Working off of network drives (MobileMe, thumb drives...)

wm
wmike1503
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Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:41 pm Post

On my Mountain Lion machine - Scrivener regularly refuses to acknowledge my network HD resulting in my project being saved locally and Scrivener shutting down..This is not good. When opening Scrivener, recent files only shows anything saved to my local disk.

I expect any piece of software to be able to save my files to the hard disk (network) that I choose, and then to make them available to open from within the software when I want to work on them - this is a major failing of Scrivener and needs sorting out.

A further issue is that Scrivener regularly leaves me looking at the 'spinning ball' - this is on an iMac with 12GB ram and not a lot else happening. Very disappointing.

Model Name: iMac
Model Identifier: iMac11,3
Processor Name: Intel Core i3
Processor Speed: 3.2 GHz
Number of Processors: 1
Total Number of Cores: 2
L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
L3 Cache: 4 MB
Memory: 12 GB
Processor Interconnect Speed: 5.86 GT/s
Boot ROM Version: IM112.0057.B01
SMC Version (system): 1.59f2

OS X 10.8.2 (12C60)

Scrivener 2.3.1

Mike

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KB
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Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:01 pm Post

I'm sorry you're having problems, but this isn't a "major failing" of Scrivener at all, but something going on on your computer - it's not something I can "sort out", I'm afraid. Scrivener's access to the file system is entirely handled by OS X, not by Scrivener. Every open panel, every save operation, every save panel - every single window that Scrivener provides upon the file system and every single interaction with it - is all handled by OS X; by Apple's code, not by Scrivener. So if Scrivener does not acknowledge your network HD, then this is OS X not providing Scrivener with access to the HD, not Scrivener failing to see it or connect to it. The issue is therefore to try to pinpoint what it is on your machine that is causing these problems.

Do you have any anti-virus software running, for instance?

Also, which version of Scrivener are you using - the one bought from the Mac App Store or the one from our site? In order for Scrivener to be sold on the Mac App Store, it has to be sandboxed, and Apple's sandboxing security layer can cause problems with access to some resources, I believe, especially if security software is involved.

All the best,
Keith
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wm
wmike1503
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Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:31 pm Post

Interesting - all my other programs access my HD correctly. This was purchased from the App Store.

So what you are suggesting - Apple do something to the software making it unable to deal with resources correctly when purchased from the App store. Therefore nothing to do with you. Tough on me. Well, this is a standard response in the Mac world. I think I'll refrain from purchasing the Windows version and look for something that works as it should. Very disappointing - but not surprising.

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Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:47 pm Post

Yes, this is a "standard response", given that our standard response to users' technical issues is to try to help them resolve them as best as we can, which is what I had hoped to do here. As part of that, I explained how the file system works, and how Scrivener's access to it is all handled by OS X. Even though this is not likely to be a Scrivener issue, I most certainly did not say "tough on you" - in fact, I asked you several questions so that I could get more information in order to try to help you. As I said in my previous reply, the issue is trying to pinpoint what it is on your machine causing the problem, because this is not a general problem with Scrivener - we would be receiving hundreds of complaints about this if it were. If it turns out to be a Scrivener issue, you can rest assured that I will do everything in my power to fix it. Just take a look at the change list on our product page or my responses to bug reports on these forums - you will see that my "standard response" is to do everything I can to ensure Scrivener is as stable as possible and bug-free. Scrivener has a reputation for being stable, and I do my utmost to maintain that.

If I say that I think an issue is not likely to be caused by Scrivener, I don't say this lightly; I say it from experience and from my knowledge of the code (I am the programmer). And even when something is not likely to be a problem with Scrivener, we still do our best to help users track the exact cause and resolve things. So if you are interested in getting some help rather than assuming the worst about us or Scrivener, then please read on...

First, you didn't answer whether you have any anti-virus or security software installed - do you? This makes a difference. If you do, what software is it? For instance, ESET CyberSecurity is known to cause problems.

The next thing to do is to establish is whether this is indeed a Mac App Store sandboxing problem. To establish that, move Scrivener to the Trash and download the non-sandboxed version from our website:

http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scriv ... atform=mac

Install that version. As long as you have run the Mac App Store version once, as you have, the version on our site recognises you as a registered user, so you are free to use it.

