Minor Compile improvements

I’d like to suggest five minor improvements to the usability of the Compile process:

a) An option to use a default file name, perhaps adding a number or datetime to the the end to avoid overwriting a file that already exists.

With this I’d be able to enable it, set the name as “c:…\Documents\test” and afterwards, when pressing the Compile button in the Compile window with, say, the RTF format selected, it’d generate (for each pressing) “test.rtf”, “test-1.rtf”, “test-2.rtf” etc. (or alternatively “test-20131016091320.rtf”, “test-20131016091427.rtf” etc.), thus avoiding the need to open the file selection window and type a name again and again when fine tunning the Compile options.

b) An option for the Compile window to not close automatically.

That’s because when I’m fine tunning the compile it becomes very boring very fast to have to open the Compile window again and again and again and again…

c) An option for the compiled document to be automatically opened in its default associated program.

Right now I have to manually keep a Windows Explorer opened and pointed to the folder to manually open the new file to check whether the compilation is to my liking.

d) The removal of the window informing that the compilation has completed successfully.

It’s just another button to click, again and again and again. (Edit: It could still appear if an error occurred, evidently.)

e) Finally, the addition of either a standard file selection window to the “Save Preset” button, or a window similar to the one that appears when we click the “Open Preset” one.

A single line of text for typing a name feels kind of inadequate. If I’m trying to overwrite a preset I previously saved I have to remember exactly how it’s named, otherwise I have to go to the “Open Preset” window to delete the other version. Similarly it feels weird to be attempting to save a new preset but mistakenly typing a name that already exists (but I cannot see that already exists) to be then greeted by a warning asking me whether I want to overwrite it.

These five changes, if implemented, would turn the Compile option into a much more enjoyable activity, particularly to those who, like me, are obsessive about the final result. :slight_smile:

I like these suggestions, and have thought of a related one. How about offering a simple “Compile Based on Previous” button. It would allow you to instantly compile a draft using settings that have already been established, and wouldn’t require so many mouse-clicks and maneuvering. Combine this with Alex’s suggestion to allow for default file saving locations and naming/subsequent numbering (test-1, test-2, etc), and you would have a button that would give you a draft in no time at all. This would be equivalent to performing a “Save” function in a word processor, as opposed to a “Save-as,” which would be the more in-depth, normal “Compile” function.

Sometimes I have the same settings for a draft’s compile process for dozens of compilations. To compile now, I have to click “Compile,” Then click the “Compile” button in the compile window. Then I have to name the file, click ok. Then I have to click “Okay” if the file is the same as last time. Otherwise I then have to click the “Okay” button in the window telling me it was compiled. As someone who doesn’t like time-wasting, this seems very long and almost deliberately slow.

I like all of the suggestions mentioned, if you’re looking for more input.

Use Keyboard Maestro to automate every compiling with just a click of a mouse, like this for example

I made a similar script for compiling using the free Mac keyboard automation program Repeater. I wrote about the process and how to script it further from the command line in my blog.

I second options A & B in the initial post and if that amounts to “Draft from previous” I’m for that, too.

Does anyone know if V3 has any of these?

I’m a Mac users and some of these UI points seem specific to Windows.

(a) I don’t think I’d need too many “options” per se. But I would love a quick “Compile again” or as Sanguinous says, a “Compile Based on Previous”, where a simple “overwrite” on/off would either replace the previous or append a number. Yes I can make a macro to “automate” it, but it seems universal enough that Scrivener should have this built in! The fact that many Scrivener users roll their own macros reinforces the idea that this should be built in.

(b) How about using a modifier key to do this, so for example a CTRL+click would compile leaving the dialog open (currently an OPT+click saves the preset without compiling).

© Scrivener 3 now does this (on Mac at least).

(d) This is not an issue on macOS (Scrivener 2 or 3).

(e) Seems windows specific, and compile presets have changed greatly in Scrivener 3 anyway.

I would like to second the option to save the filename.

What I would do is have a ‘Compile’ and a ‘Compile As…’ menu item, where the first does everything without prompting, and also have ‘Compile’ and ‘Compile As…’ buttons in the ‘Compile As…’ dialogue box. (And show the current name in the dialogue box.) This allows people to immediately recompile, but also lets them tweak settings without having to type a new name.

I also would suggest not adding numbers to the name. I cannot imagine what that would be for. (Why would someone be archiving outdated compiles? You archive source, not the results.) But if someone actually wants that, please have that as an option we can disable…the entire point is to use the same name.

I would also like to add an idea: The ability to have a compile happen automatically on exit.

Why? Because I, at least, like having a current epub of my work in progress that I can look at on my ereader. Other people might want html pages on their dropbox, or whatever. It is extremely time-consuming to keep them up to date, especially when they’re supposed to have specific names.

Having some keys I can press to do it, when I am done, would be nice. Having it just happen automatically when I close Scrivener would be very very nice.

I agree with these for the V3 compile if not already included, and would add a simple thing: An “Open Containing Folder” button would be nice after compile.

V3 allows you to do much if not all of this:

Cmd-opt-e, return, return, space.

That is: open compile, enter to accept what’s already there, enter to accept the suggested filename (the project name) and export, space to agree to overwrite the existing file.

The latter (space) is part of the standard Mac Save dialogue process when you try to overwrite a file, and I’m not sure it can (actually, it’s a useful safeguard, so I’m not sure it should) be overridden. (On a Mac Enter invokes the default button, which is ‘Cancel’ here, while Space invokes a second option, here ‘Replace’.)

But the whole process is only four quick actions.

I have no idea what Macs do, but on Windows, we do not get any sort of default filename, and, perhaps more importantly, while the save path is saved, it is saved per program, not per project. Whatever path we last navigated in Scrivner is where the Save As dialog box opens.