Scrivener for the eyes: Flying Logic

Absolutely, if this is the market you are going for and students would be required to buy the product like a textbook and use it to fulfill requirements in such business classes, the student version would be quite sufficient. But I am interested in this product mainly for the potential it has in non-business applications, for students in English classes (or any other discipline that requires them to write research papers), or students in creative writing programs. Graduate students and PhD candidates in all fields could benefit from the potential functionality of Flying Logic. Even fairly experienced academic writers like myself would be a potential audience.

But no writing project is the same: in this it is quite different from the original target area of Flying Logic: it is never enough to visually represent an existing theory of a process. This is the reason why AndreasE went for the pro version. A writer is not interested in applying an existing theory, a writer wants to express novel thoughts in a new way.

That said, there is merit in limiting the options; there are established processes for creative as well as for academic writing that can be modeled in Flying Logic. The constraint provided by a limited set of options in a well-thought through, predefined domain could be an asset for the creative process. It may just be a matter of how you present it and deal with it on your site.

In any event, when you are dealing with writers, you are just dealing with a completely different audience, both in terms of functionality as well as in terms of pricing expectations.


PS: I moved some of my response to the Flying Logic forum, since it best fits there


The question is: Does the richness of the features in their present form justify the price-tag? I’d say no. (I compare it with, say, Curio with its library, “sleuth” function, mind-maps, “outline of outlines” and ability to place all sorts of files on its virtual whiteboards.)

The only reason I’m bothering to argue this case is because I agree that the software is interesting, potentially paradigm-shifting and quite possibly of considerable use to writers. But not at this price.

A writer-orientated edition with carefully-chosen pre-set domains and entities and a more restricted set of operators, whose models can can then be exported as a text/XML/OPML outline, and which is priced at less than $75 - that could have legs.

Yes, indeed, and most of these programs have academic pricing for the full versions, which is important for me as an academic on an academic salary. Mind Manager is $99.00 for educational customers, Devon Technologies offer 25 percent educational discounts on all of their commercial products, Curio costs 69.00 in their academic store, and I paid $ 98 for Tinderbox on a special for teachers and students.

I know that the idea is probably not to help poor teachers but to get exposure through them, and that students who have used a software package in school will be likely to go to that package later. And, on a less cynical note, business users make money using the software while teachers do not, which merits the higher price tag for business users. But I think it is safe to say that this type of pricing policy is what academic customers would generally expect.


One of the most powerful text editors on the planet, Vim, is almost precisely 1mb in size.

The Student Edition of Flying Logic is also available to teachers.

Well, I doubt I can be everything to everyone. But export-to-outline is in the works, and many special-purpose domains and templates will be made freely available to all Flying Logic users— including those of the Personal Edition at $79.

Would you mind telling me what additional operators you would find useful?


Not sure I was arguing for additional operators - my suggestion was for a more restricted set, both because it would enable you to justify a lower price, and because fiction writers and - I suspect - most factual writers would have little or no need for most of the strictly numerical ones currently part of FL Pro. ('m not talking here about the confidence factors; I think they are potentially very useful.)

Obviously AND and OR would be useful for writers. There may be others that aren’t currently part of the feature-set, but I’ll have to explore the software for a while to see if I can come up with suggestions.

I’m sure the key need is for an exportable outline that can be imported into the likes of Word and Scrivener and possibly OmniOutliner: I can’t see exactly how the confidence-factor logic would carry over, but it would be desirable if it did.


As the originator of this quote, I knew I was sticking my neck out when I wrote it. (Having criticised “Chesil Beach” for not being value for money in another thread, I’ve probably pigeon-holed myself as only measuring the value of literature and software by the yard.)

However, I was simply using size as a very approximate surrogate for complexity and utility - of course there are many exceptions - in any case Vim has an irresistible price! Any consumer software at around the $500 pricepoint has a power way beyond any FLP is likely to have for the foreseeable future. And most if not all the programmes priced at around $150 with which Mac users are likely to benchmark Flying Logic Pro have power and weight that it does not have. Yet?

And now, having got myself into a hole, I’ll stop digging… :confused:

Except using the Student Edition makes it sort of hard for the teacher to create and distribute custom domains, doesn’t it?


“Students” (i.e. people who study under supervision) or “pupils” (i.e. people who are taught)? What about research? What about independent thinking? What about processes that aren’t directed by teachers, but where the Flying Logic technology could usefully be adapted to specific (and individual) cases and needs?

In my experience (and, yes, I am generalising), university lecturers and other teachers lag behind the software market in their specification of what students need to buy - unless specialist software is absolutely essential for a particular course (which must, by necessity, be a limited market), they tend to base dictated software requirements on a common denominator and not a cutting edge. I can’t imagine anyone requiring me to buy Flying Logic in my line of study, yet a suitably priced and suitably flexible product would undoubtedly be something I would be interested in buying and using - without guidance from tutors or supervisors. (In fact, why would I even tell them I was using it? The tools I use are my business. I don’t tell them I am using Scrivener, unless I am in an evangelical “you’ve got to buy it” mode, like some sort of drug pusher. And they don’t even know what word processing software I use, since I just deliver something in the format they want to read.)

Why limit the market to areas where the software features on a “required purchase” list, where usage is to some extent controlled by teaching staff and curriculum content? There is a much bigger market out there.

Teachers interested in using custom domains can either use Flying Logic Pro and create the domains they require, or can distribute existing domains that meet their needs.

