Hear it comes!

Version 2.16 has been submitted.
A glimpse at 2.17…

Price will be: iPhone and iPad: $0.99US

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Status Of iPad and iPhone Version 2.0

Now that NaNoWriMo is over, and because I’ve been getting some questions and interest on Twitter, its time for a status update.
First, a reminder. If you finished NaNoWriMo, and you buddied me, please send me your info so that I make sure I get you your free upgrade to the iPad version—again check the rules on the auteureist.com site.
Next, if you were following my updates during NaNoWriMo, you know there were and still are some issues to be resolved, and yes I”m slowly resolving them. I could rush things out and the app would work, but it would still have some very rough edges I’m not happy with. One thing that still causing me headaches is skinning the UI in the iPad version. So I’m going to release the iPad version without the skinning option, and the iPhone version with it. Once I can resolve the skinning issue on the iPad I’ll release that. Here’s a picture of the problem:

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The blue-highlight on the left table view looks awful, and I can’t seem to get rid of it. If I could solve that I’d be able to release the iPad version with skinning—which otherwise looks great.

NaNoWriMo during the two years I’ve participated (once on the iPhone and now on the iPad) teaches me that just because there are no bug reports doesn’t mean things are correct. What works for writing a short paragraph or even a page, doesn’t work well when you are writing chapters that are about 2000 words long and a full length novel of over 50,000 words. That’s when ease of use and polish come in. What is “easy to use” for a paragraph becomes tedious or cumbersome for writing of any significant length. I can’t force my testers to write full novels, so that’s why I do it myself. That’s how I learn what needs to be adjusted and reworked. I keep saying this, I write apps I’d like to use—and Auteureist™ on the iPad is very very close.

Also, if you’re new to following me and my blogs, and a reminder to everyone else, this is not going to be a 1.3 release. This is a full 2.0 release for both the iiPhone and iPad. Its a major rewrite pretty much from the ground up. When I first started Auteureist it was my first attempt at developing for the iPhone. I was brand new to the iPhone, Cocoa, and Objective-C. I’ve learned a lot in the past year or so, and what seemed “good” I now see as pretty badly organized code. That’s why I wanted a rewrite. Also, Auteureist started life as an idea for allowing notes to be synchronized with Scrivener (a great writing application on the Mac). Obviously, it’s grown and evolved and is a full-fledged app in its own right. Evolution tends to be like building new rooms onto your house. It may work, but it usually doesn’t look good. That was another reason for a rewrite. It was time for a new foundation and design. I’m pretty proud of Auteureist 1.2 on the iPhone. It’s not perfect but it works and a lot of people use it and appreciate it. Auteureist 2.0 on the iPhone is another level better than 1.2 was. Auteureist on the iPad is 2.0 and takes advantage of the screen capabilities and is even better than the version on the iPhone. The iPhone version is done. The iPad version is close. I want to be as proud of the iPad version as I am of the iPhone version. So I don’t want to rush things. It will be released when its ready. So, too peak your interest, here are some new screenshots of the iPad version and some new capabilities that I haven’t talked about before, but were put in during the rewrite.

You may remember this teaser screenshot from the development blog a while back:

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And I asked “Gee What Could This Be?” Well I never got any guesses, so here’s the story on this screenshot from back in June. This is the main screen from Auteureist 2.0 on the iPad.

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Note the left vieiw….Auteureist 2.0 (both platforms) now supports poetry. This is free to everyone with 2.0. As with everything else on Auteureist™ you can have any number of poems you want. Here is the Poems section expanded showing one poem.

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Poems can be broken down into sections, stanzas, or other parts which are equivalent to Chapters or Scenes.

Here is a “made up” poem for testing purposes. The view on the left shows the sections. All the capabilities are available for poems: character, location, research tracking, etc.

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One feature of poems that is unique is that they can have rhyme. In the above screenshot I copy the word “joy”. You then tap the search button on the keyboard bar (the magnifying glass). That brings up a rhyming word list from an online rhyming dictionary.

