Updated: May 27, 2020
The TL;DR: (Too Long, Didn't Read -- for long-winded details, see "Detailed Status," below):\
CURRENT STATUS: The version number of Screenwriter for the Catalina Alpha version will be 126.96.36.199. We are in the process of adding license management and building the installer.
The program is approaching an alpha-test state, and we are adding license management and building installers. When we do, we will post here on this page. We will also email all registered users. The Alpha is an early version that can be used by the majority of our clients. The new Retina resolution looks great! Documents can now be opened, edited, and saved in our current development version. We also just got opening & saving to work for the legacy .mmsw file format -- something we didn't expect until much later beta versions. Cut/Copy/Paste and drag-and-drop features and toolbar icons, work, and now -- basic printing!
SHOULD YOU JUMP ON THE VERY FIRST ALPHA TEST RELEASE?
Let's discuss. We know you've been waiting an eternity for Screenwriter to run on Catalina. We're happy to let any registered user of Screenwriter 6.5 download and install Screenwriter 6.7, the Catalina-compatible version. But should you do that on Day One with the very first Alpha release?
The early Alpha versions are going to still have some features that are not yet connected. Just to be clear, "not yet connected" doesn't mean "not yet written" -- these are features that were written as part of the Screenwriter 6.5 you know and love, but now need to be connected to their new 64-bit user interface. So what sort of features are not expected in the first Alpha 1 version? Here's a pretty good list:
Expected in Alpha 2-3:
- Title Page Publisher
- Some Reports
- Production Locking
- Export FinalDraft
- Spell Checker
- Status Bar
Expected in Alpha 4-5
- Document Ruler
- Previous Files List
- Check for Update
- Tag Mode
- Email Script
- Count Words
- Speak Selection
- Document Compare
Expected in Final Alpha/ First Beta:
- Watermark Printing
- Index Card Mode
We expect to be rapidly connecting up those features and producing a new alpha (or beta) on a regular weekly schedule now.
So should you jump on the early Alpha?
Probably Not: Are you a judgmental perfectionist that has no tolerance for defects? Do you have time to be sending us feedback and possible crash reports? Are you presently under extreme pressure to deliver a script into production? Are you presently successfully running Screenwriter 6.5 on Mojave (or earlier), while waiting for the Catalina versions? Don't do Alpha 1. Wait. At least a few alpha releases.
Maybe Yes: You aren't under extreme pressure, but you've been running Screenwriter 6.5 under VirtualBox, and the performance is so-so. You loath working in that "other" script processor. You'll tolerate some defects and potential crashes and be glad to help out for a few weeks until the program stabilizes. You might want to wait until the second or third weekly alpha build.
Definitely Yes: You're in the early stages of writing, or you're not going to deliver the script for a month or so. You have a sense of adventure and want to be in early on helping Screenwriter be the best damn program it can be! (and you loath that "other" script processor...) Jump on in! The water's cold but getting warmer by the day!
You have a few more days to think about those choices. And of course -- you can jump in whenever you feel the urge.
PLEASE DON'T OPEN A SUPPORT TICKET ASKING FOR ESTIMATED DATES. Just bookmark this FAQ, which will give progress and estimated availability for Screenwriter compatible for MacOS 10.15 Catalina. Click here for a general FAQ about MacOS 10.15 Catalina.
IF YOU HAVE ALREADY UPDATED TO CATALINA, AND YOU NEED EVERY FEATURE OF SCREENWRITER 6.5 BEFORE THE BETA, please consider looking at the free, high-quality VirtualBox utility to run Screenwriter (or Dramatica Story Expert) in a Mojave window right ON Catalina: https://techsupport.screenplay.com/hc/en-us/articles/360034975752
DETAILED ("long-winded") STATUS:
In order to port our software, which is rich with features and UI, we spent almost 20 months preparing various part of the port -- solving most of the hundreds of complex user interface issues ahead of time. Then, we tore the program apart feature by feature, carefully removing many of the old 32-bit implementations of our most complex features.
After 20 long months, we finally got Screenwriter to build and run as a Catalina-Compatible 10.15 program. Now, we are adding back the features we temporarily removed, insuring they work properly. This also involves connecting every button, checkbox, and text field in the software's hundreds of windows, dialogs, and alerts (there are something like 500 different feature/commands in Screenwriter).
As soon as testers can functionally work with their scripts, we will make an Alpha test release available. We are very close to doing that. (as mentioned above, the big feature that needed to be connected for the Alpha test version to be useful was basic printing -- which we just accomplished!). All users will be permitted to download the Alpha version.
Then, once we are sure users can get work done safely, we will produce a public BETA release. We expect that any existing Screenwriter 6.5 user will be able to download and run the Beta release. Note that the early beta versions will likely be missing some of the more obscure or lesser-used features. However, we plan to update the public beta release on a weekly basis, until it is back to its full feature-rich self.
WHY HAS THIS UPDATE TAKEN SO LONG?
First -- just because we've chosen to give away the upcoming new versions (free upgrades) to existing users of Screenwriter 6.5 and Dramatica Story Expert 5.3 may make it seem like our work on Catalina-compatible versions is a simple update, or "patch", but NO-- we've had to COMPLETELY REWRITE ALL of Screenwriter's & Dramatica Story Expert's UI (User Interface) in order to make it 64-bit and fully Retina enabled.
This was no small task. We've been working on a combination of both programs for the past two years. It has been a long, painful process -- one that has involved Apple working closely with us to help overcome complex engineering issues.
Our work was not to just add full Retina compatibility -- it's been a complete modernization of our entire MacOS user interface code base. And it's taken over 2 years because Screenwriter and Dramatica are MASSIVE applications with hundreds of features -- many more than other programs. We want to make sure we don't break all the reliable features screenwriters and novelists have relied on for decades.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MacOS 10.16 IS RELEASE IN SEPTEMBER? WILL THERE BE LONG DELAYS AGAIN?
Absolutely NOT. Our conversion is to Apple's modern 64-bit Cocoa frameworks. While there may be tiny adjustments required for September's 10.16 (whatever it will be called), ALL OF OUR WORK will run and be compatible with 10.16.
Please know this update has been our 100% priority.
Write Brothers, Inc.