I fear I am not making myself clear enough. The Student edition is available for price-conscious buyers aligned with academic institutions. It is available so a base-line level of functionality can be used in these environments. Schools can also purchase this edition (or any other edition for that matter) to put on shared computers in classrooms. I do not feel that having a Student edition limits Flying Logic’s market— it is intended to address a particular market segment. Some professors have said they want to use it as a teaching tool and require their students to buy it— I am attempting to address their needs. I’m sure many other teachers will not know or care whether their students use it.

For people who have ambitions of writing, Flying Logic is not now nor ever will be a requirement, just as Scrivener is not. But in contrast with Scrivener (even though I would like to see Flying Logic used by writers) it is not solely a writer’s tool— it is more of a general “spreadsheet for thinking.” In some ways this enlarges Flying Logic’s market, because it will appeal to people besides writers, but in other ways it also limits Flying Logic’s market, because it will only appeal to people who take a logical, methodical approach to thinking through issues— certainly a tiny minority of the general population, and clearly a subset of writers as well.

I think the point that many posters are making is that much of the “academic” or “student” versions of existing, popular software is not feature limited.

Take Microsoft Office for example, purchasing the academic version does not limit the end user in terms of features.

There is an important difference between academic pricing for software with feature parity and pricing based on versions lacking feature parity.

I don’t think folks are objecting to different versions/feature sets, rather that there is no academic pricing, per se, where the end user can decide on the feature set they need.

Anyhow, the software looks neat. :slight_smile:

Would you consider academic pricing for the personal and pro versions?

This is an interesting question. From a technical standpoint I certainly could. I suppose my question would be: would this satisfy many of the people in this thread who have expressed the opinion that the price is too high? My intuition says it will not, because while one or two people have identified themselves as academics and could therefore benefit from such an offer, I think the majority are not… a number of people seem to have simply reached the conclusion that the software is not worth what I am currently charging for it.

So, please let me know: if I offered academic pricing on Flying Logic Pro, how many qualifying people here would buy it, and at what price?

Being the one who brought the $499 into the discussion, just to clarify: I discovered this price when I started my purchase from the Help menu of the Flying Logic Pro demo. A window opened, a purchase process started, and at one point this price appeared. “Oh, no, stop - what’s that?”, I thought. “What’s going wrong here? Have I missed the introduction period? Is this i[/i] the final price?”

I held my breath, switched to the website, the webstore, and phew! There it was, the $149 I had took into consideration and decided that the thing was worth it to me. I strongly doubt I’d bought it for $499. I know from my own experience as the IT-counseler I worked as before I went writing fulltime that the pricing of software is difficult; more difficult than in most other businesses. Here I think $499 is far too much, even considered the limited market: You’d practically create your competition this way, giving away the chance to establish your application as a future standard in computer-aided thinking.

Is Flying Logic an indispensable tool for the writer? In my opinion: No. Not at all. I consider it worth a try and hope it will be helpful for me, but on the other hand, I look back on 36 years of experience in writing, I have published more than a dozen novels etc., so there are a lot of points where I work different today from when I started. What might be helpful for the experienced writer might be a hindrance - even a danger! - for the beginner. (In other fields of activity - sports for example - it is well known that not every tool is for everyone. You won’t give a racing car to a newbie, would you?) Someone who is busy with his first novel needs just Scrivener and its binder, that’s enough. To turn oneself towards a software like Flying Logic would most probably be an expensive way of procrastination. I’m not even sure that it will be otherwise in my own case… :laughing:

This is it for the moment. I have to leave tomorrow to give the writing workshop I mentioned, after that I’ll have to be on the Frankfurt Book Fair, and then back home I will have to work seriously on a new plotline, and I’ll try it with Flying Logic. So I will be able to tell more by the end of October. Bye!

That price ($499) was surely established with the help of a “Conflict resolution” beta version.
What a demonstration of the V1 qualities…
I’m waiting for V2 :smiley:

Just an off-topic and quick hello and welcome to the forum to Robert. I genuinely appreciate the fact that developers take the time to respond to threads about their software on this forum. Flying Logic looks great.
All the best,

The $499 price (and other prices in other editions) embedded in the Kagi Registration module were are incorrect— They are not nor have ever been the prices for which the product was offered for sale. There will be an update tomorrow to fix this in all future downloads. I apologize for the confusion.

To be honest, I would consider it at $149 but have some difficulty justifying it for my needs. At somewhere between $90 and $129, it would be more appealing and in line with my general expectations (based on “similar” software pricing mentioned previously).

At $90 - $100 I would very likely make a purchase without much consideration, simply based on the description and potential of the software. Between $100 and $129, I would have to work a bit to justify the purchase and allocate the dough, although that range is not out of line.

You might also offer a $20 discount for the personal version for academics as well. The student version is priced well within the range for most, IMO.

I would also like to compiment you on your willingness to have an open discussion and to field critical comments. Kudos.

Also, bear in mind that it can take some time to spread the word and for software to become popular/desireable among certain groups, such as students or academics.

For example, I have been a beta tester for Devon-Technologies for several years and it took some time for it to become more popular among academics. It currently has an almost cult-like following (like another piece of software we all know and love :wink: ).
I remember telling a fellow student about it at a residency. After she tried it, she raved about it to her coworkers, fellow Mac users and fellow students.

IMO, part of what makes a program desirable is the disposition and attitude of the developer(s), especially today when there is a general lack of quality of service in so many areas.

Again, kudos.


Thank you Keith! I appreciate the lively community you’re hosting here.



I think that all this discussion about pricing–though important–is not really what is needed right now. What I would like to see is:1. Comments of those who are using or have used Flying Logic in fiction writting or academic writing.
2. The changes the developer would need to implement in FL so it will serve better the needs of fiction and academic writers.
Only then, a discussion about pricing will become relevant.