Scrivener With PK Wiki

I am using Scrivener to write a technical manual. As I complete sections I need a good way to post them so that our task force and membership can review it and post comments.

Right now I am using PB Wiki http://pbwiki.com. I save my Scrivener work as RTF, then convert to HTML, and then place in the Wiki. But even with these steps I lose some formatting, including color and highlighting.

Has anyone ever had a similar scenario, where they need to post chapters for review? If so, I would like to see how others have handled this.

I was trying to create this manual using a database and then the Wiki, but Scrivener is proving superior for keeping up with sections and moving parts around – I give this program 5 stars!!!

Todd Daniel
Atlanta, GA, USA

When you say you’re losing “colour and highlighting”, do you mean Scrivener’s “internal” highlighting system, or formatting intended for final output? Either way, I think it’d be tough to get text out to a wiki and back in without making some sacrifices – as I understand it, RTF to HTML and back again simply isn’t robust enough for what you want. And of course, Scrivener isn’t really designed for complex formatting for final output.

I use Scrivener with a wiki to share work in progress with my dissertation advisor, but I narrow the scope of the workflow so that I’m simply publishing passages to the wiki, or adding notes to the wiki that get pasted back into Scrivener. (1) I forget about preserving Scrivener highlighting and footnotes when putting stuff on the wiki. (2) Instead of relying on rich text, I write in Markdown syntax in both Scrivener and my wiki – both can create rich text output from Markdown on demand, if need be. (3) I simply copy and paste between the two environments. Using Markdown reduces the amount of formatting passed between the two apps, and makes that formatting count, in that it makes structural sense – headings are always real headings, etc.

I wasn’t quite satisfied with plain text, though. Because I still really like working with the look and feel of rich text as I write, I’ve devised a system of shortcuts in Scrivener to add very subtle, grey Markdown syntax in addition to the usual rich text, so you get the best of both worlds, e.g. real italics and semantic emphasis, like this. Meanwhile, my wiki’s Markdown plugin traditionally reads Markdown syntax and converts it to formatted HTML, but I’ve hacked it to reinsert Markdown syntax in light grey, just like my Scrivener formatting shortcuts – keeping both the “temporary” typographic formatting and the “real” semantic syntax. This way, I can paste my unholy “semantic rich text” from Scrivener into a plain text field in my wiki, and have it appear identically in the wiki – both the typographic formatting and the nerdy syntax are preserved. I can also copy bits of the wiki pages back into Scrivener – likewise, the formatting and syntax are preserved. When I need to export for final output, the “temporary formatting” is ignored by Scrivener, which runs the syntax through its MultiMarkdown processor, and I get a sexy document.

This is an extremely bizarre workflow, but it works for me. As far as both apps are concerned, everything’s in plain text – the extra formatting is simply for my eyes as I write.

Jebni, can I ask how you created these shortcuts in Scrivener?

My workflow is actually very similar to yours, except that instead of Markdown I use LaTeX formatting, and I copy and paste between Scrivener and individual .tex files in a LaTeX project. I’d love to be able to differentiate the commands from the actual text in Scrivener.

That sounds very similar to what I tend to do when I’m feeling ambitious. Are you just using the Styles menu and assigning keyboard shortcuts to them? I have some ruler settings I like to use for bullets and blockquotes, and will grey-out some stuff too.