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Tap a word from the rhyming list and it will replace the word you selected in your poem. So that screen shot from June was an example of the rhyming list on the iPhone version. The rhyming list works the same as the thesaurus for novels.

The other new feature in 2.0 that I’m going to mention here is only available on the iPad version (for now). Auteureist has a Lifestream ability which is tied to Journal diaries. It allows you to track your mood, how you’re feeling and the current weather. In 1.2 there is no real way to see how that information trends, so you don’t get a sense of how your mood changes over time for example. In 2.0 the Lifestream view now looks like:

(NOTE: This is a randomly generated set of data).

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The view now displays a graph of your mood (as set by tthe slider) over time. It’s pretty basic now, but this capability will be enhanced and added to the iPhone version in future versions.

One last thing for now, 2.0 has been fleshed out with various ways to backup/restore and import and export. Here’s a look at backup/restore (with skinning turned on):

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So that’s enough for now. So you can see there is a lot new. It takes time. I admit I underestimated the amount of time it would take. But I don’t want to rush things. I am considering releasing the 2.0 for the iPhone first—its pretty much done. But the app store approval process is shut down for the holidays.

Thank you all for your support, interest, and patience. I know its been a long wait—I haven’t forgotten, I haven’t given up. Hopefully, this extended peek has helped explain things a bit.

Happy holidays to all!

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The First Novel Written On An iPad

It’s official! I’ve completed NaNoWriMo 2010 with a novel of 51,308 words, and it was completely written on an Apple iPad using my Auteureist™ app. Now that that’s out of the way, time for a wrap up. The novel ended where I wanted it to end. Things resolved and all the threads came together nicely. I actually like what I created this year. The writing flowed and compared to last year, it went a lot easier. Not because I did more planning, or outlining—I didn’t. I had planned to, but when November 1 rolled around I pretty much had nothing—I’d tossed my original idea out as being dull and boring (I’m glad I did). It went better because I started with a good first sentence that opened the story up. I do best when I have a first sentence that is both a good “hook” and open-ended enough that it makes me think.

Here is last year’s:
“Johnny Storm sat on a bench enjoying the Sunday morning sunshine.” As you can see, last year’s was dull, uninteresting. It was open-ended (way way open-ended), but it didn’t act as a hook. What resulted was a decent novel, not good, not bad.

Here is this year’s as a contrast: I set aside my anger and took a deep breath wiping the sweat from my brow. “Why did you do it?” I panted.”

This year’s opening sentence has you, the reader, asking “What’s going on? Why is “I” angry? What did “you” do to cause him to become angry?” Good hook, and open-ended—a good novel generally results. Will I edit/publish this year’s effort? It would be interesting to do so. I’m not sure.

Now onto Auteureist™ on the iPad. It was a lot easier and quicker to type on it than it was on the iPhone. That’s the main benefit. The app in landscape with its dual screens is very nice. It allows for a lot of flexibility that you don’t get on the iPhone’s single screen. There are rough spots. I’ve fixed a few, but there are some things I want to tweak. People didn’t report these because they weren’t really bugs per se, but they are nuisances that make using the app a bit rough under long writing sessions and circumstances. Again, I try to create applications that I want to use. Auteureist™ on the iPad is close to being that. But it needs some work. Now that NaNoWriMo is over, I can focus my efforts on resolving these issues and getting it out to all of you.

So that’s NaNoWriMo 2010! April and ScriptFrenzy are not that far off! On a side note, I’ve recently had a couple of people emailing me that they’ve lost their password, and could I recover it for them. Unfortunately, I’m sad to say, if you lose the password, there is nothing I can do. As the documentation on the website says, its your responsibility to protect your work and to sync and export your writing and to protect your password. If you feel you might forget or lose your password, you may be better off not having or using one in the app. Just a reminder! Protect your writing. Back it up, export it, sync it. If you lose it or your password, I can’t help you. Sorry.

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Retinal display and Auteureist

Just a quick look at the difference between the retinal and iPhone3GS displays… Here is the 3GS

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And here is the same thing on the iPhone4

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The size difference is due to resolution difference. Here are the two side by side at the same scale with the 4 on the right…

The retinal display is a lot sharper and less dithered and pixelated. Very easy on the eyes.

