Software Spotlight: The Search for Writing Software – Part 1

As stated in yesterday’s blog post about Dimenxia and the Overneath Project, I am on the hunt for a good software research and collection tool for organizing all of my data in one neat and tidy location.

Up to this point, I’ve been using various tools to get the job done:

Though these tools do get the job done, I want a one-stop-shop where I can house all of my information, create new stuff, and easily keep everything organized.

The market for writing software is flooded with all kinds of expensive, probably terrible software. Admittedly, my adventures have only taken me as far as a Google search for these software products.

I’d like to lay out a few key observations for me in this ongoing search to find the one tool to rule them all.

  1. Cross Platform – I absolutely need to be able to use the software on whatever computer I am sitting at, regardless if it is a Mac, Windows PC or Linux box.
  2. Price – Free is always best.
  3. Web-based Storage – I need to have access to all of my data wherever I might go that has an internet connection.
  4. Full Featured – I need the product to be able to handle timelines, storyboards, outlines and chapter snippets.

Let’s talk about these requirements for a minute.

Cross Platform
On a daily basis, I use all three major platforms for various reasons. While I am at school, I am limited to Windows. While at home, I use Mac laptops, and my desk has an Ubuntu box and a Mac Mini that I use in tandem.

It is extremely important, therefore, that the tool that I decide upon have no ties to a specific platform.

Price
A professional writer would not have to worry about the price of the tools they use, as long as they get the job done. Being just a student with a very small income, though, this limits the amount I am able to spend on such a product.

In my experience, price is not always an indication of quality. Sure, you pay a bit more for a Mac, and you get great quality and stability, but you pay almost as much for a PC with Windows, and what do you get with that? Whereas, you buy a PC and put Linux on it, and not only do you get a host of free software options, but they are generally of great quality, and are updated on a constant basis by the community.

A free software product to organize all of my thoughts and writings is almost the top priority in my search.

Web-based Storage
This is yet another deal breaker. I need to be able to not only use the tool on every computer I use, but I need to access my materials anywhere I choose to work with the least amount of hassle.

Sure, I could tote around a flash drive with me, or setup my development server to keep all of my materials in one place, but that’s more work than I think should go into it.

Full Featured
I have been using a variety of tools up until this point, and I want to have all of the features that I’ve been using in one solid product that fits all of these criteria.

These criteria combined seem to point the way to a web-based application. I am far from completing my search, but it seems to me that there should be a Web-2.0 class application to fill all of these needs. I hope that I can do enough research on this subject so that I can shorten the search for other people, and point them to a great product.