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.


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