Footnotes deleted when syncing back from Simplenote

I just tried to sync a simple one document project with Simplenote. The document was one sentence with a footnote. As expected, the footnote did not show up in Simplenote, however, I assumed it was retained (just not visible). I edited the file, adding a second sentence, then synced back to Scrivener. The existing footnote was now gone. In addition, Scrivener did not take a snapshot of the document (even though I specified this in the sync prefs). Had this been a real-world writing scenario, I would have lost all my footnotes in the sync process. As a result, the ability to edit on the ipad is reduced to virtually nil if your document has any footnotes or comments.

Or am I missing something here…



Footnotes, comments, or really any formatting are going to be problematic with the iPad in general. It just doesn’t have support for these features since all of the editors are plain-text based. What you see on the iPad is precisely what you have—no hidden stuff possible. There is no good way around that problem—it’s a huge limitation—but that’s what you have with the iPad.

Scrivener mitigates this problem to a degree by syncing your stuff back in as carefully as possible. Paragraphs that have not been touched on the iPad will not be synced, and thus will retain their original formatting (including footnotes). Any paragraphs that have been edited though, will by necessity be coming back in as plain-text. Now in your case, the one paragraph that existed which you edited had a footnote, so it got lost—if you had edited another paragraph altogether, it wouldn’t have. So you, optimally speaking, wouldn’t have lost all your footnotes.

All of that said, I thought both comments and footnotes were retained using plain-text conventions (wrapping the comment in brackets, for instance)—so if you did see bracketed text, you could either know to avoid it, or realise that editing that paragraph will require reformatting after syncing. I haven’t tested this feature since the initial internal development/QA cycle we did months ago though, so either my memory is failing me, or something got broke along the way.

Yes, I was expecting some sort of plain text conversion convention (e.g., footnote text appearing in brackets, etc.). But there is no indication that there is any footnote or comment text present, which presents obvious problems for long and complex documents such as those generated by academics. This may be worth going back and checking, as it does seem that the functionality you mentioned (some plaintext convention) has indeed been lost.



I have since gone back and checked, and it does still appear to be working just fine. Comments are square-bracketed, and footnotes are curly-braced. It’s enough to let you know they are there, and avoid those paragraphs if at all possible… and if not, where to restore the formatting in Scrivener if need be.

Ah, I think I found the problem. Are you using the new inspector footnote feature? That seems to fail. Inline footnotes and annotations are working just fine, but inspector comments and footnotes disappear. Same rule of thumb applies: if you don’t edit the paragraphs they fall within, they won’t get lost on sync—but since there is no indication in Simplenote as to where they are, it is impossible to avoid.

Yes, there’s no really good way to include the inspector footnotes and comments in the Simplenote text without Scrivener thinking the text has been changed when you re-sync; there are too many factors to take into consideration when doing the comparisons. But remember that a snapshot is taken whenever you sync, so you can just take the snapshot for inspector footnotes and comments. Unfortunately there’s never going to be a perfect solution for going backwards and forwards between plain text and rich text - things are always going to get lost. But at least by automatically taking a snapshot, Scrivener ensures nothing important is lost permanently.

I may look at improving this in the future but it’s non-trivial given the lossy nature of rich->plain text conversions.

One potential solution might be that I could make it so that Scrivener placed an asterisk at the end of paragraphs that have comments or footnotes in them when synced to Simplenote. If you made no edits, your paragraph in Scrivener would get left alone; if you edited it, then the paragraph edits would come into Scrivener with the asterisk at the end. So that way, when you edit in Simplenote you would at least know that the paragraph has comments or footnotes associated with it by the asterisk at the end, and when you synced with Scrivener, paragraphs with asterisks after them would indicate paragraphs that have lost comments and footnotes via editing on Simplenote, and which need fixing up by going to the inspector snapshots.

Thoughts on that as a solution?


That would be better than now.