Release 1.4 – Night mode and more

Novlr just got better – as it does every month.

We’ve been listening. You tell us what you need and we build it. Have a watch of our summary video or scroll down and take a look at some of the new features – there’s chunky ones and mini ones – they all make a difference.

 

Evening and night modes

Evening and night

A lot of you write day and night, and many of you asked for a softer colour scheme for the long nights. So we did some research, took on your ideas and voila: evening and night modes.

 

Curly quotes and em dash

curly-quotes

 

Some of you are very particular about having a certain ratio of curl in your quotes…so now you can.

 

em-dash2

 

Who needs commas, parenthesis or colons? Just em dash it by typing two dashes in succession.

 

 

Improved exports

We are continuously improving the exports as they are complicated beasts. So this month:

  • Notes can now be included in export
  • Strikethrough and underline work in pdf
  • Page breaks after chapters

 

Take the tour

Tour

 

Novlr is adding features so quickly we need to make sure everyone who joins gets an introduction to them. You can try it in Settings > Help.

Cleaned up chapters

charptersidebar

 

We cleaned up the chapter sidebar a little. Aesthetics matter when you’re using a tool as much as we writers do. There’s more important changes to the chapters coming soon too…

 

 

 

 

Click onto a line

Novlrclickleft

This one was a pet peeve of mine (Thomas). It was difficult to click on the beginning of a line. You had to get it exact. Well not any more…now you can click a bit to the left. It’s the small details sometimes.

 

 

 

We’ll be releasing new features every month.

Influence what we build next by adding your votes to the features roadmap and discuss how you would like to see them built. Can’t wait to see what comes next.

Good luck with the writing – and thanks for using Novlr.

 

Novlr’s had a spring clean!

Another packed release for you. I’m excited about this one because it includes some new functionality to make managing Novlr more convenient it also makes it immeasurably more pleasant to use in my opinion. Go and click the settings icon in your Novlr and explore the new tabs and designs. Here, have a video tour of what’s new:

 

Try and break it please

As with all new features, we have tested it as much as we can with our tiny team of three but if you find any bugs or anything that you don’t think is working right, just drop us an email at hello@novlr.org or tweet us @novlrtweets.

What’s in this release?

Redesign

This release is a complete redesign of the settings screens. Including the addition of some new functionality in there. The easiest way to see what’s new is to log in and look around or watch the video above. I’ve pulled out a few key changes below.

Simpler export

You told us you found the export screen frustrating to use when you had more than one novel. We moved export into a simple export button in your novel list and now only have integrations (Drive & Dropbox) in a separate tab.

Easy-to-read stats

You now have novel word counts and data in one tab and your writing progress in another. Some of you aren’t interested in writing data (which is when we capture how many words you actually write – taking out pasted or imported words and counting deleted words) and others among you are data monsters. It made sense to split them.

Grammarly compatible (sort of)

There was a bug in Novlr where having Grammarly installed caused the cursor to jump around the page. It is an issue that Grammarly are aware of and other editors of this type have similar issues, so we are hoping we can work with Grammarly to come up with a solution soon. In the meantime, having Grammarly installed won’t now break Novlr, Novlr will work, but Grammarly will be off. This is step one. Hopefully soon, we will have full compatibility and you can have the best of both worlds. Any developers out there, feel free to take a look at the links above and have a stab at fixing it!

Quick contact

We have added a new quick contact form from within the app in case you want to get in touch, report a bug or need to talk when you crash into the wall of writers block. We’re here for you.
More bug fixes

Bug fixes

Yes, every release has a tonne of these in. In this release are:

  • Italics & bold disappearing in .docx export
  • Paragraph spacing sometimes not coming out correctly on import
  • Some saves not recording correct word counts which threw stats out
  • Other changes to stats calculations (we are making tweaks all the time – please report any inconsistencies to help make them better)
  • We sped up page load

So that was February/March, we’ll be releasing new features every month.

Influence what we build next by adding your votes to the features roadmap and discuss how you would like to see them built. Can’t wait to see what comes next.

Versioning – our first release of 2016. What a start!

You made this happen. You told us that although you felt your words were safe, you wanted more, you wanted to be able to go back and find versions you’d written before. That was the dominant request. So we built you it. And it was no mean feat. Versioning is here.

So you won’t lose your words, and you can change your mind all you like. Are you ready to see it in action? Are you?

A glimpse

You’ll see this little icon in the bottom right of your chapter. It opens a sidebar with a version of your chapter saved every minute.

