OneStep Writing System – Web-Based?

Dear Writers.

Right now, I am working as fast as I can to build for Holly a system to consolidate the work of writing and publishing.  When Holly’s system is done, or at least done enough, she and I are going to offer some form of that system to other writers.

I could guess, Holly’s system would be helpful to others.  This is one of those things that is too important to guess.  No guessing is needed to say, some form of system for consolidating writers’ work would be helpful.  No guessing is needed for some of the requirements, because some requirements are stated repeatedly in the comments on Holly’s blog article.  Overall, I am going to need writers telling me what is needed.  Then I need to verify my understanding of what I am told.  This type of communication excites me, because the chances of making good system go way up when there is good understanding of validated requirements.

The biggest question I have right now:  will this system work if it runs through web browsers?  The alternatives would be to run it as a program installed in Windows or on a Mac.

Running it through a browser does not mean that connecting to the internet is required for running the system.  Some features require connecting to the internet, but stories can be worked on through a browser not connected to the internet.  There are a lot of reasons why I want to make this a browser-based system, but my reasons don’t matter, if the product is not going to do what writers need if it is running in a browser.

What worries me is I don’t see any problems with running OneStep as a browser-based app.  I know others will see problems, but I don’t know what they are.  That is not good.  I need to know, what are the problems with OneStep being browser-based?

While I won’t try guessing at requirements and platform, I will hazard a guess that people who have shown interest in OneStep want to know when they can get it.  Answer:  I don’t know.  This work is happening at the same time Holly and I are rebuilding her online writing school.  I am not sure how much work we can do on OneStep while construction of the online writing school is happening.  I will just have to update you on that as I know more.

If you have questions or comments about the OneStep system, please do not hesitate to ask.


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68 responses to “OneStep Writing System – Web-Based?”

  1. Judy White Avatar
    Judy White


    Brower based would be fine with me. The ability to work off-line would also be great — I could log into my writing without going onto the Internet and getting sucked into emails, etc. The only question I do have is syncing of versions. For example, I work off-line on one computer, then I work off-line on another computer; would there be an over-write of the material when I finally logged back in to the program? Or, could I have subsets of the same material on the system and put them together later? Just wondering. By the way, thank you so much for this. It’s really an amazing feat you both are trying to accomplish.

  2. Laniann Avatar

    Holly and Dan,

    I would like a software app that runs on my desktop.
    Any update would be installed through Adobe AIR.

    This type of app would work on PC and MAC and be easy to update.

  3. Stanley Brewster Avatar
    Stanley Brewster

    I could work with browser based as long as data storage was local. I guess the real question is how quick will tech support be when the browser updates break it? An OS specific version would allow me to keep working no matter what the browser suppliers are doing.

  4. Robin Woodell-Vitasek Avatar
    Robin Woodell-Vitasek

    I am not tech savy. I use either WordPerfect or Open Office to write 90% of my stuff. I have Scrivner and love what little I have done on it so far. Far too many things to learn out the gate, so I am struggling with that. I generally write long hand and they type it in. Guess my age is showing.

    Browser based things scare the crap out of me because I have seen too many things get ruined when a browser is updated. You have little control. Also I tend to work off-line as I have to borrow internet service from the library or McDonald’s. It would be nice to be able to work when I don’t have internet.

    I have Evernote, but have not had much success using it. So guess I am not very bright when it comes to new technology. I do use chrome and windows 8.1

  5. BJ Steeves Avatar
    BJ Steeves

    Being in IT for my whole career and just retired, I know all of the issues that you will be facing. You will need a system that can be used on and off line, and cover as many devices as possible.

    I only use Linux, so that OS will need to be included. I know security is a big issue, so a web based system using any browser should be able to access the system, and if properly coded, security would not be a major issue. Most security issues are due to badly written code and/or poor testing.

    Stand alone systems could be written in correctly coded Java, or other scripting languages such as PHP, Perl, etc…. All major OS’s can run these.

