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Scrivener for iOS, part 2: the Awesome

Yesterday, I brought up the problems I had while testing the new Scrivener for iOS. Now that that is out of the way, let’s talk about how great it was.

The in-app keyboard is awesome. Yesterday I lamented typing in the app isn’t ideal on an old iPad. Your fingers may be large, pudgy sausages like mine, but that’s ok, because the Scrivener in-app keyboard has the means of moving between words and characters so you don’t have to be able to pinpoint where you put your finger perfectly a thousand times until it’s right. I know I said typing with it is a pain, and I stand by that, but the actual on-screen keyboard as a unit is great.

Word progress is maintained between apps. Assuming you follow the synchronization mantra – sync from your desktop, synch onto your device, synch when you’re done, then synch again on your desktop (it really isn’t as onerous as it sounds) – you are in for a treat. In addition to the expected – words transferred! Structure changes reflected! Profits!! – you will also be delighted to see that your word counts (if you’re tracking) are maintained. Progress made on the go will be carried over to your desktop. Of course, this works best in a scenario where you are moving from one environment to the other in the course of your working, but still.

Scrivener iOS NotecardsNotecards like you wanted them. There are plenty of apps that offer a means of using notecards on your iPad or iPhone, and a few of them even synch into Scrivener. But as far as I know, none of them let you move back and forth easily – it’s all about importing and exporting. You have the power now to move cards around and have it immediately affect your project (well, as immediate as dropbox synchs on both devices). While notecards are not my thing – and I’ve have the piles of physical and digital ones to prove I’ve tried them – if they are your ideal method of organizing, you are going to love this. There is something about being able to physically move cards around and have it automagically affect your project that is just liberating.

Editing my way. Writing, it turns out, I do best on a computer, with a lagless keyboard in front of me. I’d probably sing a different story if I was using a faster, more powerful iPad and there was no lag with my bluetooth keyboard. When it comes to editing, though, my ideal method is to be able to hold the story in front of me, either as a print out or on a device, where I can make notes, make edits, etc. Scrivener for iOS gives you that. Load your entire project, scroll through it, make changes, fix mistakes, take notes, and it’s all in your project. No transferring, no duplicating from one format to another. It’s done. And it’s as awesome as you think it might be.

Would I recommend it? Mostly, with a leaning towards an all out yes. If you are on old hardware and looking to do content creation, you might want to think a little bit more on it. Then again, if you are on older hardware, it’s not a bad option. The iOS app will let you create new projects, export them to different formats, and do most (but not all) of the things you can do with the desktop app.

More importantly, it’s Scrivener on the go. If Scrivener is the way you work, this is a welcome extension. It wasn’t a replacement for me, but it was a welcome way to let me work on the go. Isn’t that what we all wanted in the first place? Look for it tomorrow, July 20, in the Apple Store! Not using Scrivener for you’re writing yet? Give it a whirl – they offer a 30 day trial of the desktop app, and really, that’s the best way to know if it’s right for you.

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