Clicking “restore” on any revision will create a duplicate of this and make it the current version (whatever was there before, gets saved as your last version too…just in case!).

Try and break it please

As with all new features, we have tested it as much as we can with our tiny team of three but if you find any bugs or anything that you don’t think is working right, just drop us an email at hello@novlr.org or tweet us @novlrtweets.

The future of versioning

We’re really proud of what we’re releasing today. However, we’re already thinking about ways to make it better 🙂 Please use it for yourself and comment here with ways you think we could improve it.

Here are a couple of things we are going to look at:

  • When you view today’s version, scroll to the current point in the editor
  • On switching to any other version, scroll to the last edited position from that version
  • On switching to any other version, flash/fade highlight of the text changes on that version.

Add a novel button

We also added a new button to add a novel to the drop down. This was a suggestion that more than one of you sent in to us, and you were right – so we added it.

 

Faster editing

A big part of the versioning work required us to switch from Quill to Prosemirror. These are two editors. Prosemirror allows us to do much more – such as versioning. It’s also quicker and there are a whole heap of other potential things for the future in there too. But for the time being the main thing is that it saves faster and more robustly.

We are on Instagram

A picture paints a thousand… we all know the saying, and so we’re now on instagram and will be sharing the beautiful things that we encounter – from scenic writing spots to lovely old books.

Follow us on Instagram 

Notes, Focus mode, importing and more…Novlr v0.2.2

It’s that exciting time again – a new Novlr release. We’ve been working hard and we’ve got some exciting things to show for it. If you can’t wait as I go through them one by one, jump to the release notes at the bottom of the page. And don’t forget the amazing Lifetime heroes; who made this release possible.

Make notes, store ideas, build backgrounds

You’ve all been asking (rightly) for somewhere to write things that shouldn’t count towards the word count. Whether it’s making notes, ideas for later or whatever, you will now find a Notes tab in your chapter sidebar which you can fill to your heart’s content without it impacting on your word count. You’ve got one of these per novel.

 

Notes

In focus

We like stripping away distraction – that’s partly what Novlr was about in the first place – a beautiful writing space to let you focus. Well we’ve now added in the option to let you get even more focus. In Settings, you can now select Focus mode and then when you are typing the header and the toolbar at the bottom will fade away and it will be just you and your words. Only if you have your chapter sidebar closed.

Novlr writing screen in focus mode

Import a novel *beta

Sometimes you’re not starting a novel from scratch, you’ll have written some of it in a Word doc or a Google doc, or even in something like Scrivener, but now you’re using Novlr – you want all your novels in the same place. Well we’ve made that a bit easier. You can now import chapters simply including: .rtf, .docx, .txt and .odt. It’s hefty functionality, so we’d love you to all test it and see if you can break it for us 🙂

 

There is a bug we’ve already noticed – but thought we’d let you get your hands on it sooner rather than later. So text formatting in .odt isn’t perfect – sorry.

 

Import your novel into Novlr

So you’ve never used underline

With this release we’re also starting to let you customise Novlr a little – not too much (as we’ve spent a lot of time designing it a particular way!) – but if you’re someone who is never going to use underline, you can remove it from your toolbar altogether. Or you can have paragraph indents or a larger font size. Go wild!

 

Writing preferences - customise your online writing tool

There’s more too – but you’ve had enough to digest – get back to writing!

 

Novlr 0.2.2 Release Notes

Major

  • Importing: import your work from .docx .rtf .txt and .odt straight into Novlr
  • Split chapter: split your chapter at ny point to create a new one (useful if importing full novel into a chapter)
  • Notes: Notes section that doesn’t count towards your word count
  • Writing preferences: Customise Novlr to the way you work
  • Focus mode option: Fade out the application toolbars when writing to remove distractions

Minor

  • Tweak to chapter sidebar design (useability)
  • Inceased font size in settings (useability)
  • Added hover on elements (useability)
  • Tweak the way word stats show in the bottom right of editor (useability)

Bug fixes

  • Statistics adding 000s to total on a few accounts
  • GDrive not syncing daily
  • Extra linebreaks on .docx export
  • Chapter select not working if clicking above the chapter title

 

Lifetime Heroes that helped fund this release

Anna Lishman · Melanie Cotter · Jack Regnart · Travis Starnes · Ben Zuffi · Derek Ardolf · Steve Grant · Jim McNelis · Teresa Horne · Faraz Hasan · Dave Floyd · Lou Yardley · Katarina Skarbinec · Louise Holt

Release notes: Novlr v0.2.1

Thomas and I have been busy again for the last few weeks bringing you another release hot off the heels of 0.2.0. We hope you are going to like the new features in this one. As always if you have any questions, technical or otherwise, drop us an email at hello@novlr.org or tweet us at @novlrtweets. We

Release summary: We have added the much-anticipated Google Drive and Dropbox integration allowing you to sync a daily or weekly backup to your storage software of choice. Yay! We’ve also added bullets points and more granular word counting within the editor. As well as a few little bugs that also got squashed int he making of this release.