    I am running my own private project using TikiWiki, MariaDB, Apache, Linux, (LAMP) and LibreOffice for the front end and editing. The LAMP is running, and I am currently working on a database for writing and tracking. Again, these are also available to Windows and Mac.

    The biggest flaw would be to default to a specific OS, such as Windows, and forget the others (Mac and Linux).

    1. Dan Allen Avatar
      Dan Allen

      Hi BJ Steeves, thank you for replying. Covering devices is big deal, and I do not have a handle on it for OneStep yet.

      I am going to start with polling the people who have signed up for the beta, to get the best data I can on what devices people use.

      This is a devil’s advocate question: What if a small number of devices, say 7, covers all the devices used by, say 60% of writers, and that after that first 7, starting with the 8th most popular device, only a small percentage of writers use that device. There is going to come a point where the viability of developing the system will be threatened by trying to support the next most popular device. The numbers guy in me looks at it that but I am not sure if that is a valid perspective. Funding the development of a product has never been my concern before. I always have built for others’ specifications and questions at this level where not my role.

      I know that the support for devices is a big deal. My perception is the cheapest way to support the most devices is to start with a browser-based system. I am not certain that is correct, and I am not certain a browser can run what is needed for OneStep.

  6. Patti Avatar

    I would prefer it not be browser based. Partly because of security issues. Though you might be able to take care of all of that. And I saw that you said it wouldn’t require an internet connection and that’s good but where does a project get stored? Are you going to be able to make it work correctly on all of the browsers? I use Opera. But on occasion I’ll use Firefox. I’m not sure what’s on my phone (it just says “Internet” and came with my Android phone but it’s not Chrome. That has to be installed seperately) but I use Opera on my phone too.
    I would like it to be something I can install on all of my machines (desktop – Win 8, laptop – still XP, phone – Lollipop, tablet – Jellybean) which may be more difficult for you thus making browser based possibly easier for you.
    I guess my concerns for browser based is trackers and hackers. And then the stability of the browser because whenever they update they seem to have bugs to start.
    Thank you, Dan and Holly. It’s really nice of you to get the input of the community. 😀

    1. Dan Allen Avatar
      Dan Allen

      Patti, Thank you for taking time to write. I am glad you like the chance to give input. 🙂 I am grateful for the chance to find out for sure without having to guess what writers will be able to use best.

      Going through your comment from the start, I am really glad you are asking about the security of browser-based apps, especially trackers and hackers. To answer that well, I need to do some offline checking and composition. It is possible this issue could disqualify browsers as the target platform. I do not expect that to be the case, but to go with a browser-based app, I need to be able to explain exactly what the risks are, how they work, the issue of not knowing what we don’;t and know and that all still can be addressed in a manner that says, net: This app is secure. I will get back to you on that within a few days.

      I will address browser updates as well.

      IF OneStep is developed as a browser-based app, it will have to run great on at least all major desktop, laptop and mobile-based browsers. A partial-minimum, it would have to run perfectly on Opera, Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer (all those on Windows and Mac, except I am not sure about Safari on Windows or other cases where major browser is not universally recognized as stable on Windows back to at least XP or a Mac back to about 10 years as well. Mobile devices running iOS-based safari, and Android would have to be supported. I need to collect data on usage and of devices by writers, not just as an inventory, but I need to know how the different devices are used, to make sure the needs are either fully met, or known ahead of time not to be met.

      I am determined, there will be no disappointing surprises. I kind of hate the habit software vendors can have of leading me down a rose petal path, helping me think what I like, then discover after purchase that my idea of what the product would do and what it really does are so different, that I feel cheated and ticked off. There would be visible differences in how it runs on different browsers, but they would have to be non-degrading to the product, or the product will fail.

  7. Julie Avatar

    I slightly lean toward a browser-based system because of the greater potential flexibility and compatibility between systems/devices. I am another non-savvy person, so am wondering about how you would address browser security issues, other than that, I am excited about the product.

