I’ve recently removed UX Write from the app store. Unfortunately it’s been a complete commercial failure. For the last two years, it’s been bringing in just a few dollars a day in revenue, which is nowhere near the level that would would make it viable for me to continue development work. Because of this, I’ve long-since moved on to other paying work, and have not had the time or energy to continue maintenance of the app.
There are two main reasons I’ve decided to remove it from availability now:
- Every new iOS version breaks the app in some significant way, requiring a non-trivial amount of effort to work around the new bugs/API changes Apple have introduced. iOS 10 is on the way, and Dropbox have recently announced they will be dropping support their version 1 API, which UX Write relies on. Unfortunately as a result of this, UX Write will be unable to communicate with Dropbox after their API sunset date of June 28 2017. Implementing support for the new API and carrying out thorough testing with iOS 10 would involve more effort than I’m willing to invest now, particularly since it’s not going to change the revenue situation.
- I still receive occasional support requests for the app, most of which relate to bugs that would require a significant amount of effort to fix. I also sometimes receive requests for new features. As much as I’d love to continue improving the app, I can’t do it for (essentially) free, particularly when experience has shown that it’s first and foremost marketing that determines the success of an app, and almost every feature I’ve added over the course of the UX Write’s development (such as internationalization and LaTeX support) has resulted in no increase in sales.
I know there are a small number of dedicated fans of the app who use it regularly, and all I can say is I’m sorry it hasn’t worked out – no-one is more disappointed about this than me. However, I feel it’s not fair to ask new users to pay for an app which is no longer being maintained, and contains bugs that will never be fixed.
There are other alternatives available that I recommend. Microsoft Word is a good choice for most people, and although I strongly dislike it’s philosophy towards document authoring, it seems to suit the needs of the majority of the market (most of the complaints I’ve received about UX Write have stemmed from a lack of understanding of what the app is about – that is, structured writing – from people who have expected it to work just like Word). For those who are after something specifically designed for structured writing, I recommend the recently-released iOS version of Scrivener – which follows a very similar approach to UX Write to organising content. On the desktop, either Scrivener or LyX are great choices.
Some time ago I open sourced some components of UX Write – specifically the file format conversion library (written in C) and core editing code (written in TypeScript) in what became the Corinthia project. The code is available at https://github.com/corinthia – it’s not actively maintained right now, but hopefully may be of use to someone. For details on Corinthia you can see a couple of talks I gave about it here and here.
Well, that is a huge disappointment. You made it possible, practical, and even perhaps preferable to edit large docx files on an iPad. This will be sorely missed here and will drive me further toward my all-plaintext future. You persuaded me that we might find an xml format we could all settle on and use, but it looks like Microsoft, Apple, et. al, win again. Best of luck with the other ventures.