Novlr v0.1.2

Major

  • Sync to dropbox
  • Sync to Google Drive

Minor

  • Bullet formatting
  • Improved word count in the editor (in your status bar at the bottom you now have the chapter count, novel count and, on hover, todays count)
  • Show word count as negative if words deleted
  • Updated editor library (quil.js to 0.20)

Bug fixes

  • “ctrl+y” not working as “redo” on windows
  • Export not working in Firefox
  • Lazy loading in Firefox

Happy writing wonderful beta users!

All about beta

I thought I’d give you a little update on development as it’s been a few weeks since the last one. Our goal of having a beta ready in July is hovering in the distance, just close enough to get us sweating at the collar but far enough for us to treat ourselves to the occasional cup of tea! We have a pretty clear idea of what we want the beta to be now (and what’s feasible in that timeline) but maybe haven’t shared that with you guys yet. Before you read on, make sure you are signed up to be one of our Beta testers.

Release 0: Beta

So, in summary, Beta will be the foundation. It will be the first draft but be robust and secure. It will be opened up to the 500 hundred of you who have signed up to beta so far and those that do so in the meantime. We may roll it out in stages starting with those who signed up first to keep the level of feedback and bug fixing manageable. Beta will be the crux of Novlr and will have the user-friendly interface, chapters (with the ability to add, delete and move them around), the editor, basic settings, wordcounts, basic export options, formatting and – crucially – constant saving. It will be tablet-ready and device responsive (but not to mobile at this point – mobile will need a whole other level of thought to consider how people will use screens at that size with something like this – writing up whole chapters is unlikely with just your thumbs!).

Then the next step will be planning for the first public release of Novlr where features like tagging chapters, advanced exports and quick search will be introduced – exactly what we do will be entirely informed by the feedback from beta. From there, we will be working through the feature list in order of priority that you decide on. This includes adding character profiles, tagging of paragraphs, plot arcs, motivational tools and whatever else you clever people come up with. Beyond beta we have an idea of the direction but the road is untrodden, our users will be the ones to mark it out for us – Novlr is being built for writers and we need you to be a big part of the development of it.

I’ll be blogging in between coding sprints and Thomas will be blogging too – often writing more inspiring blog posts about your actual writing and useful feature pieces!

Until next time x

 

Tell us what you need and we’ll build it

We are here to build what you need. It is so important to us that we get your feedback and your thoughts on what we need to build and exactly how it should work.

So you’ll see that we’ve created a Features Roadmap and we’d love you to get involved. Vote on the features you want and stick your comments on them too.

 

A long time ago, when we were in beta we had a different poll that became the features roadmap. You can see it here.

Crusoe vs Quixote – naming our first release

We recently stuck our first go at our Roadmap up on the site. In there we talk about our first release. So I called it Robinson Crusoe.

Robinson_Cruose_1719_1st_editionI thought this was a good idea. A fitting idea even. I thought this because the idea was based on what I was sure was a fairly well understood fact. This release is the first Novlr release. Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe was the first novel.

But, had I been too hasty. Was Robinson Crusoe the first novel? I think I even wrote a philosophical essay once on the fact that novel writing and its basis in realism was a unavoidable consequence of the Protestant work ethic, Calvinism and all that shenanigans. I don’t think I even convinced myself, so I won’t be linking to that marvel of an undergraduate essay. However, it was still clear to me that I was working off the basis that it was the first novel – that wasn’t in question.

But, now I feel a little silly. A quick look at Wikipedia put my assertion in doubt. Don Quixote is a definitely a novel. At least I think so. So years of that piece of knowledge just sitting in my brain are now over and it has been replaced. It feels a bit like when someone steals your cup at work and you get a new one. You like the new one too, but there was something nice about the old one.

Don_Quijote_and_Sancho_Panza

And the winner is…

In the end, we decided to stick with Robinson Crusoe because we thought the idea of a man on an island with few tools but managing to survive was a metaphor we liked for our first stripped down release. And perhaps Alonso Quixano’s charm wasn’t quite the right fit.

 

There is definitely more to come on the Robinson Crusoe release in coming weeks