There are no real ‘inventions’ in software. Period. And there is most definitely nothing ‘so’ new that it needs to be patented. Nothing. Period again.
And yet, not a day goes by when we are not confronted with the latest news about patent battles and patent trolls.
Most of the time in combination with big names like Google, Apple and Co. Sometimes in combination with trolls like Lodsys; David vs. Goliath … we all know it.
Until yesterday I thought that ‘we’ smaller developers would never start to act the same assholy way. But hey, you live and learn…
Syntax Control is a solid innovation, one we’ve been working on for more than four years. As with every serious design, once you have seen how it works, you can figure out cheap ways to copy it. We’ve trademarked and obtained patent pending for Syntax Control. If you want it in your text editor, you can get a license from us. It’s going to be a fair deal.
Oliver Reichenstein, (iA)
For those who can’t know: That functionality comes for free with the NSLinguisticTagger provided by Apple and already demonstrated on a WWDC.
But we shouldn’t be surprised. iA’s ‘Focus Mode’ had a ‘patent pending’ from day one. You know, the day they ‘invented’ Writer.
I was just told that their attempt (thank goodness!) got rejected.
That feature also comes for free with Cocoa/OS X and, as far as I know, I was the first to implement it in myTexts’ predecessor. It’s nothing else than a modification of what every text editor, like TextMate or BBEdit, did for years before Writer and Co: highlighting the current line.
BTW: TextMate was probably the first ‘Markdown Editor’ out there.
iA didn’t invent them! Byword for sure didn’t invent them!
Years ago I probably single-handedly ‘invented’ the plain text editor with markdown support, custom font, paragraph highlighting, custom background, full-screen and all the other things you can now find in all of the Markdown editor clones nowadays.
At least I pretend I did so :–)
It’s actually funny – or better yet – sad that I still get accused of ‘stealing’ from iAWriter and Co.
One could argue, though, that Ulysses ‘invented’ the plain text editor with full-screen. But then one could also argue that we all stole from the Terminal or the very first word processors, since they all were just plain text without a window.
And I used things I saw in many other Apps, like TextMate, like Ulysses, like WriteRoom etc.
And they used things they saw in other Apps. And in those Apps were things to be found that someone had ‘borrowed’ from other Apps; just remixed.
In-depth statistics, with readability stats, word statistics etc? Long available in myTexts and Free. And as it turns out (today) in Phraseology as well. That’s an App I’ve never heard of before.
You can bet your ass that the ‘patent worthy’ (sic!) Syntax Control can be found in an App we all never heard of before and that has been around for years now. I know of at least seven teachers that ‘colorized’ words for their students thirty years ago.
Yes, today iA announced to drop their patent pending. But why did they think about it in the first place?
They should have known better!
They did a great job with Writer. Even though they didn’t ‘invent’ shit! The complete App is a rip-off. They did an awesome job with simplifying things and they did an even better job with the marketing.
I don’t hate them for ripping-off things they have seen in other Apps. I hate myself for sucking at marketing.
I wish I were better at it. I too want to make a living. But I would never start to patent things I ‘invented’ or try to ‘license’ things that Apple ships for free – or to quote Jorge, creator of Byword, who also ‘invented’ shit:
If you’re having app problems I feel bad for you, son. I got 99 problems but a patent ain’t one.
I can also quote Marcus, creator of Ulysses, who probably really ‘invented’ some shit:
To wrap up: 12 years ago, we brought tons of new stuff to the text editing space. Our initial sketches? Collages of @bbedit screens.
Long story short:
We all want to make a living, we all are annoyed, when we see things in other Apps, we pretend to have ‘invented’.
Being an asshole is not an answer!
Being better is!
I need to get better at marketing! And iA should start getting better at ‘inventing’ things. Things that weren’t around for years and that ship for free with every Mac and iPad…