A Brief History of SmartEdit
The first commercial version of SmartEdit appeared in late 2012. It was a stand-alone app that writers used to open RTF documents and contained a basic version of many of the checks that exist in Version 6.
This was followed in 2013 by a new version that opened Word documents directly. At the time many users did not want to work in another program, preferring to edit their document inside Microsoft Word. To facilitate this, we added a number of external reporting options to this early version of SmartEdit, allowing users to run the SmartEdit checks inside the stand-alone app then export those results to a PDF or other file and use that report to help with editing their document in Word.
In 2014 we built the first SmartEdit for Word Add-In. This contained most of the functionality of the previous stand-alone version without the pdf and external report generator.
Almost immediately sales of the stand-alone version plummeted, as new users preferred the Word version. Many users of the stand-alone version moved across to the Word version, preferring that to their old way of working.
We continued to upgrade SmartEdit for Word so that it worked with each new version of Word.
As we release version 6 of SmartEdit for Word, sales of the stand-alone version are running at about 8%. Over 90% of users want the Word Add-In. This has caused us to make some hard decisions about the future direction of SmartEdit.
The Stand-alone Version
With the release of version 6 we’ve revamped the SmartEdit website to focus on the Word Add-In. For the time being the stand-alone version is still available for download and sale, but this is not emphasized on the website. New visitors will have difficulty finding it and will see a warning about future development when they reach the stand-alone page.
There will be no new versions of the stand-alone SmartEdit app. No new features will be added. We will still fix and issue releases for any critical bugs found over the next few months, but there will be no new non-critical releases.
A few months from now we will be withdrawing the stand-alone app from sale and from that point on no new versions will be released. The date at which this occurs will depend on the time-frames of upcoming development of Atomic Scribbler and SmartEdit Pro outlined below.
Anyone with a license key for the stand-alone version will find that their license will work on the future version of Atomic Scribbler that contains SmartEdit — outlined below. This version is under development, but the release date is not confirmed at this time. Keep an eye on the Atomic Scribbler website for details and on the support forum where beta versions may be available in advance.
We will be incorporating the full functionality of SmartEdit into Atomic Scribbler, hopefully over the next couple of months. Work is underway and proceeding according to plan. If you’re not familiar with Atomic Scribbler, it’s a new app we released last year for writers to plan their novels, prepare and maintain research material, and then write that novel chapter by chapter or scene by scene in a modern Windows application that has a similar look and feel to Microsoft Word.
There are many competing products in this field but none have anything resembling the editing functionality of SmartEdit. Our plan is to merge the early stage preparation and writing functionality of Atomic Scribbler with the editing functionality of SmartEdit, producing a single modern application that encompasses the first three stages of novel writing: preparation, first-draft and editing.
Many of the user interface elements that went into SmartEdit version 6 came out of our work last year building Atomic Scribbler. The two apps are a good fit for each other and will work well together.
Check in on the support forum for details on progress and release dates.
As mentioned above, licensed users of the stand-alone version of SmartEdit — soon to be deprecated — will find that their SmartEdit license key will work on the new combined version of Atomic Scribbler and SmartEdit when it is released.
SmartEdit Pro for Professional Editors
The survey we sent to SmartEdit users in March of this year highlighted something we always knew but never actioned — that many users were editors working on various manuscripts for different writers.
With that in mind we’ve made the decision to build extra functionality into the SmartEdit for Word Add-In for these users. This extra functionality includes adding in the external reporting options (PDF, etc.) that form part of the stand-alone version. We’re also planning major additional enhancements that include setting up projects with separate lists of monitored words and separate exclusion lists for each project, as well as other changes we’re still fleshing out.
This is expected to be a new product, SmartEdit Pro, aimed at professional editors rather than writers editing their own work.
Development of this new product is already mapped out and the development work will begin after SmartEdit has been added to Atomic Scribbler, as outlined above. Our estimate at the moment is for a late Summer release, but this could change.
I hope this gives everyone a good indication of where we’re going with SmartEdit. For a few years development was slow, but that’s all changing and we have big plans for both SmartEdit and Atomic Scribbler.
Unfortunately, those plans mean retiring the stand-alone version of SmartEdit in a few months but we hope to bring many of the users of that app across to either Atomic Scribbler with SmartEdit or SmartEdit Pro.