Full Screen Ponderings and the Nature of Shareware
(Note: It's late and I can't be bothered right now to go through and check for spelling errors and missing words, so please excuse any poor grammar.)
During the coding of the new full screen mode for Scrivener (still unfinished, grr), I suddenly realised that I'd made a silly mistake: the new keywords panel in Scrivener is a HUD panel, much (read "just") like the keywords HUD in Aperture. HUD panels look fantastic in full screen, and pretty cool out with normal windows, too. My mistake was that although the HUD panel looked great in the new full screen mode, you couldn't actually do anything useful with it. You use the HUD panel to assign keywords to a document by dragging them from the HUD to either the document in the binder, the document's header view, or the document's keywords list - none of which are visible in full screen mode. Whoops.
Of course, I could just disallow viewing of the keywords HUD in full screen mode, but then there would be absolutely no point to it having the HUD look. Instead, it got me thinking: perhaps there should be a way to assign keywords in full screen mode. But what would be the best way of doing it? Full screen should be a "no distractions" environment, so I didn't want to bring in too many other visual elements. But then I had to question, what does "no distractions" mean in the context of Scrivener? Really, it just means that you don't want to get distracted by other programs, by e-mail, by the internet and so on. It doesn't mean that you don't need access to other parts of Scrivener. This got me thinking more: what are the bare essentials that you would need in full screen, so that you could work on one document at a time without having to leave full screen unless you wanted to start outlining? In other words, if you wanted to concentrate on writing in full screen, what would you need?
Well, you wouldn't need the synopsis (index card) - that is more for outlining purposes. You could add that when you came out of full screen, and full screen should not be about worrying over the wording of a synopsis. And you wouldn't need the references table, because if you want to open up references then you are going to need the main window or another application. But you might want the notes, so that you can refer to your ideas and scribblings. And you might want the keywords list, because as you write, you might think, "I've just added Emily to this scene, I better add her name to the document's keywords."
Thus, full screen now has an optional HUD that allows you to enter notes and keywords. On top of this, of course, you can always fade the background to view other windows (or Scrivener's main window) if you so wish. It looks pretty swish, I think - screenshots tomorrow, if all goes to plan.
My other thought for the day is this: why is it that when users spend big bucks on a piece of software such as Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop they do not expect regular updates adding killer new features, but when they spend only a few dollar on a piece of shareware, they expect regular updates and regular new features? This is not a dig at my users in anyway, who have helped shape Scrivener into something I truly love from something with which I was not entirely satisfied, I am just genuinely curious. Actually, though, I think the answer is obvious. There is no way you can get near the developers of MS Word or Adobe Photoshop (actually, that's not entirely fair; the MS Word developers do keep an interesting blog on the MS site - but there's no way you are going to influence the direction of Word). Whereas, with a shareware app, you might find something that you find has some potential for you and you can actually contact the developer and try to sway him or her. Either way, I'm not complaining. Much of the swaying I have had has made Scrivener into a better program. But there will come a time when I will have to sway a little less, and write a little more.