iPhone/iTouch access without giving data to third party

I know there’s no current plans to allow for a scrivener iPhone/iTouch app, but just wanted to throw in my 2 cents on the WriteRoom functionality, and why I’m not going to be able to use it.

In addition to using Scrivener for personal writing, I also use it to author documents and reports for my company (very large IT organization, with several thousand mac users). I’d really like to be able to take notes when talking with a client (at lunch for example), and then sync them to Scrivener, however our company policies prohibit syncing, routing, or storing data on third-party servers (since much of the information is confidential).

Part of my role is as a security architect, so I completely agree with this policy - especially where there’s not a clear contract in place between organizations. The general TOS for cloud applications (e.g. Google’s, MobileMe, etc), don’t provide adequate legal protection.

Likewise, even for my personal authoring, I won’t share unpublished work with a third party and risk that being appropriated by a malicious employee, without some level of recourse.

We had a similar issue with the original iPhone/iTouch sync for OmniFocus - it required a third-party. Now they offer a direct wi-fi sync, which eliminates the issue.

So that’s my 2 cents as to why I’d like to see some other means of syncing notes that goes direct between the device and Scrivener, without putting data out on the cloud.



P.S. To head off an inevitable comment, yes, the lack of encryption on the device is also an issue. However, we have levels of confidentiality, some of which can be sync’d to the iPod, and some can’t. No confidential data can be placed on a third-party cloud.

If you only need notes, then why not use the iPhone/iPod notes app? You can copy paste from mail to scriv.

I completely understand and agree with your security assessment. One thing that you do not mention is the lack of “full encryption” on the iPhone platform. A suggestion has been made near me that phones my be susceptible to straight data retrieval and should be image encrypted in a manner similar to laptop disks. RIM offers an option but I have not seen any papers about it.

I’ve played with that, but between the horrible font, and the yellow background, it’s a fairly nasty UI.

And of course, the sync requires an upgrade to the latest software (which not everyone has done due to compatibility issues).

As far as full encryption - yep, that’s what I was alluding to in the PS. The iPhone certainly isn’t remotely secure against a sophisticated attacker. My ideal app would incorporate encryption of the local database (like 1Password does) on the phone itself.


The new version of WriteRoom for the iPhone also allows you to sync not only with simpletext.ws or writeroom.ws but also with your own site. Jesse has basically made the necessary Python code open-source, so that you can self-host:


The next update to Scrivener will allow you to choose the sync location, so if you if self-hosting is an option, this could be a solution.

Anything else is unlikely, I’m afraid, as networking and sync’ing is a whole new ball game and a mess of code in itself, and I have no plans to start heading down that road before 2.0.

Thanks and all the best,

WriteRoom has the option of using Wi-fi to share documents on your local network. You couldn’t import files directly into Scrivener, but it would avoid the off-site sync.