If there’s one thing that I absolutely couldn’t have foreseen 4 years ago, it is the enormous success of what the then just released Papers public preview would become. I still remember sending the first test version to Tom asking, “Do you think people will find it useful?”. Now, after 1.5 million downloads, someone, somewhere in the world, double-clicks the familiar red Papers icon every 5 seconds, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, to organize his or her personal library of research.
Therefore, we couldn’t be more thrilled to finally announce the imminent arrival of Papers2, which we believe will take the program to a whole new level. To speak in Steve Jobs’ terms, this all-new version of Papers comes with no less than 21 “tentpole features”, which we will reveal over the course of the next three weeks towards the release on March 8th.
Despite all the new bling, we believe the program still feels instantly familiar to those already using Papers. We tried very hard to prevent making the program more complex, while still adding loads of new features. We achieved quite the opposite in fact, we think that in many ways the program is easier to learn and use.
So finally we’re returning to our true love, Papers for Mac. What took you so long?!
To some it might have seen that we had abandoned the Mac, that we were more focused on Papers for iPhone and, more recently, Papers for iPad. Some even started mentioning Duke Nukem, and that we lost interest in the Mac. But nothing could be further from the truth. For the last 2 years we’ve been working day and night on Papers2 for Mac, it was just that we had taken on a monumental task, certainly considering Mekentosj was a one-man-band up until only one and a half year ago. That’s not necessarily bad though. Having personally answered each and every email we received (see below what that means), there wasn’t a single pixel, feature or checkbox of which I wasn’t aware what people liked or disliked, what they wanted to see added or improved. And one thing quickly became clear, to get to the next level, we had to start from scratch.
When I originally wrote Papers in between PhD and postdoc I wrote it with the PhD student in mind that I had been in the recent years leading up to developing the program; a cell biologist dealing with an overkill of journal articles found though PubMed. This is how we designed the program, a world ruled by articles and journals, what else would you possibly need?
As Papers became rapidly more popular I realized how wrong I was, and how many professionals found a use for Papers. And so we started extending the application on a foundation that was never meant to support other types of documents, other search engines, etc. After 2 years it started to slow us down and worse, it started to cause bugs and issues that were hard to resolve. With Papers2 we wanted to change all of that, but it meant we had to start from scratch. We now support 85+ different types of documents, but more importantly, we now have a foundation that allows us to rapidly add more features in the coming months. Will Papers2 contain everything you asked for? I’m pretty sure it won’t, we had to restrain ourselves and stop somewhere, but you’ll see us add new features at a rate not seen before.
Perhaps as exciting as the upcoming Papers2 for Mac update, is the fact that in many ways March 8th could also be considered the launch date of Mekentosj 2.0. Things have grown over the past 4 years from a fresh graduate scratching his own itch, to postdoc quitting early to start a full time one-man-band, to what is now a small but thriving independent software company with 6 people working from 4 different continents.
And as Papers has gone to the next level, so has Mekentosj. Having to do everything yourself doesn’t scale, and with at least 100 emails ending up in your inbox every day, that quickly becomes painfully clear. Fortunately, over the last one and a half year we saw the addition of some of the most talented team members, and everything we do at Mekentosj has become a team effort, including dealing with support emails (we still answer each individual email personally though!). Today’s announcement is the first publicly visible result of a great team at work, it’s been an absolute pleasure to finally get to the point where we can start showing you what the new Mekentosj can do.
Over the course of the next three weeks we’ll be revealing a new feature every day, be sure to check back regularly to have a sneak peek at what’s coming on March 8th. In addition you can expect a new series of posts here about some of the design philosophies and features in Papers2, behind the scenes on the way we work and what you can expect from us in the future.
We’ve come a long way, and it has been an amazing ride thus far, but it’s only the beginning. We are excited to have you on board as we continue to move forward.
Thank you for supporting Papers!