Sync with external folder

I just filled out the survey and wrote this statement into the box named “what do you dislike most”.
But now, after writing it, I am unsure if it isn’t my fault, if I do something wrong.
So I decided to post it here, perhaps you can tell me if and what I am doing wrong.

“I really loved syncing into external folder so I could review my scenes with my android smartphone. This isn’t possible anymore since I got my laptop.
I really dislike the fact that I can’t sync with external folder in the moment I use 2 Scrivener installations (I.E. laptop and PC). Both Scrivener installations share a Dropbox folder which is working really great. But they can’t use the same Sync folder, so this feature is completely useless in the moment you use more then one Scrivener installation. I really dislike that, it cuts me off from a favourite workflow.”

If I understand you correctly, this feature is NEVER designed and tested to sync two different computers using the same external sync folder. Only one computer(Scrivener installation) is supposed to sync with an external sync folder.

You sync with the external folder on one computer, edit files in the external folder with another editor/device, and sync back to the same computer.

If you want to sync between computers, you should copy the full project folder and its contents.

Thanks Tiho for your answer, but you got me wrong.
I do not want to use folder sync to sync between 2 computers. For working on the same project with 2 computers, I use a dropbox folder, which the 2 installations share, as it is recommended.
But I still want to use folder sync to review and edit the files with an App on my smartphone, just as intended!
This is not possible anymore since every Scrivener instance needs its own sync folder.
So in the moment I am using Scrivener on 2 computers, I must have 2 different sync foldes - call them “project-A-PC” and “project-A-laptop” - and sooner or later they will contain different versions of my work because I forget which one is the newer one to edit with my smartphone.
This doesn’t make any sense in my eyes, so I don’t use that anymore, what is really a pity since I liked this feature a lot.

Try to sync your project with an external folder placed in Dropbox. If the Dropbox external sync folder has the same path (like “D:\Dropbox\MyExternalSyncFolderFiles”) on both computers, it might work as both computers will sync the same project with the same external sync folder automatically. The external sync folder files you can edit as you wish. I have not tried it, but in theory it might work.

Still this is very risky and always have recent backups as one missed Dropbox sync, might lead to unexpected text merges.

I can tell you, that this will for sure produce “unexpected text merges”. I have tried it and I will never do that again. My files got changed, rearranged, doubled and even deleted. This is the reason why L&L explicitly warns not to do this.

This is exactly my problem: When using 2 machines for working on my project, I can’t use folder sync anymore for working on it with my smartphone.

I would love to see a solution on this.

Yes you can, provided that you accept the inherent limitation. Only ‘sync with external folder’ from one of the two PCs.

What happens if you create the sync folder location so that it is outside of the Dropbox folder – so that it’s only local to each machine?

Then, when you export/import, you only do it one one of the devices always – and you pause Dropbox when you export, until you import the files back in from the external folder. That way you’re only making changes to your project from one direction at a time.

Yes, this will of course work.
But imagine this very real situation:
I have my PC from where I sync to the sync folder, and my laptop, which is not synced at all. Now I am working on my laptop and do some changes there. Then I go on a walk and use my phone to review my work, do some editing here and there. Later, in the evening, I return to my PC. The sync will then overwrite all the changes I made on machine 2.
This is what I am talking about. Using 2 machines and flawless syncing at the same time is impossible.

I’m afraid this will not solve the problem.
Having 2 sync folders but only one working directory for the project will lead to conflicts. Syncing does only work properly, as long as you do a sync immediately after opening and before closing your work. If the work is changed in between, syncing will not work anymore, and this is what happens, if your have two machines and two sync folders for the same project.

There is a simple solution. Buy an iPhone and install iOS Scrivener.

If my suggestion does not work(which I believe it should) what you ask for is Scrivener as a web service with your project located in the cloud, which is a totally different story. Your workflow cannot be achieved from a desktop application, without causing sync conflicts.

Lunk, that is less than helpful. There are valid reasons for people to not want/not be able to use an Apple phone/tablet.

I’m not saying that you can just work from wherever at any time without thinking about it. You have to build the correct habits so that when you perform work in one location, that work is then consciously synced and verified before you move to another location to do work there.

But it’s at least the possibility of some sort of workflow, even if it’s more restricted than one might prefer. The perfect is the enemy of the good.

That may be so, but it’s absolutely helpful! If the OP wants a seamless sync between two PCs and a cellphone, using iOS Scrivener is a solution. And it’s an existing, functioning solution. If the OP can’t or won’t use an iPhone, that’s their choice. But that doesn’t change the fact that iOS Scrivener provides a way to sync live projects between several computers, cellphones and tablets.

The OP specified Android. They’re already aware of the limitations inherent with using that platform and were specifically speaking about issue with the “sync with external folder” functionality… Pointing out that those limitations go away with iOS is not helpful, merely rude. It would be no different than you reporting a bug in the Windows beta and having someone tell you that bug wasn’t present in the Mac version.

It’s not at all the same thing.
‘Sync with external folder’ was never meant to be used for syncing with more than one computer. The way it is set up makes it more or less impossible, or at least very risky, to sync between two computers, which is basically what the OP wants to do (after having edited on an external device). I used ‘external sync’ before iOS Scrivener became available so I know, from personal experience, how tricky, frustrating and risky it can be.

In this case, the OP has several choices:

  • only sync with one of the PCs
  • risk syncing from both PCs
  • skip syncing with the Android phone altogether and wait for Android Scrivener
  • replace the Android phone with an iPhone or iPad and install iOS Scrivener

Only the OP knows which alternative is the best from their point of view. You and I are both aware of iOS Scrivener, but sometimes people are so focused on their current mode of working (and thinking) that they don’t see all alternatives. Pointing out that there are completely different alternatives, which the OP might not have thought about, isn’t rude.

There won’t be an Android Scrivener for quite some time, so the OP has to make a decision and choose one of the alternatives. So it all boils down to how important it is to be able to sync all three devices - two computers and one cell phone/tablet.