I have a basic wish that might provide some decent benefit at a cost of a minor headache for users. It would be great if Scrivener could automatically post the most recent version of an item to a dedicated folder in EverNote or the equivalent. You could even make it more finely grained like Scrivener does with Compile Draft. This feature would allow me to edit whatever I am working where ever I might be without me needing to think about ‘checking out’ the latest version.
Because EverNote works on any computer, including the iPad and iPhone, this service would too. Think of it as a way of creating a library for each specific Scrivener project.
I have no idea how difficult this feature might be to implement. I do know I can do it by hand, focusing on whatever pieces I am working on currently. Someone with modest scripting abilities might be able to write a script or a service to do this…
The headache is version control. I think you can leave this up to the user to manage.
Have you considered using DropBox? There’s quite a lot of Scrivener usage of DropBox, so lots of experience and coverage on the forum, if you do a search.
Because a Scrivener project is a package of many files, not a single file, I suspect it could never move into and out of EverNote in the way you want, even with some clever scripting. But DropBox, with certain safeguards, should do the trick.
I don’t want access to the whole project file. I want access to the individual pieces of writing in the project file when I don’t have access to my Mac.
Is there an inherent way to access the individual files within a Scrivener project file? I love the way Scrivener manages files, but what can I do when I don’t have access to Scrivener, but I do have access to my Scrivener file?
Right now, I just push a piece of writing into EverNote. Then I don’t have to worry. Unless I forgot to push the writing. I forget too often. So I’d like this feature to happen automatically.
Yes, select the draft (or more if you wish), and use File/Export/Files. You can choose the base format (select RTF if you need to retain formatting), and where you want to save the files (DropBox). This will generate a folder/file structure which mimics the Binder layout. You can even save notes in sidecar files so you’ll have access to that as well. Now the files can be edited in any RTF capable editor on any type of computer. What I like to do is mark the file in some way, once I’ve made changes. That way I know Scrivener needs to be udpated the next time I’m around a Mac. I wrote a script that deletes everything that doesn’t have the marking or does not contain a file with the marking. Now I can just drag the remainder back into the Binder and distribute the changes accordingly.
What you select in the Binder is what will be exported, so if you only want to export a few things, you can just Cmd click on them use the exporter. I suggested the Draft because that is easiest and assumes the least. It creates a mimicry of your entire book on the filesystem so you don’t get to location B and suddenly realise you needed a chapter you didn’t think you’d need before you left location A.
It doesn’t do it automatically, but it is at most one keyboard shortcut and a dialogue box dismiss.
That’s all it does.
I don’t see how selecting the top level thing in the Binder and pressing Cmd-Shift-E/Return is more difficult than copying and pasting 15 files individually between two different applications.
Thanks for the added detail. I did not realize the part about making selections in the binder. So back to my wish list: if there are ways to polish this functionality so it’s more intuitive / easier / obvious than would be great.
Still, at the moment, I need these things to go into a contain that makes the stuff easy to edit on iPad + iPhone. So I still need to shove it into EverNote where there editing. I imagine it will get easier to work with raw files over time.
I wouldn’t count on it. Apple seems determined to keep their iDevice line in the appliance arena, and the ability to handle raw file uploads to them and filesystem access on the device goes against that whole thing. It’s more like a Palm Pilot than a portable computer—at least from the user’s perspective. Add to that the difficulty of programming applications that handle ordinary rich text (if anyone wants to do that, they’ll have to program their own RTF handler from scratch, using nothing but XCode under the new developer restrictions which don’t allow third-party libraries and middle-ware) and you have an environment that is decidedly pitched against small house developers.
I’ve only ever played with EverNote. Loaded it once and uninstalled it promptly as it seemed rather bloated for what I need (plain text). SimpleNote would probably be better—does it allow you to drag arbitrary files into it and then upload to the device? If so you might be able to use the Cmd-Shift-E technique and then drag those files into SN.
The fundamental problem, as you can probably see, is that there is no unified file access system on these devices, so each application must shepherd its own files, and since each application is doing its own thing with various degrees of proficiency, with zero universal architecture between them to bridge the applications together, it makes it rather difficult for anything to work with anything else—at least in a “magical” fashion where everything Just Works. While some applications do offer APIs allowing other applications to interface with them, they are all different and so would require an extraordinary amount of effort for Scrivener to operate with them all, not to mention a messy export/import menu.
There is currently one application that Scrivener supports one-way transfer with: WriteRoom. It’s one-way because, again, the lack of rich text means whatever you send to WR loses its formatting. For many users, that would be catastrophic as they place semantic meaning into formatting. Implementing a partial or full round-trip system between the two could potentially cause a lot of lost information.
Things might get better in the coming years, if Apple changes their perspective on what these devices should be, and continues to enrich the SDK so that it has a closer parity with Cocoa. But like I said, I wouldn’t count it. It’s been years already, and they’ve made no move to indicate they are heading in this direction. The only hope, as I see it, is that they are now making gestures at the netbook market. If they actually intend to compete in that space, they’ll have to realise they need to open things up a bit more.
Scrivener stores all the text documents as RTFD files (in 2.0 they will be RTF files instead) inside the .scriv package (you can see them by ctrl-clicking on the .scriv file in the Finder and selecting “Show Package Contents”). I wouldn’t recommend editing them directly, though, as it can throw the search indexes out of sync and if you have any Scrivener link associated with the text these will end up in the wrong place if you edit the text “behind Scrivener’s back”. The files have obscure names, too - they use internal ID numbers for file numbers, so it wouldn’t be easy finding the documents you wanted to edit within the project package anyway.
This is why AmberV is suggesting using export and then re-importing the documents when you’ve edited them elsewhere. I can’t think of a really good way around that. I’m not sure how you could take those documents to something like Evernote or SimpleNote and have Scrivener automatically know about them when you come back to Scrivener, although I do understand why it would be useful.
I do think that an Integration with Services like Evernote, ReadItLater or Instapaper would make sense, but in a totally different way than was suggested in the opening post of this thread.
I do a lot of research for my projects, surfing the net, saving pictures, sounds, texts, URLs mostly using Evernote and ReadItLater (now heavily using the device from Cupertino that shall not named here ).
It would be an additional help to have an option inside of Scrivener to import objects with specific tags from these services directly into my research Folders.
Currently I’m going the long “copy&paste” meditational route for all those little tidbits, having those included in my Scrivener projects automatically would be, well, it would be a little bit like magic…