Suggestions for improving pace of development

I have been an enthusiastic user of Scrivener for a few years now. But just when I start writing for a really big project, it feels like Scrivener development has all driven into a black-hole and camped there. I understand the desire to only put out software when it’s ready, but this harms the users when the landscape has changed and Scrivener is not keeping up.

I’m a user who owns Scrivener licenses on Windows and MacOS. Because of this I feel the disproportionate emphasis of MacOS over Windows development quite powerfully. This virtual abandonment of the development on the next Windows version, as if it were an apparently optional afterthought is ridiculous.

A year ago I read about the new MacOS version and about how the next Windows version was going to be significantly delayed. I couldn’t understand why a company whose developers are (presumably) making money off the sales of their product, don’t show any concern for whether literally half the available userbase can have a functionally updated version on their system.

Now, I appreciate the fact that the main developer (founder?) is obviously an Apple-ecosystem guy, judging from all the focus on Apple products and so little concern for anything non-Apple. I also get that the original developer may only have real experience coding with a Mac coding environment and thus we see MacOs and iOS offerings rather than others. Fine. Everyone’s going to have their area of expertise and focus. That’s unavoidable.

However, as a business, why not go hire a competent developer team to translate your app functions for the other 75% of potential users who use Windows and the 54% of users who use Android? Or the near 100% of the potential public who use web apps? I realize that the current Beta for Windows might be an attempt at just that, but seriously, a year ago, when I read that the Windows version was in the works I rejoiced! And when I heard that a mobile version was coming for iOS I got excited that perhaps an Android version might be coming behind that. But that was obviously premature.

The slowness of the release of the update for Windows is so slow that it seems to suggest something more than a simple “quality first” approach to app development. In fact, this has begun to look more like either a developer who is just learning the windows development environment as they go, OR a business philosophy which is so averse to paying for the development team that they’re only allowing for one developer (or a team of amateurs) to work on each piece of software?

Unfortunately, the result is not a viable product. Development moves far too slowly and the user base (myself included) are forced to start looking for other alternatives which are in active development. The "wait for quality* approach is admirable, but not when people need a working version to use! Or, in my case, users who are cross-platform are forced to use a Windows version which might no longer open on their windows laptop, because they’re supposed to “wait” for the sweet sweet quality that is to come.

I don’t have the luxury of waiting. And at the moment, I am being punished for building my writing workflow around your software. Is that what you want for your users?

And please don’t simply suggest I use the Beta version. If the beta is stable enough for me to use in a production environment, then release it. If not, then don’t ask me to accept it as a viable substitute.

I don’t want to seem uncharitable, but being a paying user of your software does not seem to be working to my advantage. It appears that you are simply listening to the concerns of other Apple-only users like yourself, while giving little consideration to the problems that narrow focus creates for users relying on other OS ecosystems. It is no wonder to me if your user base is silently abandoning your software in search of a development company who cares about the concerns of their customers.

Please release the new Windows version soon.

Or don’t. I gather that what gets posted here makes very little difference to those with the power to make a difference.


On the one hand you complain that Windows development has been abandoned.

On the other hand you are apparently aware that the Windows Scrivener 3 beta exists. You could easily find that the current version is beta 17.

Both of these statements cannot be true. Quiescent software projects do not release new beta versions every few months.


Why are some people in this thread acting like the only way they can write something is with a perfect program that has all the features anyone has ever asked for and absolutely no bugs? If you can’t write without a certain program feature, then the problem is you, not the software. Scrivener is designed to make writing easier. And it does. I can organize things much better with Scrivener than in my old three-ring binder and corkboard on the wall. But if all electricity stopped working, I could still write. Stop blaming the tools.

Methinks all the wailing, gnashing of teeth and pearl clutching over Windows V3 is because certain users have nothing better to do. I’ve also noticed that many, if not most, have only a couple of posts, which leads me to believe that perhaps some among the competition have started the ball rolling because they’re afraid, very afraid.

Might I suggest that if anyone isn’t happy with the current Scrivener versions, perhaps they could go out and purchase a monthly subscription to another product, that will certainly solve all their problems. Or, they could suck it up and spend time working on their own scrivener-like programs to perfect them for one and all - you know, Mac, Windows, &c.

  • cups an ear to listen * Ah, the sounds of silence as the miniscule herd is incapable of moving along.

What is it that you desperately need to do that Win version 1.9 can’t and which Mac version 3 can?

This, pretty much. I switched to Windows a couple of years ago (before v3 was in the works), and while there were a couple of Mac features I sorely missed, I made the choice to stick with the software and the environment, and adjust to what was available. It’s a source of great joy (and productivity!) to me that the beta includes all the features I’d missed, but when I switched to Windows Scrivener, I did it fully expecting to go without those features indefinitely; I made the decision based on the product as it was at the time.

As some other users have said in other threads like this, you work with what you have available to you; there’s nothing to be gained in comparison to something that doesn’t exist for your environment.

That said, as a sidenote:

This has actually been one of the major driving forces behind my continued use of the beta for the brunt of my work – how actively it’s being updated and developed. Even if you don’t plan on using the current beta, a quick glance into that forum should assuage some of your concerns and make it clear how hard the team is working on this version, and how consistent they are at bringing out updates and fixes. We may not be up to the ‘perfect’ release you’re after, but development is clearly active, current, and ongoing.

