Trying to get external folder to sync between two Macs

Here’s what I’m trying to accomplish:
I have two macs, a retina, and an iMac both running Mountain Lion and latest MAS Scrivener. I want to use external folder sync pointed to my iAwriter folder which is stored in iCloud. If I set it up on one Mac, it works perfect. The files sync and seconds later I can open iAwriter and edit all my files. Now when I open Scrivener on my other Mac, I go and setup external sync to the same folder. Everything works as it should. But now if I go back to my other Mac… It doesn’t sync anymore. For some reason Scrivener forgets what folder I told it to sync to and I have to tell it that I want to sync to that folder again. For whatever reason, both copies of Scrivener never save my preferences when switching between the two. As long as I don’t open my project on the other Mac the preference sticks.

I’m saving my project in Dropbox, and never have it open on both Macs at the same time so that can’t be the problem. I also have authorized folder access for the iCloud folder on both copies of Scrivener. I also tried to use a dropbox folder for external sync and got the same results.

In fact you are triggering a safety that was placed there precisely to stop what it is you are trying to do. :slight_smile: The external folder sync feature is not intended to be used to keep two separate projects up to date with one another. The definition of “separate” here is very technical, not practical. Separate projects can mean two projects that came from the same source and even match each other identically on the surface. The reason you don’t want to do this is that last numeral on each filename, that number binds the text file to an internal piece of data, which stores where this chunk of text actually came from in your project. That’s all fine and good, but if you have more than one project using the same sync folder, they will very likely be using numbers to refer to different binder items, resulting in text going to the wrong places or worse.

It’s just not safe to allow. We had people losing work when this feature was more permissive. That you know to not open the project twice lets me know you understand some of the basic problems inherent to synchronisation, so hopefully you can appreciate the technical difficulty involved with three-way syncing using simple text files (with a binary transfer format we could do whatever we want—but then you couldn’t edit the result in iA Writer :slight_smile:).

To achieve what you are going for, what most people do is put the project itself in the synchronised area. That way the source project is always up to date on all machines. That’s a little more risky to work that way—especially when using an unsupported mechanism of a protocol (iCloud does not officially support folder & file synchronisation between computers). But if you keep careful backups on both computers you should be all right. Just make sure to follow the common sense rules in the user manual, chapter 13, starting on page 176.

Now, if you have that set up and you follow the guidelines closely, then the project on each computer should be theoretically identical. So in that case you can add a third sync using external folders, to get both machines working with your mobile device. Just make sure that path to your iCloud folder is the same on both machines so that it doesn’t trigger the “I can’t find this folder” safety check and disable syncing.