    1. Dan Allen Avatar
      Dan Allen

      Julie, I will be posting about browser security. A lot people are wary of browser apps. I am looking forward to learning whether it will be possible to address the concerns you have.

  8. Danzier Avatar

    I’m also leery of browser-based software, for two reasons: one, like wordpress updates broke Holly’s site more times than I can count, I expect the various browser version updates would be able to break any browser-based software in new and aggravating ways on a regular basis; and two, I don’t know how to get a browser page without getting the internet at the same time (I do know it’s possible) and I’ve seen the damage that having internet connections where none are expected can do.

    On the other hand, I know that coding a project like this for Windows/Mac/Linux/whatever is exponentially multiplying the work by the number of systems, and is huge to start with. And a Windows update may well break the software as easily as a Firefox update could.

    I would prefer the not-in-browser option, but I can live with whatever way works best.

  9. Tamara Avatar

    I can’t comment on browser or other type of program as that is beyond my limited tech knowledge. I use Scrivener for my writing with Dropbox linked to the app Textilus on my iPad mini for remote writing. I’ve also used Notes on my iPhone for when an idea hits and I’m out sans computer and iPad (which happens a lot).
    What I do question is why the entire writing process (initial draft to publication launch and marketing) should be in a single platform? That sounds huge and difficult to develop. It also sounds highly subject to targeted hacks and plagiarism.
    Granted, not being a tech genius or a long time published author with a reader fan base, I recognize that my questions/ concerns may be based on ignorance.

  10. Katharina Gerlach Avatar

    Make a browser based version first. If the need arises and you’re making a lot of money from the browser app, you can always expand to downloadable versions. The most important feature is platform compatibility, and that’s easiest with a browser app. I’m on a Linux machine for example, lots of Holly’s students use Macs and others Window systems. If you want as many people as possible to use your program, browser app is the way to go.

  11. TCC Edwards Avatar

    I think a program similar to Evernote might be best. Evernote has a downloadable program you can run on desktop, and it has browser-based functionality as well. It’s nice because it has versions for all major platforms.

    If you have to chose between browser-based and downloadable? I’d say go with browser-based. The cross-platform capability is already built-in to the browser itself – I can imagine that might save a lot of work. Maybe go with a browser-based program at first, and then as the userbase expands, a downloadable program (and mobile app too, I hope) could be implemented later.

    1. Therese Avatar

      I agree. A program like Evernote that has app based and browser based components would be ideal.

  12. Adaram Ontario Avatar

    I am 100% in favour of a browser based app. Browsers have come a million miles in the past few years, and there’s a ton of really good things that can now be done without the need for a separately installed app on ones computer.

  13. Amy Avatar

    I haven’t used a lot of browser-based software, so I’m withholding judgement until I know more about what’s planned. However, it sounds like there is a potential disconnect in the discussion between what I think are 3 different concepts. There is cloud-based software that is, I think, essentially entirely online such as Google Docs. There is web-based software that uses computing power from remote servers, but where the work produced can be stored either in a local folder, or in a 3rd-party cloud based folder. There are a number of graphics programs that use this kind of model. Or there’s software built on a browser engine such as Mozilla that has the potential benefit of connecting easily to the web while the program itself resides on the local machine. Essentially, the program itself is a specialized web browser not dependent on FireFox, Chorme, Safari, Etc.

    From Dan’s post, I get the sense that we’re talking about the second kind, but it’s not entirely clear. I could see potential advantages or disadvantages to each potential format. But not being a user of any of these kinds of programs at the moment, I don’t have enough information to form an opinion about whether I have a preference.

