And so a major development project begins. <strong>Treatise</strong> (provisional name, but quite likely
to stay) is to be a tool for managing medium/large writing projects, and is aimed at authors, journalists,
columnists and the like. Treatise will be a Cocoa application for Mac OS X.
Every developer (and maybe everyone who uses a computer at all) has that one project idea which has been mentally
fermenting away for years on end, but which they've never gotten around to beginning. Treatise is mine, and I believe
that its time has finally come. This new category on my blog will track the design and development process - starting now.
Like many people, I spent my teenage years writing (having spent every remembered previous year reading). Aside from the
countless writing assignments and pieces associated with schoolwork, I wrote essays, short stories, and expositions on
any number of subjects. I even had the obligatory teen novel in the works for quite a few of those years. I still have
all of my writing, including all my notes and drafts. I've not resumed that kind of writing in several years now, and
lately I've felt the absence of it quite keenly. This blog goes some way towards satisfying the compulsion to write, but
it's just not the same as rediscovering my beloved fiction.
Once, I was optimistically certain I'd be a writer full-time. Everything seemed on track when I achieved the highest mark
in the country for my Higher English examination during my fifth year at high school, in the band 1 category (>95%). However,
the lure and immense creative pleasure of programming had already taken hold, and I've never looked back. Now, I want to combine
both of these passions, by beginning to write again once I've created the tool I need to do it.
The "text editors for writers" niche still seems relatively unexplored on Mac OS X at the moment. There's the venerable and excellent
<a href="http://www.stonetablesoftware.com/z-write/">Z-Write</a>, of course, and also recent newcomer
<a href="http://www.blue-tec.com/ulysses/">Ulysses</a>. There's also Word and the other word processors, naturally, but they're
not designed with the author's workflow in mind; their necessarily generic approach often proves a hindrance for such work, and often
their price can be an initial hurdle. In any case, history surely indicates that there's always room for another text editor...
Treatise is in the planning stage at the moment. I have a definite concept borne of years of consideration, and copious notes, thoughts,
pen-and-paper UI mockups and so forth - I plan to discuss these in future postings here. What I'm most interested in is hearing from
anyone who would have use for such an application, to learn what they'd like to see. I'll be investing considerable time and effort
in Treatise, with a view to it hopefully becoming our flagship commercial product, and my ears are completely open to potential
users, or indeed anyone with a considered opinion.
In brief, Treatise is a tool for the creation and management of serious writing projects, involving large, structured
documents organised hierarchically in multiple sections and subsections. Treatise will work with multiple independent "chunks" of text,
notes, associated contacts and files, and will manage relationships between these. Extensibility, the use of standard file-formats, and
robust and customisable import, export and printing are very high priorities.
Most importantly of all, Treatise is intended to serve
writers and the creative process of writing, rather than to impose considerations of page-layout, asset management or
technical artefacts on the writer. However, in contrast with some other tools, it will not forcibly impose a single work-philosophy upon
the user by simply cutting-out features which are ancillary to the core task of writing.
Treatise's interface and behaviour will be sweated over until they reach complete transparency of intent and function (or rather, as near
as is possible). Its UI labelling, options, descriptions and documentation will be worded such as to be perfectly clear, and worthy of those
who use it. It will be as damned <strong>usable</strong> as it is in my power to make it!
Lastly, its documents' icons may well look nothing at all like that shown below, but playing around in Photoshop always helps to focus my mind.
Any and all thoughts and comments appreciated, Constant Reader.