[Bad] Tips for collaboration and Question to Dev team

Dear all

Just wanting to share a nice process we found with one of my students for correcting his Mater’s thesis on Scrivener :slight_smile: Plus we ran into a curious phenomenon regarding this so I figured I may as well ask here :slight_smile:

So here is the thing :

1 . We use only in line annotations and in line footnotes.
2 . We use Dropbox for its collaboration features. While he’s working on his Scrivener project I can see the RTF files from {Scrivener>files>docs} updating with autosave.
3 . I click on them in the Dropbox pop up to find them quickly and open them.
4 . As Scriven seems to use a La TeX-like code for working in-line annotations and footnotes, I can see the code in the RTF format. So I copied and pasted it in a .txt file for later use.
5 . When I want to make a correction I copy and paste the code in which I added « ## » in the beginning of the annotation. It then looks like this before I write my annotation : {\Scrv_annot \color={\R=1.000000\G=0.000000\B=0.000000} \text=##This is my in-line annotation\end_Scrv_annot}
6 . In his Scrivener project, my student created a « search collection » working with « ## ». Those work as a beacon. So he can check the corrections by displaying the « ## » collection which will update automatically when a new « ## » is found.
7 . Scrivener seemed at first to be able to update any file that’s not displayed in the editor while I make corrections, thus my student could edit a document while I was correcting another one, then display the latter and find my in-line annotations in it ! But it worked only once, after that we had to close Scrivener and open it again in order to update the files in it. However it’s not a big deal as Dropbox tells you « the file has been updated » so you know you have to close and open in order to update. But it’s curious it worked once and then no more ! If you have an idea, please tell me about it I’d be very interrested :slight_smile:
8 . Then my student deletes « ## » when he makes his adaptations, then he selects the annotation, then CTRL+SHIT+A to turn it into text again : the correction has been processed.
9 . As the « ## » were deleted, the document doesn’t appear anymore in the search collection. I can use my CTRL+V to put the in-line annotation code anytime I want to suggest corrections.

So this is TERRIFIC !! We can virtually collaborate on a Scrivener project ! However we have to do some work-around.

The question is : do you know why Scrivener would have manage to update once while it’s running, and then no more ?

I would very much like Scrivener to handle collaboration, but while waiting this I will do the trick :wink: An who knows, this trick may give some ideas :slight_smile:

Hope it’s of some help !

Best regards

[size=150]EDIT : I inserted the [Bad] tag in the title so no-one would miss the risky part of this ![/size]

As nifty as all of that seems to be, you are strongly advised not to work that way! The Scrivener project format is indeed composed of many easy to edit and read files (this is intentional as a form of ultimate failsafe, should one lose their copy of Scrivener they would not lose their work—it is not an invitation to edit those files directly). This is not advisable even while the project is closed, but there is a high risk of losing work if done while the project is open; worse case the project could become corrupted and require repair.

There are several big problems here:

  1. This one you have noticed already: when your student loads a section you have edited by hand with an RTF editor it goes from being purely on the disk to being held in memory on their computer. It works this way firstly for reasons of economy (loading every single file into memory would potentially drain the computer of all its resources) and secondly for performance (only using the disk instead of memory would make Scrivener very slow for some of its functions. This is why they may see your edits once, but after that point they will not see any edits you make—and worse, any edits you make can likely be discarded since the copy in memory will not match what is on the disk any more.
  2. As they work in Scrivener, it modifies its internal support files in accordance with their edits. The edits you are making on the other hand are not being considered by the software and thus their copy is gradually getting out of sync with itself. To fix this they will want to reload the project and then use the Tools menu to rebuild the search indexes.

Scrivener projects should only be edited by Scrivener, unless one is in a data recovery situation and messing with its internal files is necessary—at that point we can assume Scrivener won’t be opening the project any more however.

What I would suggest you have your student do is take a look at the File/Sync/with External Folder menu command. They can point this folder at Dropbox and it will produce a list of neatly named RTF files that you can read and edited by you. When they want to bring your edits in, they can use the sync command in Scrivener to do so. This puts all of the work you are currently doing manually into Scrivener’s hands, where it will know how to update internal files accordingly and attempt to resolve any conflicts (rather than simply overwriting conflicts blindly). This feature also builds a collection of updated documents whenever syncing, so they can easily review only those files that were changed by you.

By the way if you put your comments in double-parentheses ((like so)), and they have the option to convert brackets to inline annotations and footnotes in their Import/Export settings, then the parentheses will be converted to inline annotations automatically for them. Footnotes are inserted with {{curly brackets}}.

You would still want to be careful to not edit the same items between syncs. They should be working on some files while you are editing others.

All around this should be easier for you because you can work with nicely named files instead of 231.rtf and so forth. Plus you can much more easily insert annotations without having to “hack” Scrivener’s internal coding for them.

Waww I couldn’t have imagine this ! Thanks for the explanation ! I’d have feel very very bad if my student had his thesis corrupted !

Ok, so we’ll try the external folder thing… my bad, I could have checked the user manual before doing this ^^

Thanks again