  14. Samantha Avatar

    I’m definitely not what one would call tech-savvy (my main form of troubleshooting is find the settings and click random buttons until something happens, haha). So I’m not entirely aware of the different pros and cons that each option gives. However, I do see the sense in the comments posted before mine, and the concerns with the browser-based system, especially with various updates and whatnot. The one concern I have is how well/fast each system would work on a slow, poor computer (I am unable to get a better one for at least another two years, but my main frustration with the one I have now is its frequency to freeze up, regardless of browser-based or not). The other concern I have is how easily it could be used on other computers, i.e., computers owned by someone else. When I travel, I often end up using a family member’s computer, and if OneStep was browser-based, then it would be a major plus to be able to use it on any computer without having to download a program that another person may-or-may-not want. Would it be a login system (for either)? Another question is, would it work on mobile devices/tablets? Both would be useful. I like the aspect of it not being tied to the internet (even if I do not fully understand how that works).
    I suppose that my main concerns is how well each system would work on a slower computer (although I know part of that concern is simply the fact I have a terrible computer, so there may not be any solution for that outside of getting a new one), how easily it could be transferred on other computers, and if it was browser-based, if it would work for all browsers.
    Of course, as I am not knowledgeable in the world of computers and technology, there may be easy ways around the issues in both systems, or the issues I am concerned about are not in either.

  15. Debbie Avatar

    If your system was totally awesome, I would choose to use it browser-based or not. I’m wary from browser-based… As mentioned by a few others: browser changes are out of your (the developer’s) hands, and I imagine security would be that bit easier to crack.
    Personally, I prefer stand alone apps. However, as mentioned, with an awesome programme, I could be swayed. BTW, I use Chrome, as well. Certainly compatibility is a huge part of it (but will be an issue whether programming for a system app or a browser). I like to be able to make notes/adjustments from different devices (Android/Windows).
    My aversion to browser-based is just a gut feeling, so I could definitely be swayed.
    I currently use a combination of Scrivener and OneNote (which has a browser-based version, which I don’t use). OneNote for it’s handwriting abilities.
    Not much, but my 2 cents.

  16. Kim Lambert Avatar

    I second the concerns raised by others about browser versions, upgrades and reliability, when you do not control that base that provides your user interface shell. I also find that browsers suck much more of my system memory than most standalone or cloud interfacing apps, so that’s a concern.

    Generally, I do everything in Word, and, as I edit, proofread and format for others, as well as write myself, I use lots of fiddly things to produce the exact formatting that we want in the end result. I have never seen a browser based app that has provided the level of features and detail, in a reasonable interface, that I use every day. I can’t imagine how you would do that. ( and I have spent 30 years in IT) .

    What also concerns me is that each browser comes with its own existing menu systems etc, which take up valuable screen real estate. If you make a full featured app that operates inside a browser, then you have to add your menu systems and tools for the app into the main window space, because you are still stuck with the browser menu systems etc. on a widescreen laptop, the window height is limited, and the more stuff that has to be crammed in, the less space for actually writing in.

    Like others here, I live in an area where connectivity is expensive and not always reliable, plus I travel a lot to all sorts of places in the world where it is even worse. So whilst being able to have some cloud based stuff is useful, I like the reliability of having things on my hard drive and on my portable backup drive. I generally hate the way that forms etc work in browsers, so I suspect that I might hate the interface. You may be able to convince me otherwise – but with the amount of info currently available, I am not positive to the browser based idea.

    1. Dan Allen Avatar
      Dan Allen

      Kim, until January 2015, every single browser-based text editor I ever saw, sucked. The only usable ones allowed unrestricted HTML and , etc.. That was the we have? That was ridiculous. I thought there must be a tech barrier, but I did know have explanation for what that might be.

      I saw a good one in January, good enough, but not complete enough The way it handles adding new entries and file attachments/ embedded files, saves work as you go, the steps in the interaction of changing formats, all is good. It needs more fonts than I saw, but those can be added. I really do not see a problem until it is time to edit an entry, where it just as bad as any other. I figured I must be using it wrong, so I contacted the vendor, and they said they know of the differences between add and edit, and they have requests from customers to make edit like add. Then, the vendor became quiet, the opposite of what the are on all other topics I have looked into with them.

      The January editor works differently than editors whose internals I have had time to look at. It uses jquery, with a special library for file upload and flash for display of images that are dragged and dropped, loaded to the server by ajax and and this displayed when editing is finished. I was so impressed, that even with my 94 years as an IT professional, I am going to try and extend its wysiwig functionality from ADD, where they have it, to EDIT, where they have crap.

