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Time flies… Papers2 1st anniversary!

Time flies when you’re having fun they say. I just cannot believe it is 1 year ago already that we launched Papers2 for Mac on the 8th of March 2011. And what a ride it has been since!

In hindsight, and after having been fortunate to have had that experience as well last year, I often tell people that the launch of Papers2 was just like getting a baby. You think that all the work towards the due date is the hard bit, but you quickly discover that the hard work only starts when the baby is out. And the same was true for Papers2, we worked day and night for over 2 years towards the release, but after that 8th of March the hard work really started.

We were ecstatic with the enthusiastic reactions and excitement of our users, and so happy to finally being able to show everybody what we had been cooking. But there was also the dark side of features still missing from Papers1, changes we made that not everybody liked, bugs and crashes we had missed, etc. We got swamped with feedback and comments, and the next 10 months resembled what can perhaps be best described as white water rafting: we knew we could not change the wild ride we were in, but we did know that we needed to paddle as hard as possible to improve the shortcomings and give it our everything to make all users happy. Over the last year we have delivered a total of 18 (!) updates, and addressed many of the initial problems and missing features [1]. And like after a successful white water rafting experience, it does feel awesome to look back and see where we have come from and the fun it has been.

Completely rewriting an app that is loved by so many users is hard, changing things because you feel it can be done better is risky. Did we make the right judgement? Were people not too used to the way it worked before? Did we pick the right technology? Which big new features should we have focussed on? Some of the decisions worked out really well, for example Magic Manuscripts, the revolutionary new way of citing articles, or the support for many new document types, but others we missed. A good example is the blue tokens to search your favorite repositories. I wrote this feature originally for Paper1 because I always thought that searching should work this way instead of using cryptic tags and codes. And while people seemed to like it, they rarely mentioned this very explicitly in their feedback. So we decided that the blue tokens could be delayed till after the 2.0 and we didn’t expect too many complaints. Boy were we wrong!

With the return of many of the missing parts in Papers 2.1 last december we finally arrived in calmer waters. That is not to say that we’re all done with bringing back missing Papers1 features or fixing bugs, but the time has arrived that we can start looking forward and also focus on adding those features that the new foundation of Papers2 will finally allow us to [2].

To end with a phrase stolen from Apple’s new iPad event yesterday: there’s a lot to look forward to this year.

On behalf of everybody here at Mekentosj.com, many thanks for your enthusiasm and excitement, critical feedback, great suggestions, helpful reports, necessary patience, but above all your relentless support!

Enjoy Papers!

~ Alex

PS. If you want to hear more about Papers, the ideas, the future, etc. Checkout this recent interview at literature review HQ.

[1] And not to forget, released a Windows version of Papers!

[2] If you would like us to build the next set of revolutionary features in Papers, we’re looking for talented Cocoa developers, make sure to contact us!

Posted on Thursday, March 8th, 2012.

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