told me, the current iPhone (and thus iPad) OS doesn’t have all the text-handling bells and whistles that Keith has used to write Scrivener. Recreating them from scratch would take the resources of an Apple. That said, Apple did create a powerful word processor when they ported Pages to the iPad. If those text-handling features find their way into the 4.0 version of the iPhone/iPad OS, then a version of Scrivener for the iPad would make a lot more sense.

If that happens, rather than load Keith down with learning a new OS and distracting him still further away from writing novels, it might be possible to find a talented, independent iPhone developer who could much more easily create a feature-complete and file compatible version for the iPad. That’d make everyone happy.

Keep in mind that the market for iPad apps is likely to be on the same huge scale as iPhone apps. Like it or not, the Mac is a niche product, particularly in the global market. The iPhone is not a niche product. It is a huge product globally. The same is likely to be true of iPad products, which is why there are rumors that Apple has bought up most of the world production of 10-inch LCD screens for it. An iPad version of Scrivener could, for instance, sell for the same $9.95 that Apple will be selling Pages. If Keith gets $1 of that as his share for being the designer, leaving $6 for the developer, he could be doing very, very well indeed.

For now, we can all relax. The first models of the iPad won’t be out for two months and after that we can see what direction Apple takes the operating system and if it would even be possible to create something like Scrivener.

Personally, I’d love to see an iPad version of Scrivener. Yesterday, I was skeptical that I’d ever want an iPad. Today, I’m looking for good excuses to get one. Doing books for the iPad is one excuse. Having Scrivener running on it would be another powerful reason.

–Mike Perry, Seattle

Concentrate on 2.0 and beyond for mac.