      I will not forget to try reaching you if the day comes when I think I might have a mousetrap for browser-based text editing. I won’t bother unless I can explain why this hypothetical text editor can do anything that any text editor can. If I make a statement that I have what I just said, and it turns out I don’t, you better check my ID, because I won’t be guessing on this, or trying to pull any fast ones. I want to find out what is going on, and if I can complete what has been started and then offer the end result as the best English language text editor bar none. If I find that either that cannot be done or that I cannot do it, fortunately, I have enough other work to keep me busy.

      There is a limitation I sticking with, at least short term. English only. Now I guess that really means the Latin/Swedish charactter set, not English. The point is I am not going to try for letters and numbers that I can’t tell what they are. Not yet,maybe somedayl

      .Have you ever found out why no can make a decent web-based browser, except the one I first saw in January 2015? The one I saw will not do everything you are used to doing.

  17. Margaret Avatar

    Honestly, your biggest issue would be rather than programming for 1-3 main OS’s (Windows backwards compatibility is generally functional up to Win 7 at least though I don’t know about Mac) you’d be programming for 7+ browsers. Having done sophisticated websites, that can be a nightmare, worse when people are still actively running different versions with serious code-base changes (I.E. 6 anyone?). You also might need to consider greater security issues because more hacks are written to take advantage of browser activity than OS activity from my experience.

    As to my personal issues, I’m still tied in to storage and accessible formats outside of the program should something happen. But those can still be solved using the browser as the container for the user interface.

    Oh, one other thing to think about…browsers get hung temp files, corrupt cookies, and just decide not to work in places every once in a while for no good reason. If your program gets caught up in something like that, you’ll waste time troubleshooting a local user problem because tech knowledge differs and people (even relatively savvy people) can have trouble distinguishing between the program and its interaction with the vehicle.

  18. Cheryl M Brown Avatar

    Writing software for the various versions of Windows and Mac OS systems would be nearly as bad as having to have it work on all browsers. If it doesn’t have a ton of bells and whistles HTML5 basics work on the top four – although the CSS placement can get a bit funky (especially on IE) in my experience.
    Have you considered a java program? Then it would work on android (for tablets especially) as well as Win, Mac & Linux. The delivery might be tricky, but once setup it would be a winner.
    Everything’s browser based these days, BUT her in Australia we still have crap internet outside the cities. I have an 8Gb wireless connection that costs a fortune so huge downloads would cut me out. (That’s probably just Oz.)
    Thanks for all the hard work,

  19. Ken Alger Avatar

    Call me ignorant if you want but will I be able to import/export from a browser to MS word or some other offline
    text program.

  20. Eileen Avatar

    I’m a web developer by day. Where will all of the data be stored? Are you thinking that it will be kept in local (or local synced with cloud) storage and the files specific to the user are accessed via a relative path specified in the config file? This makes it so a user needs to put the whole web application folder, like many frameworks, in cloud or remote server storage to have portability.

    I don’t want to upload my notes and chapters to a certain required cloud provider, though.

    Thank you!

  21. Kelly S. Bishop Avatar
    Kelly S. Bishop

    Browser based works for me – as long as offline is available and it works with Chrome my browser of choice.

    1. Bianca Avatar

      I agree with Kelly. I’ve never had the kinds of issues others are describing with browser-based apps in terms of updates breaking them etc.

  22. Nashira Avatar

    I think others may have touched on this, but browser-based puts updates out of the developer’s hands. I would be wary.

  23. Karen Guyler Avatar

    I only use Safari for anything writing related and am technologically non-savvy, so browser based but without necessarily needing an internet connection sounds perfect.

  24. Donald Wheeler Avatar
    Donald Wheeler

    To be honest, a lot of it boils down to your feature set. With modest on device storage and good AJAX, there is no reason to use Flash or any desktop type technology. As you mentioned not knowing the requirements, as long as you are not dealing with huge files or any funky rendering or such, browser is just fine.

