Co-authoring

A colleague and I are looking at writing another book together, using Scrivener (iOS and Mac). We each have our own Dropbox accounts. We don’t really want to share all our writings and certainly not our other Dropbox files.

Suggestions for good ways to co-author with Scrivener, please?

I’m looking forward to useful answers to this important question. I can only provide a warning about what NOT to do: have one author (me) using Scrivener and the other using MS Word. As we finished up our book last year, I tried to persuade my coauthor to come over from the dark side, but he wouldn’t, resulting in a time consuming sequence of formatting glitches (particularly involving footnotes, IIRC) produced by the fact that I had to use Pages as an intermediary. You’ve already made the best decision: both use Scrivener! Good luck.

One of the points of using Dropbox has always been to share specific folders, for collaboration. Use the web interface and invite your colleague to share only the folder where you have your project.

Make sure you’re not editing the project simultaneously. Dropbox prevents you from editing the same file but does’t monitor the whole folder/package.

Yes … but don’t all my scrivener docs that i share between my own mac and iOs versions have to be in the same folder? So doesn’t that give him access to all my projects?

Yes. But you could have the shared document in a subfolder, under the synced folder. The project would then show up just as before on your iDevice, but your co-author would only see what’s in the subfolder.

ah @lunk, that’s something i hadn’t thought of. haven’t tried subfolders but if they work with dropbox sharing that could do it. must try it i guess, not sure how much folder control one has. had the impression Scriv iOS only knows one place to put things …

The problems with sub-folders are that your collaborator will be forced to use that as his only linked folder. There isn’t an ideal solution really (this is a Dropbox limitation)…

I don’t quite know how symbolic links share across multiple dropbox accounts, but symbolic links are a potential solution that gives you flexibility with your Scrivener folder, meaning you both keep all your scrivener projects and associated files in other places of your dropbox, sym-linking only those projects you are actively working on in the shared dropbox folder? This works brilliantly for iOS⬄macOS but I don’t know how sharing the sym-link across two dropbox accounts works, something to investigate…

EDIT: replace soft with symbolic!

If “soft links” = “symbolic links”, then see:

Mark

… but this assumes that the co-author will use iOS Scrivener. It it is Mac or Win Scrivener it’s not a problem.

@RonJeffries - yes, iOS Scrivener only knows one folder, but it handles everything within that folder, including subfolders. I have tested and Keith has confirmed it. iOS Scriv will make a list of all projects it finds within the designated Dropbox folder irrespective of at which sub-level they reside.

@lunk: so … i can’t put it there from iOS … can i open a project in a subfolder? i’m not seeing the steps to make this happen.

as for “soft” folders, i’ve had trouble with them in dropbox across macs and gave up using them, but don’t remember details. maybe. sounds iffy tho …

It has to be in the sub-folders first, so you have to create the sub-folder on your Mac and move the project in there, but once it’s there iOS Scrivener will treat it as any project.

I have a shared folder in my dropbox apps/scrivener folder. i have a new project, synched into dropbox, which shows at the top of apps/scrivener.

dare i use dropbox to move it down? i’m afraid that will destroy the world …

Why not make a copy to somewhere else first, using ‘Save as’, and then move it in Finder?

because i am in iOS, and because i suspect Scrivener may have indexes or such in the apps/scriv folder, and because i KNOW it has a private copy somewhere, with info about where it is in dropbox, and synchs to dropbox only on demand, so i suspect moving a file out from under it will cause trouble. how much trouble, i’m inclined to leave to someone else to find out :slight_smile:

You don’t have a Mac?

I am currently working on a book manuscript, final stages, and two days ago I decided to strip the project by removing all research documents and emptying the project Trash, and then save under a new name from the Mac. Having done that for both projects (different languages) I went to Finder and moved both original files out of the sync folder, and then opened Scrivener on my iPad. It took some time to sync the new projects, but the old ones (which I had moved away) disappeared without problem.

The keyblies in letting all updating to the Dropbox server finish.

i have a mac. the point of Scriv iOS is i don’t have to carry it with me. So I can do whatever when I get home, since I am concerned that doing ti via iOS will be dangerous. I’ll try when I’m on a Mac and see what happens …

I think you have to prepare it on the Mac

yes seems less likely to do harm :slight_smile:

Mark: yes I meant symbolic links, sorry for the brainfart (linked to the fact normal links are “hard” by default). Ron, I’ve used symbolic links but I recently have read that although symlinks from outside of dropbox resolve and are maintained well, symlinks to content within dropbox (my usecase to have only scriv projects in the scrivener folder without having to redo my whole writing folder hierarchy), is not sp reliable (at least it wasn’t in 2013):

paulingraham.com/dropbox-and-symlinks.html

I’ll keep using them (good separate backups and dropbox is a champ at recovering data in emergencies), but it may not be in general recommended (and Mark’s use-case of having TWO sync services makes this even more complex)…