The New Photoshop, Journler

First I have to say that this is my first post in the Scrivener forums. Second, I have to add my piece about what I think of this program before I get back to the topic so bear with me. This may ramble a little.

Once, long ago in the 1990s, I sat down at a computer and experienced an epiphany moment that changed life forever. I had just discovered Photoshop 3.0 (not CS3, this is the bad old days when applying a filter in Photoshop would take 40 minutes and you’d go grab lunch before you could see your changes). The moment I used Photoshop, I knew that I’d found a program that had no equal and never would. I was right, it is the most profoundly wonderful program I have used for all these years.

I write, I also make websites; I do all of the design in Photoshop and HTML the rest by hand. I use Photoshop nearly every day for everything. You would be amazed what odd little tasks Photoshop is good for: from making a flyer for my brother who ran in a local election, to making a fun little animated gif avatar on a whim. I know the program inside and out. There is nothing Photoshop cannot do… except write.

A few months ago I became absolutely fed up with plodding along writing in NeoOffice. It’s a little better than Word (not so buggy) but every word processor is clunky and I had to open five documents layered on top of one another to see my note pages while writing on the current chapter, while the previous chapter was open for reference. You know.

Going on a search to find a better word processor, I found a program that I am SO ANGRY that I purchased. It was a cheap rip-off of Scrivener (not that I knew it yet), a blatant copy written by really POOR programmers. I won’t name names. It’s a piece of garbage. It was clumsy, limited, and felt like a DOS program… but it was better than NeoOffice, and I didn’t know there was anything else. Then, frustrated with that other unnamed program, I was fishing around in its forum to find a way to fix a really annoying limitation when one lady mentioned Scrivener. I nearly popped out of my chair. WHAT? There was ANOTHER program, almost just like this rip-off, that didn’t have the limitations I was frustrated with???

The moment I saw Scrivener’s website’s front page, I knew I’d found another Photoshop. I mean it, all I had to do was look at the front page of the website. Clean interface (remember, I make websites), easy access to all menu items, no clutter, doesn’t look like it was created in the 1990’s before there was such a thing as CSS. I thought, ‘the company that makes a clean website makes a clean program.’ It’s true; the kind of person who looks for efficiency, streamlined usability, and stability will make sure their website follows those ideals. It’s kind of like how you know a lot about a person by whether they groom or not.

As I was downloading the trial version of Scrivener, I knew – I hadn’t even opened the program yet for the first time – that I would immediately purchase it. I am a rather penniless writer, frankly – and yes, it took me a whole month to save up forty bucks – but I wish this program cost more… because it is worth more. The rip-off guys charge fifty bucks American for their trash, this one cost forty and is literally six times better. I howled, I even told all of my family how mad I was that I’d given money to those rip-off artists; I KNOW they are a rip-off company because years ago when I was looking for a good Journal-Diary program, I found two programs: the excellent one, and their version which was a direct copy but so poorly written that it was buggy as Texas in summer. They also ripped off Pic2Icon, a little free excellent icon program made by an independent programmer which makes instant drag-and-drop icons from any picture. They sell their version for twenty bucks, and I will BET you it’s buggy as … well you know.

In other words, those guys look around on the internet for popular programs, make a bad copy, and then charge ten to twenty dollars more for their junk. I pray Karma gets them.

So now I have thrown off the shackles of that other rip-off junk, and I am free from it, and I open Scrivener every day even if I don’t have to write just to look at it. Seriously, I don’t feel happy at my computer unless I have Scrivener open in the window of my second monitor. Now I have two main programs on my computer that I can live out of: Photoshop (which unfortunately is growing bloated in these latest versions) and Scrivener. They are classics.

I had a thought, and I know that Mr. Keith probably doesn’t want the bother… but I will mention it here just in case it strikes his fancy.

One of the other super-excellent programs that I use literally every day was another one of those beauties that this Junk Company ripped off. However, Karma has not been kind to this other program. While the Junk Company continues to sell their buggy ripoff of it, the original and extremely stable program has become abandoned by its developer because he just can’t keep up with the success. His program – Journler – literally became so popular so quickly that he was overwhelmed.

His final blog post is extremely sad to read. He ends it by saying: “Finally, I would like to hold out a last hope that Journler will continue in one form or another. If you or someone you know may be interested in picking up Journler where I have left off, please contact me. I would love to see Journler once again thrive in the hands of a capable developer or team. ~Philip Dow, Sprouted, Journler, 2005-2009”

I have thought for years… God, if only I could write programs I would keep Journler going just because it deserves to, but I am busy enough as it is. Is there anyone out there who could pick up this little Journal program and make it live again? Seeing Scrivener, it sort of connected in my mind. The company that can make this program might really appreciate that other one.

Like I said, it’s a daydream of mine, and I am sure Mr. Keith is probably too busy to bother taking on another program. But as a person who collects excellent programs and lives out of three of them… Photoshop, now Scrivener, and Journler… I thought it was worth a try to throw this out there and see if Mr. Keith is interested in adoption.

If you are, the Journler website is here:

Journler does something very different than Scrivener, they are made for two completely different sorts of projects – Scrivener for long manuscripts (I am a fiction novelist) and Journler for daily notes, thoughts, and random internet scrapbooking organized by keyword into smart folders. Do tell me if my Mr. Keith would be interested, I would be very interested to know his thoughts on this.

Final thoughts: while I think Journler should be sold for forty dollars, I think Scrivener should be sold for sixty. Sorry, did I say sixty? Maybe 120.


Welcome to the forums! Many thanks for the many kind words - the comparison to Photoshop is high praise indeed. In fact, when I set out to create Scrivener, a sort of “Photoshop for writers” is what I had in mind, so it’s great that you see it this way.

A few fellow users on this forum have lamented the demise of Journler, and it’s certainly a shame that such a good program has stalled through being a victim of its own success. And I can understand how a program can become an awful lot of work very fast, that’s for sure. Unfortunately we’re not in a position to pick it up, though. We’re a very small company, and I do all the coding and design (although Ioa has had a fair bit of input in helping me refine the design over the past couple of years and is currently at work on redesigning the site - we are of course sticking with the clean interface), so we just don’t have the resources to work on a different program right now.

Thanks again!
All the best,

In my opinion what comes closest to Journler is Together:

In some aspects, like the collaboration with Scrivener (drag & drop just works!), it is superior to Journler.

Contrary to the late Journler Together is still under developement and the programmer has an open ear for the wishes of the users.