Coming up: Scribe word processor 2013
We’ve been very busy working on the next version of the Scribe word processor. Well that’s not entirely true now. We have expanded the feature set of Scribe to include all the default features in a standard office suite. You have the word processor, mind mapping and research tools you had in Scribe, plus we have now introduced a spreadsheet, presentation tool, drawing and image capture tools and a corkboard style note tool and document review.
The main idea was to provide a unified work center to produce your documents. For instance, if you want to include a graph or a table in the document you are writing, you can simply switch the tab to Spreadsheet and create the table and graph with all the tools and functions available when you are working on a spreadsheet tool like Excel. The advantage is you don’t have to run and switch to other applications or maintain separate documents for the spreadsheet and word processor. It’s all integrated. It’s like your document is a binder of all the work related to it. All of your planning, notes, research, documents, spreadsheets, graphs, diagrams and presentation are available as one document. Of course, you can disable the parts of the document you don’t want to save so you have control over what is saved and what is not. Since this is not just a word processor anymore, we are doing away with the Scribe moniker. Maybe we will call the word processor tab Scribe. But the application as a whole will have a different name. We haven’t decided on it so we’d be going with our project name for now – Ice cream mango sandwich with a double whopper, large fries and a coke. Just kidding, we call it Xionite.
We have also overhauled the word processor so that is works more similar to current word processors. A familiar interface would add to productivity and reducing learning time. During this stage we again had to answer the question about the ribbon. Should we provide a ribbon? Already three versions of Microsoft Office (2007, 2010 and 2013) are out with the ribbon. Other office suites such as Open Office are also adding the ribbon as an option. But our analysis of the ribbon and user sentiments is clear. People don’t really like the ribbon. Given the option they would stick with the toolbar they had before. There is a lot of evidence for this. Take a look at any office forum or comment section of any article talking about the ribbon and you’d find a lot of people still complaining and criticizing it. The ribbon is faulty and unnatural and it is Microsoft’s loss that they are so stubbornly holding to something that people are against so much. There are also several tools to disable the ribbon and bring back the old toolbar and menu in Microsoft Office. We believe that our interface is superior to both the ribbon and the menu and toolbar approach. Just as before, you have the relevant tools at hand. Important tools are in front and everything is labeled. Our interface also saves you more screen real estate than the ribbon or having multiple toolbars.
Just as before, the word processor features type assist that will complete words and phrases for you. The algorithm is smarter than before. The mindmap plan tool is there as before. We have also completely redesigned the research tool. I will talk about the research tool separately in another post. Another new feature is the notes tool. Quite a lot of time when you are writing, you come across bits and pieces you wish to include in your document. Maybe what your lecturer said, or some stuff your boss wanted. The notes tool is a handy location to add notes like this. You can easily categorize them, sort them around as you like and create lists of notes. Another change is to the file tab. We have simplified the file tab commands and removed the OCR functions from the file tab. It didn’t make sense to keep the OCR tools there and we have now made the OCR tool a separate application. It is not a frequently used tool and having it out of the way improves the clarity of the file tab. We have also included document review system to log changes and edits to the document.
Oh, a cool feature in the spreadsheet tab is a Soulver like tool that lets you calculate like you would on paper. For example, you enter 2 cups of coffee at $10 each and it gives the answer in the next column. You’ll love it.
Even with the new additions, the focus of the application is unchanged. Xionite is a document creating tool with focus on creating high quality content. The additional tools are there to assist you with this by breaking down main document creating task into sub tasks such as planning, research etc and providing you high quality and easy to use tools to complete them in the best way possible.