Category Archives: Software

StoryBox Somewhat Weekly #5

So late on this update. Been far too busy with the contract work. It’s getting close to the end of the project, and the time frame for it is getting tight, so it’s taking more and more of my time.

In any case, I’ve just uploaded Version 0.0.30 of StoryBox, with some changes and fixes to support some of the people that have actually started to check it out. The usual crashes and things to be expected when first real users get their hands on it, and some other insights, too. It’s really nice to be getting some feedback.

Most of it is coming via the “bug” button on the UI, which is probably the quickest way to tell me what’s wrong. It’s making it easy on my side to keep track of things.

If you haven’t already, check it out on the StoryBox Downloads page. You can see everything I’ve fixed, added and changed as well as the frequency of the updates.

I just hope I don’t spend so much time working on it that I don’t have time for NaNoWriMo (which I’m very intent on winning this year).

StoryBox Early Adopter

Check out StoryBoxSoftware.com. Yes, it’s a little plain (understatement of the year), but you can now download a very early version of StoryBox. It’s got all the major features I want in it for the first version, except for export to rtf, and support for image type documents. Lots of minor features are still missing, though, but in my very biased opinion, it’s at least usable.

Please, try it out, tell me what you think.

Oh, and what the heck do I mean by “Early Adopter”? Well, if you like it a lot, you can buy it now for $25, which is at least a $15 savings over what I will be selling it for when I call version 1.0 done.

StoryBox Weekly #4

This week has been a little slower, though still productive. I’ve had a lot going on with the paying gig, and that takes precedence, unfortunately. I alos received notice that my host was shutting down my server, so I’ve had to quickly move everything to a new host. This included recoding some of the Laughing Dragon Games site to use MySql instead of Microsoft SQL Server.

Progress on StoryBox, though included a new home at StoryBoxSoftware.com. It’s not linked because it’s just a placeholder at the moment.

I added a single level outliner, so if you don’t like working with index cards, you can work in the outline. It will become multi-level eventually, but I wanted the basic feature in so I can start getting some feedback.

Project wide search went in this week, also. Eventually, I will add options for only searching document bodies, synopsis, notes or tags separately or in any combination, and the option to search in any particular set of documents.

One other last change was to swap out the ribbon bar for a regular menu and toolbars. Why? Well, it turns out if you want to use that ribbon bar UI, you have to get a license from Microsoft, and then follow a bunch of guidelines. You also can’t use it on anything that directly competes with any of the Microsoft Office products, including Word. I do not know if they would consider StoryBox as a direct competitor to Word, and since I’m in a hurry to release this thing, I don’t want to go any further with the ribbon bar only to find out later that I can’t use it at all, even if I did want to follow all their technical requirements.

I’m on target, I think, for an October 1 pre-release release. What that means, is that you’ll be able to buy it early for quite a bit less than what I’ll be asking once I tag it with Version 1.0. I haven’t settled on exact final numbers yet, but the pre-release will be right around $25. Once version 1.0 rolls around, it will be significantly more.

So what’s the plan for this week? Mostly tightening up the features that are already in and working on the website.

StoryBox Weekly #3

Yeah, the title says it all. From here on out, I’m going to try to give you a weekly update on StoryBox. Once I can come up with the money to license certain components I’m using, I’ll have this thing up for early sale.

So, what went in this week? Lots of little changes.

I’ve added Character, Location, and Item nodes and put them at the same level in the binder as the Story and Box of Notes. They are now primary containers for the appropriate document types. I’ve also added a context menu to the binder tree that will allow you to create new items, which are dependent upon which item in the tree you’ve selected.

I’ve added blacking out additional screens to the full screen mode for those of you that, like me, have multiple monitors. You can also now change the background color, the paper color, and the font color of full screen mode.

I’ve fixed a bunch of bugs, added a splash screen, made it store the rich text instead of plain text so you can now use bold, italics, and underlines in your text. There are now cut, copy, and paste buttons and context menu items.

I keep trying to use it to start working on this novel I want to write, but every time I sit down to do it, I find some niggling little thing I want to fix first, which ends up in a couple hours spent working on StoryBox instead of my book.

StoryBox Update #2

Today, in a way, is sort of a big milestone in the brand new life of StoryBox. All of the basic features are in and working. You can write a novel in it, start to finish, using the Storyboard (I’m probably using the term incorrectly here) to outline your scenes, and then using the rest of it to write. You can move scenes around, mark the various stages of completion, and even export the manuscript out to a text file.

What’s left are all the tedious things that turn a potentially good piece of software into a great piece of software. Search, crosslinks, context menus and usability features, and a host of other things that I hope will make it one of the best apps in it’s class.

In the screenshot below, you can see a few things, like the dockable multi document interface, the fact that the colors are different (themes!), Session and Project word count goals. The little scrollbar below each document window lets you zoom the text. All the side windows can be placed wherever you want, and set to auto-hide. I’ve tried to keep the UI flexible enough so that you can work the way you want to work.

sb_screen2

StoryBox Update #1

I’m probably going to do these every couple of days for awhile, “these” being updates on StoryBox, as I just have to tell someone about it (someone besides Wendy – I bore her to tears with my chattering about my current projects sometimes), so you get to receive the end result of my constant need to chatter.

Over the weekend, I added mostly necessary features. You can now import from a text file (meaning you can get your current WIP into StoryBox) and export out to a textfile (meaning you can get your work OUT of StoryBox). End to end, you could actually use it to produce a project now. I added a “Help” button, window position persistance which means you can close or hide any of the information windows and it will remember where they were after restarting the app. There’s a way to toggle multiple documents on and off, so if you don’t like a bunch of tabs across the top of your window, you don’t have to have them. There are now Session and Project word count goals and progress bars. You can watch them grow while you type, which is pretty cool.

I still need to hook up a couple other interface elements, and there are a couple of different views that need to be implemented, but I’m pretty pleased with the progress. I can’t guarantee a time frame, as I still have to do other work, but if progress continues to be steady, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a pre-sale sooner rather than later.