Instead of mobile apps, just allow editing RTF

Hi, and thanks for creating Scrivener. I haven’t used it for long, but it’s impressive how closely it matches the tool I imagined before I even knew it existed, and I’m using the Linux beta, which I’m sure is nowhere near as nice as the Mac or Windows versions.

It’s nice to use a product where I don’t have to worry about it becoming horribly bloated or being developed at an unsustainable speed, as is true for so many software packages. That being said, I do have one suggestion for the future of scrivener, which I realize would be a difficult undertaking, but it might be easier than developing iOS and Android apps and keeping them up to date. My suggestion is to remake the structure of how Scrivener reads files so that the RTF files would be useful and editable in other programs. I’ve only been using Scrivener for a short time, and already the numbered files are way too much to keep track of, and it’s a pain to open the search xml doc and look up what’s what. I’ve seen other programs do basically the same thing (Unity 3D for example) where files are kept as useful and editable in the filesystem and simply read into the project.

I of course don’t know how your code is set up, and this would probably be a huge undertaking since it would fundamentally change how the program handles files, but I thought I’d put in my 2 cents, since I’m sure I’m not the only person who thinks this (especially given how much I agree with the direction you’ve taken Scrivener so far, my needs clearly aren’t totaly different from other writers’) I know I told you I’m only using the free linux beta, so not much leverage here. But I am considering purchasing the windows version and would go from considering purchasing to purchasing if this change were going to happen in the foreseeable future (or any other change that would allow me to edit my work smoothly on Android). As it is, I’m concerned that I’ll have to find another solution so I can work on Android devices.

Sorry for the long and probably impossible suggestion, and thanks again for all the work you’ve put into Scrivener

This is what the Sync with External Folder feature is for. (Mac only at the moment, but will be coming to other platforms.)

If you really must, as a Linux user, your best non-Scrivener choice for finding things inside the Scrivener project is probably grep. We don’t recommend directly manipulating the contents of the project with any tools other than Scrivener itself, though, as you can really make your life miserable if you fail to update the .XML files that hold everything together.

And for that reason, no I wouldn’t expect to see direct access to the contents of the project any time soon. We would have to be prepared to help people recover from whatever mangling the combination of misguided software and non-technical users managed to create. That’s hard enough now, when only a small number of relatively knowledgeable users even attempt the feat.


PS Note that I do not speak for the development team, who may have more confidence in the user base than I do. Or may have less.

PPS I believe a native Android version is on the list for after the iOS version release. But, again, I do not speak for the development team.

I use the “sync to external folder” feature, and it is pretty seamless to then edit in Textilus on the iPad. Textilus uses RTF files. Edits in either place propogate back and forth. (My structure is already in place, so my edits are just to scene contents).

Katherine, thanks for the reply. I’ll hope for the “sync to external” feature to be added to the Windows and/or Linux versions and for an Android app before too long, although I realize these things take time.

And don’t worry, I’ll take full responsibility for anything I break editing individual files and clean up the mess myself. The RTF files themselves should be safe to edit (as long as I don’t rename them) and that’s all I was planning on editing. You’re probably right though that the user base is not as technologically savvy as I’m thinking. I tend to work with complex software so sometimes I forget how long it takes to get used to these things.

cyberskier, that does sound like a convenient setup. Not good enough to make me buy a Mac and an iPad though. I’ll just hope that they add that feature to other platforms soon. Just want to clarify one thing; you still can’t create new scene rtf files on the iPad without then manually importing them to Scrivener, right? Thanks!

I’m not 100 percent sure how Textilus works. I do know, that syncing with e.g. WriteRoom (old and abandoned but still the best) or other simple text editors between iPad and Mac, a new file created in the relevant folder on the iPad automatically will synch with the relevant Scrivener project on my Mac. I guess it would be the same with Textilus.

Interesting. Sounds like the “sync to external” option is exactly what I want then (although I’d still prefer if the project itself were editable so I didn’t have to have it in multiple places on my harddrive). I guess now I just have to wait for the feature to be added to the Linux and Windows versions. Hopefully won’t be too long. Thanks, matsgz!