    As a bonus, this will give you much better cross platform support with reasonable design and testing. You also won’t have to listen to Mac vs PC whining as well …

  25. Kyralae Avatar

    Browser based software is good when it comes out but…and here’s the biggie… all browsers don’t update at the same time. Updates have a potential and habit of breaking browser based software when it happens. I use Firefox, Chrome, and Safari and those three don’t even play nice with the same code so you would have to be testing and writing for each browser every time one of them decides to upgrade. I see a lot of work just keeping up with a working program.

    Standalone software on the other hand works after debugging and a person can continue to work with one version or another as long as they want to. Upgrades are actually optional at the discretion of the user. I have bypassed upgrades on some of my most powerful software simply because the new bells and whistles are not what I use or intend to use.

    1. Raven Oak Avatar

      Pretty much what was said here.
      Considering that Firefox breaks on a daily basis for a variety of reasons, IE can’t handle code worth squat, Safari isn’t supported by much, and Chrome wants to highjack my computer, I’d prefer it to be a standalone software program.

      That way, you control updates rather than having browsers force random updates due to their breaking the program again.

      1. Krystie Avatar

        I am tech savvy enough that I can work with whatever you end up developing.

        Having said that I agree with the two folks above about browser updates making things break.

  26. Janet Avatar

    I have questions:
    If its web based where does your work get saved to? Cloud or is it on your hard drive?

    For people that use a smartphone or tablet/devices how would it work if it was browser based?

    I don’t understand how it can be browser based and you could work on it off line? Most browser based programs force you to log into their site to access the program over the net.
    Unless this was a ‘hybrid’ program? Install a small bit of code on the hard drive but it was mostly browser driven?

    If its browser based and relies on accessing the net for things like dictionaries or other ‘peripheral’ programs and the user is off line, how would that work?

    My day job is a software tester.

  27. Eryn Avatar

    I see no problem with it being browser based as long as it doesn’t require an internet connection. If it had an easy sync method, that would be a big bonus too.

  28. Claudette Avatar

    I must admit confusion here, Dan. How can a browser-based system such as this work without being connected to the internet?

    Maybe I’m just having a senior moment here, but you lost me on that turn.

    I’m all for consolidating user needs into one system that can plug stuff into numerous sites online without having to move back and forth between locations. I’m just wondering how simple is simple?

    Okay, I also admit to drowning in tech verbage right now. I gave all that up years ago when I left IBM. 🙂

  29. Sarah Avatar

    I have a newer computer running window 8 and several older machines (2005 vintage) that I can not update Microsoft explorer on. It is currently running Firefox. So my question would be one of compatibility between the various browsers. I know it is far easier to built up from an existing platform but the danger would be in backward and forward compatibility and software support/updates.

  30. Roberta Avatar

    I live where internet connections are slow and have numerous disconnects. Scrivener works because it has its own internet connection. I would like that convenience with an auto-save into an online service like Dropbox or Evernote. Since I work on both a Mac (my preference) and a PC (my publisher’s preference), I need flexibility in Word.

  31. Paula Avatar

    Personally, I see no issue with the program being browser-based so long as I don’t need an Internet connection to use and access it (with the exception, of course, of features like posting to a blog, which would require a connection either way). Although I must say, if it is browser-based, I’d really like an option to backup any text or image files to my hard drive (if this is possible, I’m completely ignorant when it comes to these kinds of things.)

    1. Paula Avatar

      Oh, and thank you Dan (and Holly!) for all the wonderful and hard work that you’re doing

  32. Nicola Avatar

    I tend to write offline – not for costs, I have a flatrate, but the internet is too distracting and too many things get in the way.
    I also hope to buy a new computer this year to use it as a “typewriter” – with no connection to the internet.
    I don’t know many writers, but quite a few I know all work offline or even on separate machines.

