Export *to* Scrivener


I have an old portable PalmOS device which I do a lot of my writing on. I’m trying to write a conversion routine so I can, from files on that device, create a Scrivener project for my Windows PC.

Going the other way (reading a Scrivener project on a Windows PC to create files on my portable device) seems straightforward: I can read the .scrivx XML file and that tells me the file tree structure, with IDs linking the nodes to the .rtf files in the Scrivener project.

But creating a Scrivener project appears to be another story. I’ve created the .scrivx XML file and placed .rtf files with the corresponding IDs into the right folder, but Scrivener doesn’t want to open the project. It will only open the project if I create the file [ScrivenerProject]/Files/binder.backup (by copying it from an unrelated Scrivener project).

This suggests to me that the binder structure is not stored only in the XML file, but ALSO the binder.backup file. Sure enough when it allows me to open up the project, I see the binder structure from the binder.backup file, not the .scrivx file.

Unfortunately the binder.backup file doesn’t appear to be human readable so I don’t think I can create it as part of my conversion routine.

Is there a way to persuade Scrivener to open the project without the need for the binder.backup file?

Thanks in advance!

Hopefully I was mistaken.

I’ve just created a project in Scrivener, then removed its binder.backup file, and it still opens fine when I double click the project XML file.

So perhaps I just need to check my XML file carefully and see if there’s anything I need to fix!

You, obviously, like to play with fire. What you do is an excellent way to lose your work.

Perhaps it would make more sense to look into Scrivener’s “Sync with external folder” functionality. Usually, the files originate from within Scrivener and then you edit them one at a time with some standard word processor, but in theory, however you’re getting your old device to share its files with your computer, you could just add files from PalmOS or replace existing ones to sync.

How did you come to that assessment?

Certainly one needs to be careful, but I think it’s more likely to decrease my chances of losing work. Every time I convert in either direction, I am creating a new backup store of the project on the portable device and of the Scrivener project.

So far the routine has even helped with an issue - the one where Scrivener opens up an RTF file that it didn’t create, and often has black text highlighted black, so you can’t see it. Several people have reported this, and I get it a lot. I’m not sure why that happens, but it doesn’t fill me with confidence that file round-trips can be handled well. I’m therefore cleaning the RTF to make it very simple before creating the Scrivener project, and it works nicely so far.

Yes, thank you. I did consider that.

Really though I’d like something a bit more sophisticated, where I can see and even manipulate the project structure on the portable device. It will mean I can’t have full access to all of Scrivener’s features, but so far in my experiments I think I can do something which will give me all I want: the document structure, keywords, custom meta data and labels.

I won’t be able to have images and pdfs (for research) on the portable device, but I believe I’ve found a way whereby I can see such files while working in Scrivener, and just not see them when I’m on the portable device, while the integrity of the document in which they are linked (not embedded) is preserved.

I forgot to say that I have fixed this problem and it was of course my fault - I had, brilliantly, made the very first tag in the XML an auto-closing one i.e. <ScrivenerProject … />

Full marks to Scrivener, by the way: if you just create the XML file in the root folder and some rtf files in the /files/docs folder, when you first launch it, it works out the rest and creates all the necessary files.