Since the launch of the Highland public beta last week, we’ve gotten great feedback. Thank you to our second-wave testers.

I’m particularly happy with how our report card system is working. By gathering the information in one place, we’ve been able to see some clear patterns.

Not everyone is using Lion.

We built and tested Highland on Mac OS X Lion (10.7), but a lot of Mac users are still on Snow Leopard (10.6). They’re getting crashes and odd behavior. That’s not okay.

We have two choices:

  1. Go back and figure out support for Snow Leopard, or
  2. Draw the line at Lion and get ready for Mountain Lion (10.8).

There are a few unannounced features we have planned for Highland that make sticking with Lion very appealing, but we haven’t decided yet.

One thing we know for certain: since we’re planning on selling the app through the Mac App Store, 10.6 is the earliest OS we can support.

Honest question: Why aren’t people upgrading to Lion? Are you holding on to some piece of software that will otherwise break?

People actually use Celtx.

Several users filed report cards noting that PDFs created by Celtx weren’t importing properly, with wordsrunningtogetherlikethis. We should be able to take care of this issue. I’m just noting it because I have no real sense what percentage of the screenwriting software market Celtx (or the other apps) actually have.

Windows users want theirs.

Many screenwriters use Windows. Unfortunately, the work we’ve done for the Mac version doesn’t translate very well to the PC. I don’t think you’ll ever see a PC version of Highland.

Fountain, however, is open-source and platform-agnostic. My hope is that we’ll see many screenwriting utilities for Windows, Linux and other operating systems.

Preview is working better than Export.

Many users are finding that Highland’s Preview shows what they expect, but the .fdx or .pdf has issues. We’ll make that a focus on upcoming releases.

Good news is useful, too.

We obviously need to hear when things go wrong, but it’s nice to know when things go right:

Just about perfect. Not all the title page elements imported under the correct key identifier and centered text didn’t import as centered, but everything else was spot on.

Mixed news is also helpful:

Looks great overall. Conversion from PDF is great. Unfortunately, a few of the “–Day” and “– Night”s got sent to the next line as action and not scene headings. A few parentheticals also stayed in dialog when it was after a few words and not directly after a character name.

It’s also reassuring when users seem to grok the underlying potential:

I’m not sure exactly why I’m so excited about Highland, but I am. It most likely stems from the fact I dislike most screenwriting apps and have grown fond of writing in the Fountain format.

My hope is that Highland will help close the loop for screenwriters who want to work in Fountain, letting any text editor do just enough.

We hope to get new Highland betas out frequently. They won’t all be wonderful. Things will break as they get better. But with ongoing feedback, I think we’ll end up with something terrific.