Just Someone trying to get some writing done

I have been watching this forum since Scrivener for the Mac 1.0. More recently, because I own an iPad, I have been following the progress of SIOS. I took the plunge, made the purchase, and experimented with syncing, using both Drop Box and iTunes. I am no expert in software development nor do I make any claims to understand the intricacies of sync technology. But it seems to me that this is the elephant in the room.
There are certain people who will never be satisfied with the product and don’t really want to understand the developers problems. They only know that they plunked their few kopeks down and want what they paid for even though some of their expectations may be unrealistic. (Bernie Sanders supporters.)
Then there are those supporters of the software who dogmatically defend its virtues with their last breath and have a take-it-or-leave-it approach. These folks tend to be super sensitive and defensive whenever someone “blasphemes” against their deity. (These folks are Trumpites.)
I am just someone who is trying to get some writing done. If a tool, such as Scrivener, doesn’t meet my needs then I move on to something that does. It doesn’t make Scrivener defective. It just makes it unsuitable for my purposes. When I ask support for a solution to my problem and I am told, basically, that “these are your choices, take it or leave it,” then the choice becomes clear.

  Guess I'm just a Bernie Sanders fan.

  Perhaps a lesson in humility is in order here: There was a time when Apple was the King Kong of the mobile phone world.

Do you mean a lesson in humility for the user, or the developer? Because that cuts both ways. Developer issues are real - it’s not possible to magic them away (unless you have a magic wand handy). Any company has a set amount of resources, and any technology a company works with has its limitations. These are just the realities of the world. (And if you don’t want to accept reality, I’m not sure your analogy is the right way around. :slight_smile: )

I wish my car could hover four feet above the ground. When I was a kid, I was sure that I’d be flying a hover-car by the time I hit my forties. I’m pretty sure that no matter how much I want this, however, Volkswagen isn’t going to do it any time soon, no matter how much they might like to. Does it make me a Trump-et that I still love my Beetle?

We’ve always said that Scrivener won’t be for everyone, because all writers are different and have different needs. It would be foolish to try to create something that pleased everyone, because it would end up pleasing no one. So if Scrivener doesn’t suit your needs, you should of course move on and find something that does. And if it’s just syncing that has you piqued, well, I’ve explained in depth on the Knowledge Base and blog why automatic syncing just isn’t possible in Scrivener owing to technical limitations caused by some of Scrivener’s core features. If you choose not to accept that, or to think that I’m lying or making excuses (I’m not), that’s your prerogative, of course. Or, if your dislike of the sync implementation outweighs your need for, or like of, Scrivener’s core unique features, then, again, you should of course move on, because I won’t be removing all of Scrivener’s research features just to allow for a smoother sync.

But thanks for trying it out anyway.

(I’m also just someone trying to get some writing done, by the way. That’s why I created Scrivener, and why I still love it.)

aAll the best,

I would just chime in to say that the problem isn’t with Scrivener’s features; it’s with Apple’s flawed iCloud, as you’ve suggested, Keith, and then with the general ability itself, in a human-centered world.

I can say that document (or database) syncing itself is one of the thorniest problems in software. There are books of some very abstruse mathematics trying to describe the logic of doing it perfectly – a bit like understanding quantum mechanics perfectly…

I ran into these running up a system at invitation of the BBC once, whose use I like to imagine as the reporter hopping off their Mongolian pony in the starlit Gobi, firing off (upwards) their story and gaining previous edits via a satphone. I had one of the best toolsets for doing this I’ve ever seen (since vanished/vanquished), whose manager offered me to take his position in Texas if I would. I invented a protocol around this protocol, and still couldn’t gain the multiple-user confidence that I felt was needed for its survival with reporters and editors. Finis.

The similar database replication at reliability uses all tricks, all reduncies of resending, etc., which a writer’s tool wouldn’t be able to employ, and costs the earth to have - ask Oracle. And still, questions remain.

The young have gone to information arrangements that don’t consistently replicate (sync), and laud this as the new way. Which is right back to what Scrivenr iOS really does, except it keeps you informed very well when doing it and recovering – unlike your Facebook or your Twitter when they unceremoniously don’t deliver your tweets or…faces…? You can tell how I like Fbook… :grimace:, if to each his or her own, and of course I know many who love it.

Sort of as Keith says, then. You can have your choice. I’d much prefer all Scrivener can do, to Hobson…

Cheers around,

Just a moment and I’ll grab a story showing how much better this is than what there was before, by example…

Ah, and this should probably be taken down now, or not, actually. And it has savants saying the same tihngs, as you’ll find: [url]https://forum.literatureandlatte.com/t/seeing-dropbox-right/12597/1]

So, what you are saying is that you paid for unrealistic expectations, but only got reality, and that’s not what you wanted?

You’re not very clear.

Ps. You’ll have to explain the Apple - King Kong analogy as well. Do you refer to the feared but worshiped King Kong at the island, in the beginning of the movie, the King Kong caring for the little human (woman), or the King Kong being shot down from a high place by bad guys?

I’m just glad Keith created a forum like this, to watch y’all dance under the pale moon light, talking about Scrivener. The defenders, the haters…oh it’s all so pleasurably distracting!

Does this mean you’ll be asking the developer to fund your purchase and all of us to pay for your training?


Nothing is as approved as mediocrity, the majority has established it and it fixes it fangs on whatever gets beyond it either way.

(Quote by - Blaise Pascal)

Does quoting qualify as getting “some writing done”? :slight_smile:

I’m here for at least these reasons:

  • To find out how to do things, and how best to do them.
  • To describe my needs and desires, because I know that some improvements will come along and I figure Keith is interested in what people do and need.
  • To hear how other people work, to see if adopting those ideas would help me.