    So that’s the only reason I am a bit hesitant about the browser-based aspect (and one of my browser (IE) keeps shutting down on me, so I hope that won’t happen with a “browser-based” software.

    That’s all I can say at the mo.

    1. Mel Corbett Avatar

      Seconded. I am super distractible and would be tempted to just make a new tab and PPP on the Internet – oh I’ll just look this one thing up and bye bye writing session.

  33. Rebecca Avatar

    My vote (and I retain the right to change my mind with new info) is for a browser-based program. My reasoning is that if I don’t have to load yet another program onto my system, I’m happier. Also, I would have to load a program onto every computer-my desk top AND my laptop. If it’s browser-based, then I can access the program anywhere, anytime and on any computer. It might simplify the lives of those who now do everything in ‘the cloud’ (Chrome-based computers). Many laptops don’t have the room to store a lot of programs, so some folks might want to access one-step in a browser for that reason.
    The downside is that if the system is down, then we can’t work, whereas if it’s already loaded onto our computers, then we are good to go.


    There are some obvious concerns, some that are more perception than reality, but…

    Security and ownership of content: People feel more secure when their important stuff (current draft) is located on that tangible box on their desk. There is also the question of who owns something that resides on someone else’s property. But, most people seem to be comfortable with Dropbox and other cloud resources.

    For me a real concern would be the ability to work off-line. I may be a rare example, but I live in very rural Kansas and my data connection is a single threaded DSL line. Service is frequently slow, jittery or gone. This has made me more concerned than I should be about using a ChromeBook.

    Would the new system replace software like Scrivener? If not, how would it be used with them? (Some writers LUVS their Scrivener.)

    Can you provide any examples of browser based services that work without an Internet connection?

    Probably any question like this begs the answer of “it depends.” The final system is a more than a little vague at the moment.

  35. Emma Avatar

    I like browser-based apps! Given how I predominantly write, browser-based is great.

    However, as both a huge proponent of accessibility (I have a /lot/ of writer friends who are visually-impaired) and some personal issues, I’m seconding the accessibility concerns with flash and/or java on a browser-based app.

    I write predominantly on an Android Tablet/Phone when I’m not at a desktop. And that involves a lot of finagling to make flash work (with varying levels of success). Java likewise sometimes gets finicky, though I have /less/ issues with Java than Flash.

  36. Carl Plumer Avatar

    My only thought is speed. Some browser-based software can be slow (because of the connection, not because of anything wrong with the browser-based model). Maybe caching would help? No idea. Other than the speed (I can’t imagine using Scrivener in a browser, for example, yikes!!) I don’t have any problems with the idea. Good luck!

  37. J.A.Partridge Avatar

    There are plenty of stand alone writing/organizing apps. There are precious few solid yet simple low maintenance web platforms and none (that I’m aware of) which specifically caters to an author’s needs to interact with their readers.

    I suppose you could do it in Java and try for a best of both worlds approach.

  38. Betty Widerski Avatar

    Since you say making it browser-based does not mean needing an internet connection to work on stories, that means the manuscript files will be living on the user’s local hard drive when offline. Will you therefore have a requirement for users to have an account with a certain cloud service vendor (e.g., Dropbox, Box, Drive) so that the files will auto sync to the cloud at the next network connection?

    Also if it is browser based does that mean it runs as an in-browser plugin/extension? That would mean it would need to keep up with several browser types’ updates.

    It would be an advantage if users can access their files via a web GUI via ANY computer’s browser (e.g., I can get to my Evernote files from a public library terminal) – but that would probably mean you/Holly are hosting all the files, which I doubt you want to get into.

  39. Mary K. Avatar
    Mary K.

    Hi, Dan and Holly ~ I agree with Elanor’s and Stacy Riley’s comments. I also like the fact that web-based means I wouldn’t have to allocate a lot of space for another program on my already crowded hard drive, and if I could save my work to the cloud, that would be even better.

    Mary K.

  40. Anna Payne Avatar

    browser based is good for me, cloud storage is a good idea too.

