Future of the Skritter Legacy App?

Dear Skritter Team,

what are your plans for the good, old legacy App?
I´m afraid Apple will one day release an update which will make the old App stop working. Will you adapted it or are their any concrete plans for the future to let it die?


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Great question.

The plan is to focus on making the Skritter: Write Chinese app the best we can so if/when the Skritter Chinese app can’t be fixed for some reason we can either get everyone using the app logged in and using the Skritter: Write Chinese app, or replace the old app with the new app in the store and keep using the Skritter Chinese name. Apple has made some pretty significant changes over the last few OS updates, and we always take a deep breath when the new updates drop. In a perfect world, we’d have a full-time iOS developer who’s only job is to make awesome apps on Apple, but that isn’t in the cards at the moment. Maybe someday!

Skritter Chinese/ and Skritter Japanese apps have some brilliant bits in them, and we know they’re popular. They were a lot of fun to work on in 2012, but the framework is outdated, and there was never a good way for us to maintain and update the code, especially after Nick (co-founder and lead dev of the iOS project) left to do full-time work on Code Combat. The app also has its shortcomings, and after years of support, and user-feedback from everyone in the community we’re trying to address those holistically with the new applications and put this business into a position where it can serve all of you while also growing along the way!

You may also be interested in checking out our Release Notes for the new mobile apps. In it, you’ll find known issues, upcoming features, and all previous release notes for the current beta builds.



Are you going to let those of us devoted to the legacy app know when the new version finally incorporates all of the best features of the legacy app?

I have tried out the new version from time to time but always go back to the old app.

  • the new app is still not as efficient for long-time users. In the legacy app, I can just leap into my daily word-study and word-add routine, without the tedium of having to leave review and “study” new words, then go into back into review and practice them

  • the legacy app has sounds for each character in a word while the new app is eerily silent, and thus not as conducive to learning - so bizarre you have eliminated a key pedagogical advantage of the old app

  • I can study individual lists on the legacy app

  • mnemonics are visible for individual characters on the legacy app, not (uselessly) just for words on the new app

  • etc etc.

  • also, I am not sure if this is possible on the new app yet: can we add words to Skritter’s database via the new mobile app’s list-making yet? I do so multiple times a week via the legacy app.

You have promised a number of times to (eventually) make sure the new app incorporates the best features of the old app.

Will you make some kind of an announcement so that we all know when it’s finally safe to switch?


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We’ll keep posting release notes as we make updates to the app. We’re not looking at Skritter in terms of old app vs. new app, but rather working toward building a unified experience that helps people learn Chinese and Japanese on a variety of platforms and devices.

We still offer a variety of applications and we’ll support them for as long as it makes sense for the company to do so. We’re just trying to be being pragmatic along the way. Eventually, the apps that we didn’t write will probably break, and the reality is that we might not be able to fix them.

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I agree with thierbackagain, I like the look and feel of the real app better than the beta. Before 3.3.5 I couldn’t even use the new app. The real app lets me mash the plus sign add 20 new words and go, I have to go to a whole new section and press 20 times to get the same effect in the new app.

From a business point of view if you put out something like 3.3.5 which has more features but less elegance, I’m not sure subscribers will put up with it. For about $30 one can make Pleco do pretty much everything Skritter does, and I don’t need to hit the Pleco link to hear the how the word should be pronounced and they have male and female voices for every word.

Pleco has a really important learning feature that I don’t think Skritter has. When you are done with a test you can set it to give you the words you missed over again until you get them all correct and then it takes you out. That feature improves my learning efficiency a lot

Actually as a learning tool I use Pleco, I use Skritter for maintaining what I learned. That is where Skritter is better so you really have to make the review function as robust as possible.

I think the learn and test modes are a good try, but way short of Pleco.

I think the look and feel matters. The real Skritter has wood background and maroon headers and it’s very calming. The new app has bright white and either harsh blue or harsh purple headers.

Still 3.3.5 is way better than 3.3.4 so Skritter is moving in the right direction.

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@Handele I appreciate all the feedback, and I’m glad to hear you think things are moving in the right direction. We’ll keep pushing out updates!

This functionality is most certainly on our list. We agree that it is precious for focused study!

Bulk adding is on the list of things to implement and should make things a lot quicker for those of you not looking to dig into each individual word (if you’re learning them elsewhere, for example).

In the new app I would like to add user selectable functionality to the review mode as follows

During a review session after every (user input; ##) cards reviewed repeat all incorrect cards from the previous (user input; xx) cards reviewed until (user input; I get each card right; have reviewed each card # times).

There should be an on off toggle switch for this feature.

During a review session after every (user input; ##) cards reviewed repeat all incorrect cards from the previous (user input; xx)

You can already do this! When you review, set a fixed number of items to review. When you get something wrong, it will become due again immediately, which means it will appear first in the next study session (unless you’re in continuous study mode), so after you finish the number of reviews you set, just start another session and go through those you missed in your previous session. I’m not sure what you mean by having both ## and xx here, which are presumably different numbers? Like, why would you want to study 50 cards, but only review those you got wrong from the previous 25? It seems that you’d always want to review those you got wrong, regardless of how many cards ago you got them wrong.

cards reviewed until (user input; I get each card right; have reviewed each card # times).

I’m not sure it’s a good idea to review many times in a row something you got wrong, so there’s little use for a function that allows you to set how many times you’ll see it. Instead, study it properly once and then let the review spacing take care of when you review it next!

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I’ve read that memory works with repetition but is most solid as a daily practice, so the algorithm Skritter uses for spaced repetition is more effective over the longer run than intensive study over a short period on the same day. It seems the mind pays attention to things that are done repetitively, both immediate and long term, but for longer-term memory our faculties rely on 24-hour cycles.

Personally I’ve put my faith in the algorithm for many years now and it’s done me a solid. For specific purposes, though, like study for an upcoming test, it’s useful to have the new app’s test modes to make sure you are covering every word on a specific list.