Scrivener + Notebooks via Dropbox

I’m guilty of not placing my praise thread in the correct place, so I hope I am forgiven if I gush some more.

The new Scrivener was everything I was hoping for. It’s syncability across Dropbox to my iPad and my iPod Touch (both running Notebooks) means that I have the true, insouciant portability that adverts for Mac products always boast but have not always delivered. My work is with me always on all my platforms that now all speak to each other and work hand in hand that way such a system should work. Smoothly, simply, and with no fuss.

I love it. :wink:

Many thanks,

Thanks! Glad to hear it’s working good for you. I really like the new folder sync as well. I don’t use it as much for mobile stuff, but for general collaboration it’s fantastic.

Hahaha. Yes. It’s gorgeous. I love having my collaborator write and upload something and getting that little Growl message telling me I should sync and go read it. Whoo. (Thank you, Ioa, for suggesting using Growl with Dropbox for that.) I’m so glad 2.0 came out in time for November; it’s made the collaborative novel-writing process so smooth and snazzy.

Thanks! When I see a thread titled “Scrivener + Notebooks via Dropbox”, I approach with trepidation, thinking it’s going to be a wish list item asking for extra functionality, so it’s great to instead find someone saying how much they like this feature!

Thanks again and all the best,

On that note, I do have a wish with synching. I have a fairly elaborate Scrivener file, with many different subfolders containing different notes - I would love the option of ‘synching to folders’ with these subfolders intact. I know not all of the dropbox editors support this, but PlainText does, so it would be great to use it. As it is, the flat-list is pretty overwhelming (I have over 200 different notes).

On the other hand, I like Scrivener enough to create 200 different notes meticulously organized into different folders. So that’s a positive feedback.


To quote Keith:

If you ever happen to look under the hood of a Scrivener project, you’ll notice that the files there are all a flat list stored in one folder on the hard drive; their hierarchical representation within the program is done by xml. So it’s not really just a matter of copying the folder structure from one place to another, since the folder structure doesn’t really exist in Scrivener.

Anyway, a couple things you might try to alleviate your problem a bit, if you aren’t already doing them: 1) Turn on file numbering in the sync options, to keep your flat list in the proper order when you’re viewing it outside Scrivener (rather than defaulting to alphabetical). 2) If your work style permits, sync only a selection of notes at a time. A quick way to do this would be to create a “For Syncing” collection and then just drag into that what you need to take with you.

(This should really be in the Wish List forum…)

This isn’t possible. Although there is a superficial similarity, Scrivener’s binder hierarchy isn’t really comparable to a file system hierarchy and there would be no way to map between the two. So this would be misleading - if Scrivener did this, users would expect any changes to the hierarchy in the Finder to be reflected when syncing with Scrivener. This could be a disaster! Consider:

  1. In Scrivener, folders can have text associated with them because they are really just special kinds of text files. So for one document in Scrivener in these cases, you may need two in the Finder - a folder and a text file with its contents.

  2. Text files, image files, PDF files and so on can all act as containers in Scrivener - something impossible in a folder hierarchy on a file system.

  3. In Scrivener, you have most likely set up the order of your files very carefully. But the Finder and file systems do not allow arbitrary ordering - everything is ordered alphabetically, by kind, size or however you have sort options set. So all files and folders would need numbers inserting at the start of them to force the file system to respect the order, but then as soon as you start moving things around, things will get messy. You would either have to micro-manage the numbering yourself in the Finder or in Notebooks, or ask your chosen app (e.g. Notebooks) to start managing this sort of auto-numbering.

  4. Currently you can only sync text files, which means images and PDF files and so on would be missed out from the sync anyway. Even if it did sync these other files (which could end up taking a lot of space on your iPad!), many of the other programs (PlainText etc) only support text files and so would only show those in the hierarchy. So if you changed the hierarchy in such programs, who knows where your research files would end up.

And so on… In short, there’s are very good reasons I decided to use a simple two-folder sync structure for Folder Sync rather than attempt to sync an entire folder hierarchy, which is too unpredictable and could end up messing up your entire carefully-organised project.

All the best,