Exporting: implement Scrivener links

Would it be possible to implement links between one entry and another when exporting files? Currently these appear as plain text, and the link is dropped. I don’t know if this would be possible using relative paths (e.g. “…/siblingFolder/document.rtf” so the Mac’s filing system could honor the links? Just a thought!

If you are exporting as plain text, it would literally be impossible to retain the links. There is no such protocol in the UTF-8 format. It’s simply what you see is what you get. All characters are printed (though some are printed in visual ways, like a tab).

Besides, there are conceptual problems with this idea. When you compile out of Scrivener, all of the files end up in a single text file, or a single RTF file, or a single DOC file. One, as already stated, doesn’t support links at all, and RTF does not support single-document linking that I know of. DOC might, but Scrivener doesn’t have access to the full Microsoft specification anyway. So what would these links point to?

There are problems when exporting multiple files (instead of compiling). I don’t believe there is a standard method for linking, let alone to file resources, amongst Mac applications. That is why all of these programs that sport internal linking do nothing with the links when you export resources out of it. This of course doesn’t even get into the problem of where the file is located. Unless you export your files directly to the location in which you will always keep them, links are only as durable as the positioning of the file.

I once wrote a long piece on why software links are a bad idea for anything you need beyond the application’s walls. If a link is important: Either come up with some way to express it textually, or use an existing syntax like MMD to accomplish linking. Everything else is very likely data suicide. The easiest way is to create a footnote and then reference the URI or document title manually in text. You can always augment this by turning it into a link in Scrivener. This is nearly precisely what I do. I create an MMD link use the link text format, and then select the “link text” and turn that into a Scrivener link. Best of both worlds. I have a link that will always work no matter what happens to the file, and I have a convenient link that works in Scrivener.