I’m just testing out Scrivener, and so far I really enjoy working with it. However, it feels like it’s really two tools rolled into one. There’s the basic Scrivener, which has really neat templates that export nicely to Word, RTF, HTML, etc. And then there’s the whole Multimarkdown side. It feels to me like you have to pick one approach, and you cannot easily switch between them.
For example, I’m working on a short story (using the short story template). Exporting to Word works great. That’s exactly what I want.
However, I would also like to be able to export it to MMD (so I could edit it on other machines and round-trip it back to Scrivener). Currently, exporting to MMD doesn’t work because a) I don’t have extra newlines between paragraphs, and b) the MMD export does not include proper manuscript formatting. Now, I think I could fix both of these, by manually adding the newlines and setting the proper XSLT. But then the newlines would screw up the export to Word.
Is there a way to automatically manage this? I’d love to automatically add/remove newlines when I imported/exported MMD files. Or, do I need to just bite the bullet and do everything in MMD (and figure out how to get the manuscript formatting working propery in MMD).
Note: My preferred workflow would be to use MMD to pass around drafts, and export directly to Word when it is finished. I want a simple solution, that means minimizing the number of things I need to set up or adjust for each new document.
You are definitely right, there is a bit of a gap right now and it has less to do with Scrivener and more to do with MMD. The problem is, MMD was designed by and for people who mainly use LaTeX for their document publishing, not Word—so it is a more academically biased workflow. MMD has, on the Mac, an RTF exporter, but it is very simple not easy to control in regards to formatting—it also doesn’t support important features like footnotes and so on, since it originates from a quick appearance-only conversion of an HTML file. It’s okay for sending drafts to people that want something easier to edit than PDF (which LaTeX->PDF otherwise does quite nicely), but probably more hassle than it is worth for actual submissions via Word. Again, it’s just not set up for the mainstream publishing world, it was never meant to be. The best it can do in this regard is produce a submission spec manuscript PDF. That’s fine if the publish accepts PDFs. Check out the manuscript-novel.xslt and sffms.xslt variants.
The problem is less in Scrivener, than what MMD is currently capable of. If one works in a full MMD workflow, producing and distributing material from a single source, it doesn’t matter if the paragraphs are double spaced or not. Optimally, an expansion of MMD for mainstream publication would include a richer RTF exporter that produced something that could be easily converted to any stylesheet in Word. Such doesn’t exist at the moment, and a big part of that is because the majority of the user-base working with MMD doesn’t have a very high opinion of the word processor workflow, and so spending a lot of time creating a proper RTF XSLT or even specific word processor format generators have never materialised—for the same reason you don’t see many good plug-ins for Word that make LaTeX files.
I have it on my semi-long-term list to help bridge this gap, but realistically with everything else on my plate, something like that probably won’t materialise until early 2011 or so. But it is my hope that this gap will no longer exist, opening up feasible MMD usage to more than just academics and technical authors.
Thanks, I mostly just wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.
I think being able to automatically add/strip extra newlines when importing/exporting would go a long way towards bridging the gap. It would allow people to write using their preferred settings, but still export either direction. At least, that would give me 90% of what I need, since I primarily want to use MMD to export and import drafts to other editors/word processors while maintaining the document’s hierarchy.
Also, auto setting appropriate XSLTs for a given Template would be nice (for example, if I’m using a short story template, it would be nice if it defaulted to a manuscript formatting XSLT). But, that’s not as important.
I agree with you on that, and its easy to put an XSLT code into the template projects for MMD. Of course, for most templates that code is irrelevant, but for the MMD specific ones there should be a little setup like that. There already is, I think.
You are right that paragraph spacing would help a bit, but really exporting an MMD project as an RTF file, even if you expanded paragraphs, would look kind of wonky unless the source text has hardly any formatting at all. You’d have asterisks and brackets and such all over the place. Fine for proofs I guess, but certainly not for submissions.