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Auteureist 2.0 UI Update Sneak Peek

Auteureist 2.0 is under development now that iOS4 is out and I can develop for it.  Things are moving along nicely and I felt I could share a sneak peek at what to look forward to.

First of all, fast app switching (multitasking) is working.  As a result of getting that in place there have been some vast improvements in memory and performance. For example, startup times to the first screen are about 10-15x faster!  It is now about a second whereas it took about 15 seconds if you had a LARGE database.  Now it’s no longer painful 😉

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Memory is managed a lot better as result.  What this means is the app should be a lot more stable and responsive overall.I am also going to be using a lot of 4 capabilities, so I recommend everyone update to 4.  

As part of 2.0 I am simplifying the UI. I never really liked all the toolbars, but they were efficient.  However, they clutter things up.  Also, I am adding some “polish” to the UI in the form of a skin.  Here is a peak at the main screen with the skin.  It just looks much nicer and professional.  If you don’t like it, you can turn it off and the app will revert to “bare” mode.

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Speaking of toolbars the text editing screen has been simplified. Here is the old:

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And the new:

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All the functionality is still there.  If the keyboard is up, tapping on the title will dismiss it.  If the keyboard is down, tapping the title switches between displaying the title and the word/page count.
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The Save button is now labeled Options.  Tapping it brings up a menu with the functions that wereoriginally on the second toolbar.
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The new UI is a lot simpler to understand and cleans up the window providing you with more space to type in. It’s really great and intuitive. 

There will be more UI changes in 2.0 but those will have to wait for another sneak peek.

Sent from Auteureist™ – http://auteureist.com/ 

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iPhone 4 IOS And Auteureist

I have been quiet the last couple of weeks. I went to the Apple WWDC and as you know Apple announced the iPhone 4 and the release of iOS4 this coming week. I have been also catching up with all the work stuff I missed while at the conference. The conference was great, and I met a lot of great people. I also learned a lot about what is coming in 4 and more significantly about some of the things I’ve been doing incorrectly in Auteureist. Not horible things but inefficient things.

Having said that, and with 4 this week, it doesn’t make sense for me to rush 1.3 because it doesn’t take advantage of all the great 4 features. So I am going to hold off on 1.3 until I can fix some of the things I now know how to do better and to give me time to add in some 4 features to make life better for all of you getting either the 4 OS or phone. That’s the bad news. The good news is that Auteureist will be more polished, stable, responsive and powerful. Additionally, I want to add the ability to import FinalDraft documents, right now Auteureist only exports. iOS4 makes importing a lot easier. This will be available as part of Scriptwriting Mode.

So, the next release will be a BIG release. It, therefore, won’t be 1.3 but 2.0. And the iPad version will be out at the same time. When? I can’t say at this point. I have a lot of work to do.

I hope your patience will be rewarded.

Sent from Auteureist™ – http://auteureist.com/

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Another Update

Just a quick note. I am still testing and tweaking 1.3. Most of my time is focused on making sure the new export/formatting logic is stable and outputting the correct stuff.

Just a bit of background: up until now I wasn’t happy with how I was generating the exports in MMD. It worked but it was poorly designed. So as part of 1.3 I’ve rewritten that logic and now it is much easier to plug in new formatting options (you’ll see some in 1.3, such as FDX for FinalDraft). An additional benefit is that it is much better at conserving memory and a bit faster. Speed really hasn’t been an issue until you start working with large novels and scripts as I have. Then it can take a couple of seconds to generate the output. So 1.3 will be a bit faster with these large projects as well (by about a second or two). In 1.3 you’ll also get finer control of what gets exported—and some new things such as now you will have a title page generated.

So that’s where my time is mostly going. I’ve also fixed some minor annoyances and infrequent bugs. So I am testing and retesting. It’s still not perfect. But it’s better than 1.2.

So when will I be ready to submit? At this point I hope mid June. It’s close, but I don’t feel happy with it right now.
Sent from Auteureist™ – http://auteureist.com/

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