Suggestions from a Publisher

Suggestions from a Publisher:

  • Better integration between author and editor, probably handled best within a server/client model (all parties are working to the same data). So that both author and editor can view revision history while developing the text, Comments from all parties are clearly shown (threaded commenting linking directly to relevant text).

  • Post Writing / Pre Press. The ability to export plain text (NOT RTF), XML integration, at the moment we use TextMate to do this. But we would like to use one application only. Better yet, full Indesign integration, maybe with a plugin for Indesign. The goal, is to be able to work with the plain text, tagging paragraphs, headings, footnotes etc and for our layout application (Indesign / Quark Express / Pagemaker) to be able to handle the data smoothly. Converting plain text to our given layout and styles.

Thanks we love Scrivener already, but these suggestions would help our workflow greatly :slight_smile:

Server client style multi-use is a fairly huge undertaking. One of those “it would be nice things” that by and large isn’t practical to engage in given the other things that would also be nice, like native language support in the interface. Some of the things you mention are quite possible to do with the current set of tools, multi-use aside. In other words, if you swap the .scriv file back and forth, you can track revisions using the Revision Level mode, and its handy revision step feature in the Find by Format tool. Comments can be embedded in the text or placed in the Inspector, and the latter have the side benefit of time stamping the note along with putting the account name in it, so it’s easy to see who wrote what and when. A language could be developed, think of it as plain-text keywords, that could be adopted in either inline or inspector style notes which indicates whether or not something has been addressed. Something as simple as “DONE” on the last line. For myself, I use a punctuation mark at the beginning of an inline annotation to indicate status. !, -, +, and = all have different meanings when attached to a keyword. “=RWRI” can mean the note pertained to rewriting a section, and the = sign means that it has been done. I couple this ability with the Find by Formatting tool, which makes it easy to search for example: “!RWRI” or, Important Rewrite, within annotations. You can even use colour to set status, as the search tool accommodates that as well.

Have you had a look at MultiMarkdown? That’s exactly what it does. It takes a marked up “plain-text” Scrivener manuscript and generates an XML file using the XHTML DTD. It can go on to make other formats using XML transformation stylesheets. Scrivener handles the headings for you, turning them into H1, H2, and so on depending on depth. It will also codify footnotes into cross-linked items in the XML file, which can be fairly easily parsed into whatever final format you need. The LaTeX XSLT files demonstrate how this can be done. Paragraph tagging can be done. I use this technique to mark the “tip box” style paragraphs in the user manual. These are, inside the Scrivener file, just an inline annotation starting with “TIPBOX:”.

I’ve been having a look at the xml issue again today. I presume you are talking about Scrivener 2? I dont have a LaTeX XSLT file to examine, I’m using scrivener 1.54.

Multimarkdown seems interesting, although I dont relish the idea of learning another markup language, especially when I am quite fluent in xhtml/xml already, it seems counter productive. Also I will have to teach and manage others to work with the work-flow.

Id like to see some real world examples of Multimarkdown being used, so I can examine actual files. Looking through the documentation isnt really selling it to me right now:
daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/syntax
fletcherpenney.net/multimarkdown/

But I can see the possibilities - I just need to investigate it a bit more, and test it out. :smiley:

One thing to keep in mind with the two sample documents you listed is that these are demo files, and so will be much, much more “busy” than your average block of text in Scrivener. In fact, for the most part, an MMD project may look very close to a normally written project, save for a few small details like double-spaced paragraphs (which can be configured to look a lot like normal editing with some spacing and indent alterations) and the occasional set of asterisks. Many of Scrivener’s editor features carry right over automatically. So footnotes just use the ordinary footnote features, dropped in graphics are handled as well, titles are handled by the compiler if you wish, etc.

It’s all about readability and ease of data entry. I’m fluent in both of these as well, but wouldn’t dream of writing a long book using either of them. They just require way too many keystrokes to get the job done, especially in an editor not designed for coding, and require too much “plumbing” or worrying about static references and so on. It handles a lot of the “dirty work” for you in terms of setting up IDs that can be referenced in plain language. Consider the legibility of these two examples:

MultiMarkdown:

XHTML:

There is nothing fundamentally different about 2.x in this regard. Both versions package a bundled version of MMD inside the application for ease of use. For the best transparency and customisability, install a separate copy of MMD, downloaded from Fletcher’s site, into your Application Support folder. If a MultiMarkdown folder exists in app sup, Scrivener will use that version instead of its built-in version. This way you can adjust the XSLTs directly, or any of the other coding that goes into the engine as its all in open script files.

^^THAT. Indeed. Would be a great relief.
I know it is possible to export a finished book from Scrivener in a format that can be imported with more or less pain into InDesign, but it is a one-way process, causes trouble the more formatting the writer has done in Scrivener, and it makes it impossible to maintain proper version management - changes done in InDesign are not reflected in the Scrivener project, and in case that the content is changed in Scrivener, you have to re-import into InDesign and do all the formatting again…

Would love to see Scrivener becoming better friends with one or more of the leading typesetting/layout applications, actually I do not care if it is InDesign or Quark.

Scrivener is by far the best writing tool out there - and if it learned a trick or two from InCopy I could stop looking left and right for solutions that might be less perfect from a writers point of view, but offer better integration with a professional workflow that includes editing/formatting text in several cycles.

cheers and keep up the great work!
Martin

Hi Martin,

Could you please give more details about what you think an export to InDesign would look like? Currently you can drag your RTF files into InDesign for arrangement; I’m not sure what else Scrivener could do in this regard (it wouldn’t be possible to create InDesign files, which are a proprietary Adobe format, and which would be beyond current resources anyway, but I don’t think that is what you are suggesting?).

Thanks and all the best,
Keith