Document Writing with Project Management.

Scrivener is a great tool, and it’s my preference of choice for long projects. Now. However, two other tools work well that readers might want to notice.

I use Ulysses far more than Scrivener (Mac only), especially for articles, stories and shorter projects. The interface is quite similar, and Ulysses keeps track of every Ulysses document, not just documents for the project. You can keep track of clippings, keywords and notes, just like Scrivener. You can modify the interface and use HTML or markdown. And you can hide everything and focus only on typing (like Scrivener). It’s also faster and cleaner. (It doesn’t allow you to organize document files with an index card interface, but that would defeat the purpose. You can still organize and arrange files in the library window).

Before Scrivener and Ulyssess came to the iPad, I relied on Final Draft Pro, which is designed around project management (albeit a screen play). You can write as a novel, create styles, add notes at any point and jump to a notecard interface. But it’s handling of paragraph style formatting is slightly clumsy.

All three allow you to work on projects on your computer or tablet. Final Draft Pro is the most expensive, Ulysses and Scrivener are about the same at $45.

I wish I could say I’ve found the perfect software for my needs, but that beast is still out there. It will be the same for everybody until a developer recognizes the need for a modular app. If I need a note card interface and manager, I pay for it and add it to the app. If I need extensive referencing tools, I add them to the app. If I need to access my entire file library from the document (similar to Ulysses), I add that. And not like Adobe where everything is its own app and I pay $50 a month.

A tool that allows me to launch my graphics app from the document and inserts the image into the project when it saves? That would be super. But no drawing tools in the application (Word). The developer could partner with a graphics app to create that module plus one that opens the word processor from the graphics app and inserts the formatted text. (And, yes, it would have to jump you to Adobe CC).

Developers can add new modules based on user demand.

The problem is, developers begin with an idea of what an app should be like rather than extensively interviewing software users to see how they use existing apps and what works and doesn’t work. The may conduct some focus testing, but even the testing is geared toward what they think the user wants.

Living metaphor. Follow me @stephens_pt.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store