  41. Storm Avatar

    Most of the work that I do both professionally and personally, now, is done around browser-based software. I’ve found it to be very flexible and have an easier time keeping it up to date, versus directly installed software. I would be happy with a browser-based system. However, I would want it to have cloud-storage capabilities since that is a major feature for functionality for me.

  42. Ken Barclay Avatar
    Ken Barclay

    I live in the boonies. With the prices charged for Internet connection out here, the less I need to depend on the Internet, the better.

  43. Kathy Avatar

    TL;DR – Yes, browser based is fine for me.

    I’ve read the referred to article about what One-Step is. I still have questions about that, but here’s my thoughts.

    If this is a replacement for WordPress, with the ability to do other social media (which it sounded like), articles, tips, comments, etc, then I think that browser based is fine. Although it would be good if it could work for smallish screens (aka mobile).

    If this is also a replacement for Scrivener, then I am still okay with it being browser based since I’m a techy type. Browser based, for me, means that I should be able to use it on any of the 3 platforms that I use (Mac, Windows, Linux) – so that’s good.

    I’m pretty sure that you can make something browser based that is good for non-tech types – but I don’t really know how easy that is. And I do worry about the compatibility issues with browser versions and their updates. But if you already know how to deal with that, then that’s good.

    I would suggest a minimum viable product for the beta testers (once you get to that point). And the ability to import/export stuff – so for features you haven’t implemented yet (or don’t plan to), the data can be transferred back and forth between products.

    I’m not sure whether my post answers your question. Hopefully, it helps more than it hinders.

  44. Kate Avatar

    I think a program would work better, sometimes, I’ve noticed what is meant to run through browser may not work right with all browsers. Sometimes things are lost or do not code right

  45. Anne BB Avatar
    Anne BB

    One of my desires is being able to work on the same project on my iPad and my PC. My iPad is more transportable than my laptop, and I have shifted to writing more on it since I got an Air 2 with the resident Office-ish apps. I know shifting between platforms can be tricky.

    1. Kathy Avatar

      I also use an iPad for a lot of stuff now. My main writing is still on my Mac, but short stuff, reviewing stuff, reading, etc. are all pretty much on my iPad.

  46. Ken DS Avatar
    Ken DS

    Browser-based wouldn’t be my first choice, but it could work. I’ve been using Scrivener with my book on Google Drive, so I can access it anytime or any place (and my Drive will sync whenever I have an internet connection). I’m happy to work with a browser off-line, but some users may have difficulty or see it as a hindrance. I say go for it 🙂

  47. Elanor Avatar

    The only problem I see with a browser based app is browser compatibility issues. Are you going to be able to make versions for Firefox, Explorer, Chrome, etc.?

    Also, if it’s browser based, will that make it easier or harder to make it work on smartphones and tablets? One of the things that Scrivener (my current favorite writing software) doesn’t have is a version for mobile devices.

    I’m super excited about this software, and I don’t mind waiting for it one bit. I have faith that Holly’s new site is going to be awesome, and the writing software will be too! 🙂

  48. Joe Avatar

    I’d like to see it web-based, cloud-like, able to be used by any browser (yes, I’m talking Chrome). I am thoroughly enjoying the “advancement” of computing toward the cloud, which looks suspiciously like the old server-terminal model it began with. Seriously, it would be an advantage to be able to access from a variety of devices without having to store the program on a hard drive of our own.

  49. Stacey Riley Avatar
    Stacey Riley


    I have no problems with it being browser based as you said an internet connection will not always be required. My connection is great and consistent but for people in rural areas this is not always the case.

    The only necessity I have is cloud based storage storage so I can work on files using different devices. Also file export.

    Stacey Riley

  50. Melinda Primrose Avatar
    Melinda Primrose

    Hi Dan and Holly,
    Will any of the 1step be Flash based? I’m wondering how accessible it will be with a screen reader. I’m sure it’s not high on your priority list, but it high on mine as I use a screen reader all the time. A program like this that works with a screen reader would be a God-send!

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