Thought I’d share some stuff.
Hope it answers a few pending questions.
I’ll start with creative direction:
- We will target the iPad as a fully fledged platform. This is not a mobile Mac, nor is it a mere extension of a desktop computer. It’s a device that holds its own. We will therefore treat Daedalus touch as a fully fledged, standalone app. This will go full circle: write – revise – submit. You’ll be able to create long (and longer) texts as well as snippets, so you might very well create your next novel with this, but you might also just use it as a notebook.
- Some limitations apply. One: Daedalus will not feature any kind of style engine. No RTF, no semantic/syntax coloring, nothing. So there’s no highlights, no italics, no headlines, no lists, no quotes, no annotations, nothing. Blame Apple.
- Two: For the time being, there will only be a single layer of content. No comments, no attachments, no footnotes, so this will not be Ulysses mobile HD. And there won’t be a scribbling/drawing or hand writing layer either. So if you’re looking for a rich environment with embedded/attached media or extensive support for metadata, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
- Three: There will be no such thing as folders. No folders, no nested folders, no smart folders. There will be something akin to projects, and each such “project” may hold an infinite amount of what you could call documents. Initially, these “documents” will be sorted by creation date, though users may freely rearrange their documents. Version 1.0 will not allow for the movement of documents between projects (other than copy and paste).
- In part, these limitations will be compensated by the way you’ll interact with content. Example: Instead of using dedicated notepads, you might just create a “note” document and (sort of) attach it to a “main” document. You may then easily switch between these two documents.
- We will incorporate several means to export your writings. Email is an obvious candidate, Dropbox (etc.) is another, but we’re also looking into more advanced options, such as PDF and ePub. These might not make it into 1.0, though, and don’t expect complex conversion options; there’s no style engine, remember?
- We will offer syncing (e.g. Dropbox), but this will not be our main concern. Yes, it syncs, and yes, you can continue writing in and from another app, mobile or desktop, but we will not do much in terms of integrity checks, merging, versions, or anything remotely advanced. We will update files and create new ones, and that’s about it. This is in part due to our fully fledged app approach: We see folks using the iPad as their main writing machine, with syncing being a means of backing up. Mostly.
- Speaking of main writing machine: We initially intended to offer advanced support for the keyboard dock. Think shortcuts. However, there’s no public API for that, and as long as that doesn’t change, such keyboard controls are out. What you can expect, though, is an interface that works equally well in all four of the iPad’s screen modes (landscape, portrait, on-screen-, dock-, bluetooth keys).
- We will have a strong focus on design. We’re not talking about pretty purdy eye candy, though, but design. E.g. in landscape, you won’t have to type with your head constantly turned right.
- We will also have a strong focus on speed. As noted elsewhere, Daedalus won’t break if you’re doing edits in the middle of a 16.000 word document.
- Tidbit: One of our very first UI concepts included a button-less interface. The intention was to go all-out gesture based. Granted, this didn’t work too well, but Daedalus will still feature what we call the less-buttoned interface: I.e. while editing, there will be no buttons whatsoever. Also, there won’t be any sort of constantly visible documents list, no menu or back button, nor will there be a fullscreen switch. As a matter of fact, Daedalus will always run in what you could call fullscreen.
And that’s it for now. More to come, but I need to go watch the football match.
Have fun. We do.