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Interesting Ulysses competitor – subscription-free

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Posted by MadaboutDana
Jun 15, 2019 at 08:58 AM


First, a request:

Please do be careful about coming across as patronising or dismissive, washere. It’s not fair to treat independent developers as a bunch of feckless rip-off merchants when you know nothing about them. Most of the rest of us make strenuous attempts to avoid being judgemental, but you seem to prefer to make suspicious/dismissive/judgemental comments by default. This is a shame, because you’ve got plenty of interesting and valuable things to say. But in a friendly forum of peers, your tone often comes across as deliberately alienating, which I’m sure is not your intention. Relax, enjoy!

PageFour, Scribbler etc. are all Windows apps. They’re pretty good, actually, but as you say, abandonware. I forget the developer’s name (long time since I corresponded with him), but he was pretty amiable as well. Developing and maintaining an app is hard work. Even the famous Jesse Grosjean is primarily famous for abandoning his many excellent apps (and then picking them back up again, in the case of TaskPaper). I just wish he’d pick up FoldingText again (and produce a mobile version), but hey…

Second, on Novellus:

No hiding involved - if you look at the app in Mac App Store, you’ll find the name of the developer (Jesse Wood), and I’ve already corresponded with him a few times (easy to do via his website, which is elegant and informative). He’s very responsive, and his other app (PaperEdit) has been around for a while and is highly thought of. Novellus is brand new, and Jesse is very open to suggestions (I’ve already made a couple, as ever!).

Novellus is a nice, neat, tidy app which, impressively, takes up very little disk space (less than 13 MB; yes, you read that right, MB) but still has an immensely powerful, built-in grammar and writing checker. You could call it a Scrivener rip-off. I prefer to call it a classic writing app that’s definitely been inspired by Scrivener, but has attempted to make the whole Scrivener experience much simpler. From my point of view, that’s highly desirable (much as I love Scrivener)! It could do with a mobile version, of course, and that’s where he falls short, because he’s competing with writing apps (Scrivener, Ulysses, iaWriter et al) which already have excellent mobile clients.

The two obvious shortcomings in Novellus are a lack of styles, and no option to open multiple windows on your working file (desirable not least so you can look at your Notebook alongside your Manuscript). I’ve suggested both things, and Jesse has agreed with them and prioritised styles in particular because he’s found the lack of them irritating himself. So he clearly eats his own dog food.

All the best,

washere wrote:
The website structure and the two products, minimal Scriv knock off &
>grammar police app look similar to the guy’s website who made pagefour
>then abandoned buyers to make Scribbler. Of course he did the same and
>made that freeware and abandonware too. Then he launched smartedit. Very
>similar but ported for the Mac. Looks the same guy but trying to hide
>who’s behind this.
> >I can’t trust any of his software on my systems. Not after my attention
>was drawn to an Irish newspaper story, legal report, about him some
>years ago. Not with that record. If anyone knows who is actually behind
>this, please enlighten us.