Embedding Scapple Within Scrivener

There are many reasons why this idea sounds great on the surface, but the underlying problem behind this idea is twofold:

  1. Embedding one program into another (not to mention one that is already quite feature-heavy) greatly increases the complexity of that program. Consider all of the menu commands in Scapple, and all of the keyboard shortcuts. Where would these go in Scrivener's user interface? They would either greatly bloat the number of menu items, or the Scapple component itself would have to be stripped so bare of any advanced features that it would lose nearly everything that makes it what it is, turning it into something more like what already exists in Scrivener, the freeform corkboard mode.
  2. Even more important, there is a fundamental disconnect between the information models these two programs use. Scrivener is founded upon a rigid outline model, where every item in the binder must have one (and only one) parent item and those items fall in a linear order. Scapple on the other hand has no concept at all of linear order or nesting. What does dragging a note up and the left mean, in terms of where that note should end up in Scrivener's outline? This is one of the things that sets Scapple apart from the more familiar "mindmapping" software, which does use a hierarchy arrangement that can be expressed as an outline. Scapple on the other hand requires no connections of notes to other notes, and can allow connections that do not produce a logical sequence, like a ring of notes linked end to end which occasionally tangentially link outside of the ring. This would be a trivial construct to create in Scapple, but it would be a "shape" that makes no sense at all to an outline based program.

In short, embedding Scapple into Scrivener would either require one or both programs to compromise their design goals, or offer such a loose interpretation of "integration" that they might as well just remain separate programs, where each can have full menu and shortcut services. Thus this request will almost certainly never come to fruition. It is worth noting that integration with Scrivener does already exist. If you drag notes from a Scapple board into a Scrivener binder (or better yet, a freeform corkboard), you'll find it does a good job of bringing your rough work into the program for continued refinement.