ZigVersion and other ways of backing up parts of a project


I’m trying to find a better way of keeping backups of my Scrivener project. Right now I just do a lot of manual backups to an external hard drive, but I’d really like to get something going online (password protected etc) so that even if everything blows up I don’t lose any Scrivener code.

Would Subversion be useful for this? Or would it be overkill? I don’t need to collaborate with anyone, obviously; this is just for my own backup purposes.

If Subversion would be useful, has anyone any experience of ZigVersion?


It looks pretty cool, a nice Mac UI to Subversion.

Or are there better ways of doing this. I’m really crap at backup; it’s only a matter of time before I lose a couple of weeks’ work on Scrivener and I don’t want that to happen!

All the best,

I can send you an invite to dropbox (or others on the forum possibly could as well). It handles revisions and you won’t have to set up your own subversion server. Let me know.

KB is this for scriv source or other “artistic” works? My answer changes depending on your answer.

Although it is setup for a multi-user environment (which makes it more important), Subversion is pretty useful for tracking changes to your code etc.

Like “snapshots”, except it will highlight the actual changes at a line by line level, which can be very useful if you accidentally introduce a bug in your code - not only is it easy to rollback to a previous version, you can also just view the changes and figure out what you have changed that is likely to change the bug. Very useful if you fiddle with something briefly, then go and do some more major work elsewhere and completely forget those initial changes.

And it also offers useful Version Control, branching, tagging, etc. (so you have a mainline branch which contains the current release code, and another branch for the latest beta, and another branch for your current major upgrade). At some point your major upgrade could get merged with the beta, and then when the beta is accepted it can be merged back onto the mainline, etc, and you would be able to track the changes you have made between all of them.

Obviously there are lots of systems that can do this sort of thing, but we use Subversion at work, and I find it very useful.

Haven’t used ZigVersion though, as we work on Windows and just use TortoiseSVN.


It is good someone here can read. KB is clearly talking code. I am a … (where’s vic-k? Plug his ears.) moron.

KB, I would caution you about using a service that does not provide you a pretty tight NDA. Your code is your business and you need to protect it like a child.

That said, go with a subversion (svn) service all day long. Most of these services will have an http interface to allow you to see diffs, check in/out, tag, publish editions and branches without needing a local client. We run our own codex server at the office and folks use tortoise, cervesa (linux/solaris) or whatever they want to access the server.

Another option that you may want to consider is an association with another software house to share services. Maybe one of the teams you have collaborated with will give you access to a svn repo for a small fee. I would still look for an NDA, but existing good will might make it easier/cheaper to get.

A third option is finding someone in the scriverati+3 that can provide some level of off site mirror for you. You could look at a svn, simple mirror of a common site, or some other arrangement. Again NDA and a written agreement should be considered mandatory.

Just my $US0.035. That is about £0.02 at today’s exchange.

Well, I actually know a couple of people using dropbox for coding (not sure if jaysen was referring to my suggestion as one of the non-readers). SVN is great as long as you don’t have to maintain the actual server (in my opinion at least). Obviously, SVN has much more granular control but if you’re just looking for offsite backups and some basic versioning dropbox is pretty nice.

Pretty sure he was referring to his own question of whether it was for art or code when the text made it blatantly obvious!

Maintaining an SVN server isn’t too difficult. We have one setup at work (admittedly on site, and we do off-site backups from there), and it rarely gives us any bother.


Yeah, I didn’t really think it was aimed at me but I’m kind of ignorant of the intricacies of SVN.

My comment was entirely self-deprecating. He actually used the work “code”.

We may be overcomplicating this. Matt and I are used to “big house” mentalities and may be needlessly overcomplicating KB’s request. If all he wants is an off site repo then a simple dropbox sync of a file would meet KB’s needs (my paranoia say that you create a crypted disk image and sync the image file, not the contents of the image). If no real revision management is needed you can’t get any easier than this.

On the other hand IF KB wants some scm then a simple solution would be a local cvs repo in a dropbox style sync service (i believe xcode has integration to cvs/svn and can do local repo for both). Since no colab is needed the larger advantage that Matt and i see everyday with svn may be more irritating to KB.

So KB, confused yet?

My webhost allows for setting up svn (and I’m sure most do). So, maybe KB’s webhost may offer this as well. He’d then just need to set up the connection from his machine to the server. But, as I mentioned previously, I’m pretty clueless when it comes to SVN.

Dropbox is still in private beta, right? It looks pretty neat, but I’m wondering just how much it is going to cost when it is out…

Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Please do keep them coming!

All the best,

From what I’ve read on the dropbox forums. The 2GB beta account is yours to keep for free and there will be paid upgrades if you need more space.

As Robert says, Dropbox maintain that the 2GB will always be free, with the option to upgrade for more space.

Can someone invite me into the beta then? :slight_smile: Or can I just sign up somewhere?


I’ll sort you out. Which email address? The contact@ one?

Hugh has already very kindly sorted me out with an invite. Thanks Hugh! And thanks Antony, too, for offering.
I’m off to Cornwall for a week tomorrow (house hunting), so I probably won’t get chance to check it out before I get back now, but I’ll let you know how I get on when I do.
Thanks again,

And just in case anyone else tries to PM me asking for an invite (cos it’s already happened :wink: ) I’m afraid I won’t be online for a while either, potentially all week. So someone else will have to sort you out, sorry.

OK. I’ve still got eight “invitations”. As Antony indicates in a previous post, your email address is required. Include it in a PM to me if you want one.


I have some as well. Send me a PM with you email and I’ll set you up (if I have any left of course).

Antony having sent me one just before he disappeared, I too have some invites available. Just PM me.