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The cautionary tale of iA Writer Pro

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Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Dec 26, 2013 at 11:47 AM

 

In the meta-trends thread, we’re discussing how small developers are creating focussed, cross-platform apps. One of the formerly successful teams was iA, who created the highly touted Writer app for Mac OS and iOS. But they have had a major miscalculation about their own ingenuity, apparently, with the recent release of Writer Pro,

I have Writer and was intrigued when I heard about Writer Pro and its modal writing work flow. But after reading about what it does, even I, a devout CRIMPer, resisted buying it. I thought, huh, what’s it really do? I was glad to see that others thought the same thing:

http://buildingtwenty.net/posts/quick-take-on-writer-pro

http://davidhewson.com/2013/12/19/a-quick-look-at-ia-writer-pro/

I am glad to see that even an app like this, from a developer with built in fans, is held to a standard. Maybe there is hope for computing in this multi-platform, dumb-down world after all.

Steve Z.

 


Posted by Prion
Dec 27, 2013 at 08:46 AM

 

At least they have dropped their silly pending software patent (english language syntax highlighting) that relied heavily on technology provided by Apple. Their aggressive stance towards other developers caused concern but that seems to be settled now.

 


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Dec 27, 2013 at 02:03 PM

 

Yes, I read the recent Twitter exchange about that. This all points to a developers with an exaggerated view of their own genius.

Prion wrote:
At least they have dropped their silly pending software patent (english
>language syntax highlighting) that relied heavily on technology provided
>by Apple. Their aggressive stance towards other developers caused
>concern but that seems to be settled now.

 


Posted by shatteredmindofbob
Dec 27, 2013 at 11:07 PM

 

While we’re still talking meta, can we please stop referring to Mac apps with an iOS version as being “cross-platform”? Every time I see that term used, all I can think of is “We have both kinds of music! Country AND Western!”

 


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Dec 29, 2013 at 01:43 PM

 

shatteredmindofbob wrote:
While we’re still talking meta, can we please stop referring to Mac apps
>with an iOS version as being “cross-platform”? Every time I see that
>term used, all I can think of is “We have both kinds of music! Country
>AND Western!”

I can understand why you’d think this, but I have to disagree with the notion that iOS and Mac are the same platform, because there seems to be a real challenge for Mac developers to recreate the power of their apps for iOS. Some examples:

- CircusPonies Notebook
- DevonThink
- OmniOutliner
- MacJournal

These are powerful apps on a Mac that have pale companion apps on iOS. Again, I think, it comes down to the fact that those apps are very multi-dimensional in a world that is forcing dumbed-down focus.

In the other direction, there are apps that start out in iOS and seem very powerful on that platform, but when the developer introduces a Mac version, they end up with an app that doesn’t quite live up to similar apps developed for Mac in the first place. Two that come to mind are NoteSuite and Notebooks. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that those apps are not functional or anything like that, just that if you were going to get an information manager JUST for your Mac, you probably wouldn’t pick either NoteSuite or Notebooks, because there are better choices.

I think there is clearly a divide between what is optimal for iOS and what is optimal for Mac.

Anyway, that’s my two cents.

Steve Z.

 


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