Scrivener 3.0 for Windows: A puzzling non-release

For awhile Scrivener was my favorite writing application. It does pretty much everything you could want in a writing program and has excellent organizational tools that really help in planning and plotting out novels (or other projects).

A major new update to version 3 was released for the Mac in November 2017, with an equivalent Windows update arriving in 2018, then by end of Q2 2019, then for absolute sure by August 30, 2019. All dates were missed, with contrite apologies from Literature and Latte.

After the last missed date, they stopped saying when it would release and version 3 for Windows has existed since then as a perpetual beta and now, a perpetual release candidate. Users talk about how stable it is, how perfectly usable it is, but it’s still not officially released. You can’t buy it.

I am not a developer so I can’t speak to the challenges the duo working on the Windows version of Scrivener is facing, but it does seem to me that as we draw ever-closer to three years since version 3 came out for the Mac, that the Windows version ought to have been ready by now. I mean, if you originally project a release in 2018, re-calibrate and say, okay, second quarter 2019, then re-calibrate yet again and say August 30, 2019, then finally go silent on a release date and then still have not released almost a full year after the last offered date, I would submit that you are bad at estimating software release dates, and also very slow at developing software.

I will buy version 3 when it eventually comes out, and I might try it again (I have version 3 already for Mac but I have switched mostly to using Ulysses for my fiction writing), but I must admit, the pace of the Windows version’s development instills me with little confidence in the product or the company. One of the main points of the version 3 release was to bring feature parity (as much as possible) to the Mac and Windows versions. That cannot happen if the Windows version is constantly lagging well behind. I have every expectation that should version 4 come out for Mac, it would be years before the same version released for Windows. I might be wrong. I hope I am wrong!

Anyway, I do hope the Windows version releases at least before the anniversary of the version 3 release for Mac. Looking over the current issues in the forum thread on beta releases, it feels a bit like they are striving for perfection and holding up release indefinitely as a result. They report a single crash bug:

We are aware of one bug (listed below) that can hang Scrivener, and zero bugs that cause data loss, so if you are aware of any other bugs that can hang Scrivener, or cause data loss, please let us know. The only crash bug we know about is:-

Merging cells in table can crash under certain conditions

I can’t speak for all writers, but I have very few tables in my novels, apart from the actual furniture in various scenes. This doesn’t seem like enough to hold up release. I mean, what if they can’t track down the cause of this bug? Just hold off release for another six months? A year? At some point you have to accept that you’ve done all you can and put your work out there–like any good writer would.

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