Really, some of the defensive and unhelpful replies here. Essentially attacking the OP for expecting a product he paid for to get the update that has been long delayed.

“Try/buy another product” - fine for starting a new project, but perhaps the OP has 000s of words in an ongoing one, or he is comfortable with Scrivener and doesn’t want to move.
“Write it yourself” - okay…
“What do you expect - perfection?” - no, just a few updates and a continuation of a stable platform
“What can’t you do in this version that you think you can do in the new one?” - a practical question, but again it’s turning the question back to the customer as a ‘complainer’
“Use the beta” - might have an ongoing project that he doesn’t wish to risk a platform that might not be fully stable yet.

I suppose I’m going to get some vitriolic or patronising comments now. But really guys, I’ve seen the same kind of responses beating down an OP for ‘complaining’ about the delays in other threads.

I agree with EggyBread. When a product is over a year behind the projected completion date, it is not unreasonable for users to be concerned. There must be problems. This Windows 3 project clearly has gone much much slower than anticipated. It is not polite to jump on concerned posters.

One of the advantages of Scrivener is the wonderful forums, supported by great people helping each other and getting support from scrivener staff. I hate to see us being so unwelcoming to people raising legitimate concerns. We tend to see a stable product, which I am using for production work, and which is getting rapid updates with each release at about every 6 or 7 weeks, fixing a long list of issues and adding missing parts, and tend to be content that we have a great product which will only get better. But others see a project which is over a year behind expected release date. When other companies have fallen over a year behind schedule, their products are often not released ever.

One piece of information that helped me, was reading here that the first beta was released way before it was really a beta at all, more like a pre-alpha. But L&L wanted their Mac Users with Windows machines or collaborators to be able to edit and work on the Mac projects. So they got something out for Windows users to work on Mac projects.

I think we should acknowledge their concerns, and that issues must exist whatever they are, but explain why we are not concerned - (stable product, rapid product releases with lots of fixes and new features).

This is a shockingly complex product with so many nooks and crannies and so many people using it in so many different ways.

When did it become okay to insult the developers?

No, that’s not what I asked. My question was:
“What is it that you desperately need to do that Win version 1.9 can’t and which Mac version 3 can?”

Sometimes it turns out that someone has seen something in a video about Mac Scrivener and wants to do something similar in Win Scrivener. And sometimes that is actually possible, but requires a different approach. That’s why I asked about the Mac version, not the coming Windows version.

Win Scrivener 3 is supposed to have “feature parity” with Mac version 3, but Windows and Mac OS are very different operating systems so the Win and Mac versions will never be exactly the same.

So the core question is: what is it you need to do that you think can’t be done in Win Scrivener 1.9 but which you think can be done in Mac Scrivener 3?

Please note that I’m the only person in this thread with an official connection to Literature & Latte.

If your goal in this thread is simply to complain about the pace of development, that’s fine, but at least have the self-awareness to admit that’s what you’re doing. You can pretend you’re offering constructive feedback all you like, but repeatedly claiming that the development team is incompetent sort of gives the game away.

If, instead, you are legitimately trying to get work done and feel that goal is impeded by the release version of Win Scrivener, then explaining exactly what you want to do will result in lots of suggestions from lots of very helpful people. Which will probably be a more pleasant experience all around.


I am using Scrivener for Win I was just reading this thread for my edification, but since the invitation was offered…

  1. Importing: I would like to be able to import a web page. I put in the Address, Title, and then choose Import As: PDF Document via Webkit. Doesn’t work. I’ve tried the other options as well. Always get, “The web page could not be imported.”

  2. Margins: I would like to be able to set the margins wider. When I go into Tools, Option, and choose Editor, there is a text box which allows you to set the margins, but only to “6”. I would like to set them to 12 or 14. I have the Editor Margins set to 25 points, which does not fix my problem. In other words, when I paste text into Scrivener, I would like the text to be full screen as opposed to crowded on the left hand side.

  3. Text; I would like to be able to paste text and have the result be readable, like any other program that deals with text, like Word or LibreOffice Writer or Pages. Much of the time, when I copy an article online and then hit “Paste” the result is a mess. Yes, I can choose, “Paste and Match Style” but then I lose the formatting and any hyperlinks.

  4. Images: I would like to be able to paste images directly into Scrivener. This is hit or miss. Sometimes it works but most of the time not. Often I have to paste the article into Word, copy, and then paste into Scrivener to get working graphics. Other times I have to paste the graphics one by one into a graphical program like Paint, then copy, then paste into Scrivener.

  5. Formatting: I would like to set bulleted items or list numbers so that they indent automatically. I would like to be able to indent sections using an set function on the toolbar as in Word, without having to manually do it awkwardly using the markers for tabbing on the ruler. That is very tedious.

  6. Loading: I would like the program to load in a reasonable amount of time. As I understand it, the program is designed so that you can add files and pdf - “everything in one place.” However, as I add files and pdfs, the program loads slower and backs up slower. This is problematic when I want to add a note to my writing and only have a few minutes to do so.