As applications try to be all things to all people, they invariably bloat, feeling like big business rather than an extension of passionate creators. Schreiben bucks the trend, resembling a personal software project. While this impacts negatively in areas, this word processor has plenty going for it.
Essentially, Schreiben is a souped-up TextEdit. It bolts a Leopard-style UI and additional features onto Apple's text engine, providing useful functionality, including a responsive live word/character count, a reasonable full-screen mode, and zoom.
The single-window workspace is streamlined, ensuring your screen doesn't get cluttered with palettes and panels. The default appearance is stylish, echoing the developer's aim of 'doing more with less', although sometimes 'more' is what's required.
The Format Bar – a row of tiny, indistinct icons that makes adding styles and formatting a frustrating experience – needs more space. The UI needs more refinement: flags to notify when interface components are active, and configuration options for Schreiben's fullscreen mode.
Finally, Schreiben needs more testing – in our copy, Snippets (saveable chunks of text and imagery usable across all documents) wouldn't save, and document autosave was irritating beyond belief, constantly prompting Save dialogs, rather than working in the background.
Schreiben's shortcomings are a pity, because if efficiency's your thing there's plenty to like – at least if you're not after a Word replacement. With a more configurable fullscreen view, Schreiben would give WriteRoom a run for its money; and if its oddities were dealt with, even Nisus Writer might run scared.
As it is, Schreiben is worthy for its tiny fee, but proved too quirky.