Fletcher on 10 Aug, 2016 11:14 PM
I don't have time for a long response, but here are key points:
* I don't have comparison data, but I seem to get a fair amount of "foot
traffic" from App Store.
* Most of the apps (by number, not necessarily by $ amount) I buy are
from the App Store. I'm a tech savvy person, but it still makes buying
and maintaining a software base very easy.
* A fair number of users do want iCloud sync. A fair number don't care.
* I have half-heartedly looked into some solutions for selling outside
of the App Store. The sales service was terrible from a vendor used by
a friend of mine, which did not lead to me wanting to pursue that one
particular option again. Certainly there are others.
I am open to selling outside the App Store, but don't plan on giving up
the App Store. Especially since I plan on finishing up the iOS version.
It is just annoying that something sensible and non-harmful like inline preview of local images can’t be done easily because of sand-boxing.
Could you get an exception for images in the same directory as the destination document? In such a case the user and the app have rights to the document and thus to its enclosing directory—so why not the rest of the same directory?
A **persistent** work-around is ok even if the scope is a single directory.
I care far more about this than app store (and iCloud or not). Everyone’s buying experience is different. I find I have 6 bonafide apps I use (in contrast to experiments) from the Mac app store. In an earlier day before problems with app store became more severe (sandboxing, no update pricing, review delays, policy opaqueness) more developers believed it might be as fulfilling as the IOS app store; so I am overstating the case that most of the apps are not first tier.
On IOS would you consider joining forces with someone else? There are so many open syncing note-taking apps with only small differences. I have particularly enjoyed Notesy (I think possibly abandoned now) and 1Writer after using nearly all of them. My criteria include syncing to a public service (Dropbox, OneDrive, and iCloud all qualify w/o regard to specific preferences. iCloud is certainly the most platform restricted but everyone tends to support more than one), markdown preview, a file browser (unavoidable on IOS), local caching on the mobile device, essentially flawless reliable fast syncing, ability to reach any directory of the cloud services (extra credit if more than one directory concurrently), extra credit for displaying (not editing) multiple file types (IOS and os x do this for you if you care to integrate it).
While every developer has his/her own take and some pet or distinctive feature, there is much overlap: all use the toolkit for basic text editing, all have to do sync, all do some form of markdown (more divergence here than anywhere else), all cost ~< $10 (an exception or two), most have a keyboard helper. To maximize usable real estate on iPhone, the user experiences tend to converge. No one is getting rich doing this obviously. So, why not work with someone who has shown no particular interest in OS X? I realize the business negotiation has some complication but it will just be 2 people.
The market has consolidated but not to the point of foreclosing the opportunity. There are the proprietary experiences: the horrible nEvernote and the complicated OneNote. There are attempts with private syncing (part of reinforcing the business model—by holding your stuff—but I don’t want to fork my storage all over the place) like SimpleNote (prone to severe reliability problems in the early days; now solved—but why do I want to rely on someone who’s longevity is dubious and fragment my storage?). There are kitchen-sink apps like Notebooks (which has improved a lot but still suffers from mission confusion). There is no leading public syncing note taker with “rich” features. Multi markdown is a good platform for adding sufficient richness: images, limited formatting, standards-based export and conversion, naturally cross-platform. nEvernote is suffering from overcharging and overreach and fragmented storage. OneNote is a strong paradigm you either like or hate and you are relying on MS’ willingness to offer strong multi-platform clients (because the file format is too hard although supported by 2 independent developers of dubious longevity). Using a programming editor like Atom or Sublime Text or bbEdit sort of works but is overkill, too technical for normal users, and none have a mobile client. Editorial and Drafts are too complicated for normal people.
This market is somewhat like the todo list/task manager market. There have been dozens of products with a profusion of almost floridly different approaches. Then, syncing, simplicity on mobile, and team support became the over-riding needs. The feature set consolidated (grouping, subtasks, assigning, repeating tasks). The overly complicated products with poor mobile UI faded (2Do, Toodledo). Now we are down to about 4: Todoist, Wunderlist (maybe), Omnifocus (esoteric), platform-centric (Apple reminders, the Google thing?).Many that were based on some strong ideological fulfillment of self-management have faded lacking too many more pragmatic capabilities. Others persist because it is a big user base and habits die hard, but new users seem to gravitate to fewer choices now.
In the note taking world, there are probably still some basic breakthrough features possible (sort of the “home run” nEvernote strategy) but getting the basics right is still more important. The handwriting thing is sort of a distraction and too much code is devoted to just supporting handwriting. Voice notes are just a variation on an image attachment. The more important opportunities seem to be around organizing, incorporating other textual material (hypertext, pdf), and providing the writing environment for documents. These all sort of align with your existing strengths. You don’t want to go all the way to scrivener—a fine product but ultimately severe overkill and special-casing nearly every feature instead of simplifying around existing standards and using markup instead of byzantine UI to handle document creation and organization.
Just musing. You could put more effort into OS X, where there are too many competitors that you know about (Byword, IA Writer, Mou, MacDown, etc) and partner for mobile implementations. You’ll have to consolidate around one brand (Multimarkdown Composer is a bit of a mouthful), share revenue, and organize multi-person development.
So, there is a bit of a door open. Having 2/3 people instead of 1 might help cover the feature bases and platforms (storage/code: IOS, OS X, Windows?, Android?. syncing/cloud: iCloud, Dropbox, OneDrive, GoogleDocs???). Platform expertise is hard-won and preferences border on religious so platforms are a fine thing to support with division of labor. Syncing platforms pose similar challenges. Even feature sets benefit from some division of labor. We are not talking about a giant team here: 3-5 people max.
Working on something that is well-crafted is hard work. It is just as hard when the thing is very niche (polite for not so popular) and when more broadly focused. If you are going to put your sweat into this, maybe it’s worth thinking a bit about where it is all headed if you are going to put 3-5 years of your life (maybe more) into it...