As a softwared developer, sometime entrepreneur, and perpetual idler, I know full well that not everything can be or should be done. That doesn’t diminish my desire to understand what people want, and what people do. Because I imagine that everyone is like me, I imagine that Keith is truly interested in what we do and what we need.

And looking at this product, which is an immense labor, ongoing, I don’t think it takes much imagination at all to admire what’s behind it.

[quote=“LeoGorcey”(Quote by - Blaise Pascal)[/quote]
For my sins, I became curious what set off this little exercise in displeasure, thus looked through some recent postings and answers.

Frankly, LeoGorcey, I think you over-reacted, it seems to someone suggesting you exercise caution with precious Scrivener projects.

It’s also possible you’ve been tantalized by WD MyCloud’s suggestion that it works ‘seamlessly’ with Dropbox, but disappointed because people here say this isn’t going to operate reliably, or support Scrivener iOS.

The brass tacks have been been laid out, that the difficulties and risks of damage occur when a number of files have to be updated wholly together, so let’s not try to go further on this. Equally, as lunk has explained, you can’t have a ‘simpler’ way by sharing zip files, because Apple’s iOS simply doesn’t allow it.

What I would do, then, is straightforward:

  • I would use Scrivener syncing as intended, with the primary Scrivener projects on Dropbox directly, to be readable and updatable by iPad, Mac, Windows PC, as desired. A lot of effort went into making this work well for you.

  • I would use WD MyCloud to give a solid backup, while also providing an alternative access to the Scrivener Projects from Macs and PCs, via zip files (only), should you need that. I would have WD MyCloud copy to itself the zip files Scrivener Mac/PC creates as its own backups, which are not in a Dropbox folder. Zip files created by Scrivener’s own internal backup are essential, to be sure the entire project is always intact.

  • If you actually edit the zipped backup project on a Mac/PC, then put a renamed copy of that session’s backup zip on the WD MyCloud. Renaming is needed so that it won’t overwrite any other backups – in renaming use date, possibly time, project name and some unique portion identifying the machine you did it on.

This is the safest and most useful way I can see the two systems being used together, and so you don’t lose use of this WD MyCloud you have.

And as you say, but without the undertone, if this isn’t serving your needs, and on balance Ulysses or some other is good enough as writing software for you, by all means use that, as I am confidant everyone here would agree.

Kind regards,

WD MyCloud is actually prepared to be used as Time Machine, so it could easily be used to backup not only Scrivener files but everything on the Mac. There is a switch in the web interface which enables/disables it as a Time Machine.

“Seamless operation” is kind of a funny phrase, because it turns out that the real world is full of seams.

You are happily working away in your favorite coffee shop, and the owner’s kid trips over the cord for the WiFi router and yanks it out of the wall.

You’re jotting down a couple of quick sentences in the airport lounge, but your plane is boarding and so you close your MacBook and go.

Your bus or train goes through a tunnel. Your power goes out. Your battery dies. The list goes on and on.

A Scrivener project being synchronized between a desktop and an iOS device exists in at least three places: on the desktop system, on the iOS device, and in the Dropbox cloud. In theory, all three copies are identical.

In practice, the world is full of seams. Transmitting data from your device to the Dropbox cloud, or from the cloud to your device, will consume finite time. If the connection fails at an inopportune moment, no company on earth can prevent a discrepancy between copies. Not Apple, not Dropbox, not Google, and certainly not Literature & Latte.

Given that discrepancies are inevitable, then, how should they be resolved? iCloud has one answer, which is only reliable for individual documents, not multi-document packages like Scrivener projects (or DevonTechnologies databases – a very similar conversation is taking place around DevonThink To Go). Google Docs has another answer, which depends on the massive computing resources available to Google, plus their own proprietary formats. And Literature & Latte has another answer, involving the conflict resolution capabilities of Dropbox.

Is it the only answer? No. Is it the best answer? Maybe, maybe not, depending on your goals. But it’s the answer that Literature & Latte has chosen, balancing the requirements of cross-platform usability, reliability, and programming resources.


Excellent post, and well done to all at Literate and Latte!


This is where I wish we had Like buttons.

Aw, shucks. :blush: – Katherine

Just to add to your pleasant discomfiture, Katherine, I had just the same thoughts when reading your note yesterday - this was really a very fine one :wink:


I said to myself, self, should I report this post for its provocative nature? What right does she have producing a technical explanation with clarity and inviting readability? I will reread it a few times because, well, I have to.

:blush: I am a writer, after all. :smiley:


Given the opacity of the OP’s initial screed, I think your impulse is understandable. I had the same impulse.

As far as I can tell, the OP was tantalized by his stated need to sync Scrivener projects locally between his iOS device(s) and his Mac, entirely bypassing the cloud. The OP’s preferred method to do this was WD’s iOS app. Lunk told him there are two ways to get a Scrivener project round-trip between iOS and desktop: iTunes or Dropbox. Another user told him if he had to keep his projects away from the cloud, iTunes was his only option.

Then over the course of a week or so, despite asking the same question slightly differently in several separate threads, various users confirmed what he’d already been told. In each instance, the OP offered gracious thanks and finally said he would purchase the iOS app and experiment.

Several days later, he posted the “little exercise in displeasure” at the top of this thread, in which he divided Scrivener forum users into Trump or Sanders supporters, elevated either Keith or Scrivener itself into a deity, and compared Apple (and possibly L&L) to King Kong.

Had he been one of my students, I would have given his draft a D+ with the option to revise.

If Charles Stross is happy to use Dropbox sync, cased closed. literatureandlatte.com/blog/?p=925