importing .xml files? or converting them?

Hey, I haven’t been using Scrivener very long (won a discount code last NaNoWriMo) but already I love it. One question: I use an app on my iPad called A Novel Idea and it has the ability to link with Dropbox, which I thought was great, I hoped I could import its files from Dropbox into Scrivener. Trouble is, ANI’s files are .xml format. Is there a way to make Scrivener read them? Or a way to convert them into something that Scrivener can read? I use ANI quite a bit for those “lightbulb” moments and I’d hate to think all the stuff I have saved in there is just stuck. Thanks much!

I’m not sure that Scrivener has any way to natively read xml files, but you could install Notepad++ as a go-between, which will open the xml file and allow you to save it as a plain-text file, which you could then import into Scrivener. Or even just open it in Notepad++ and copy and paste into Scrivener. Not as pretty as a native xml import, but it should work.

Is there really no way to export data out of their software, not even through e-mail as is common with iOS apps? Might be worth sending them a message and verifying that is the case.

But if you are stuck with just that, XML already is plain-text. All you need to do is change the file extension on a copy to “.txt” and drop it into the Binder. However, you may find that it works better to open the XML file in a web browser and copy and paste the bits you want from there, since special characters in XML must be encoded, and a web browser will decode them for you, turning the codes back into ”“åé type characters. Maybe Notepad++ has a way of dealing with that too (many coding editors do), but it takes more than Save As, as any rate.

Either way, I’m not sure what a “native” XML import would look like (other than what you see in a web browser). XML is more like a set of rules for how a programmer can make up a storage format. The particulars of that storage format, such as how things are arranged into elements, and how the data itself is encoded, is up to the implementation. The best you can do, without extensive knowledge of the format implementation, is a raw dump—which is what you’ll get by opening it in a browser, or changing the extension to .txt and importing it directly. Fortunately many XML formats are human readable (such as the ones Scrivener itself uses to glue your project together). If the developers of ANI are not of the same mindset, that their storage files should be human accessible, it may be a huge mess and impossible to work without outside of ANI.