Please let me know whether the direct-download version has the same problems. If it does, then it's most likely something else on your computer interfering, and we have to look into what that is. If the direct-download version works fine, then this suggests that the problem is caused by the sandboxing security features that the Mac App Store insists upon. Even then, this *shouldn't* happen, and it suggests a clash with some third-party software that you are running - which, again,is why it's important that I know if you do have any security software installed.

If not, do you have any other plugins installed?
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kewms
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Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:02 pm Post

FWIW, Mountain Lion has some known issues with networking, even when you're connecting one Mountain Lion system to another. Among other things, it's prone to dropping "idle" connections even though the system on the other end is still using the drive.

Few software programs handle it well if you yank their hard drive without warning.

Katherine
Scrivener Support Team

wm
wmike1503
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Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:26 pm Post

No 'yanking of drive' here. Simply - a user should be able to save and open form a network drive. My other various wp programs all achieve this with no difficulty - Scrivener does not. I should not have to be messing around getting Scrivener to work. My external drive is mounted correctly - all my other programs work with it - just not Scrivener. Sorry if this annoys - I can only speak as I find.

By the way, I have no virus software installed.

Thanks.

Mike

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kewms
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Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:02 pm Post

wmike1503 wrote:No 'yanking of drive' here.


You missed my point, which was that *Mountain Lion* will, under some circumstances, disconnect network drives. I have personally experienced this. If you think having Scrivener fail to save is annoying, wait until it happens to your Quicken database.

Blasting Scrivener for something that could easily be due to a known Mountain Lion issue is somewhat unfair, as is expecting Scrivener to handle this kind of OS error gracefully.

Moreover, in your anger with Scrivener -- however justified it might or might not be -- you have declined to answer several direct questions that might actually lead to a diagnosis of the underlying problem.

Katherine
Scrivener Support Team

wm
wmike1503
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Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:35 am Post

I have answered the questions asked. Ridiculous.

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KB
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Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:58 pm Post

wmike1503 wrote:I have answered the questions asked. Ridiculous.


I provided instructions for downloading and installing the direct-download version and asked you to let me know if that made a difference, as I explained that this will let us know if the issue has anything to do with sandboxing in the MAS version. This is the main thing to try, but you made no mention of it. Have you done this yet? Please let me know the results. You also didn't answer my question about plugins. We want to help, but we can't get to the bottom of things unless you follow the steps we ask you to take and provide us with the information we request.
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wmike1503
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Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:40 pm Post

Yep - done what you asked - no difference. I use a number of wordprocessors and Writers Cafe - ALL work with no difficulties accessing drives. Not helpful to insist that it is the OS - clearly, if all these other programmes work - it is not.

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KB
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Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:00 pm Post

wmike1503 wrote:Yep - done what you asked - no difference. I use a number of wordprocessors and Writers Cafe - ALL work with no difficulties accessing drives. Not helpful to insist that it is the OS - clearly, if all these other programmes work - it is not.


That's not necessarily true. The fact is that Scrivener does *nothing* special with the file system, and that it interacts with the file system only through OS X. I'm not trying to brush you off there; I'm just explaining the facts. I'm sorry you don't find that "helpful". Anyway, now that you have answered my other questions, we can rule out sandboxing as the issue. I think, from your description, it is probably just down to the fact that Scrivener's file format is a file package, and Scrivener loads from and saves to that package lazily, unlike many programs, and so is more dependent on the file always being available, making it more susceptible to temporary dropped network connections if a file is stored on a network drive.

The thing is that when Scrivener goes to save, it just invokes a standard Cocoa (OS X framework) method. It's then up to OS X to take that and save the data to the necessary location. If OS X can't do that for some reason, the file system tells Scrivener that something has gone wrong, and Scrivener alerts the user. Scrivener saves more frequently than other programs (because of its custom autosave routines) and is therefore more prone to encountering dropped network connections than apps that store all of their document data in memory. A program that uses a "flat" file format such as Word or TextEdit or most programs, in fact, doesn't have to rely on the network always being available since the entire document is stored in memory. But this isn't how Scrivener works - Scrivener files can grow massive, containing all sorts of research, and so Scrivener only loads files into memory from the .scriv file package as and when it needs them, keeping everything fast. But this means that the .scriv file must always be available - if the network drops out temporarily, Scrivener won't be able to work. As I say, in programs that have all files in memory, this won't be as much of an issue. But certainly, from your description, the only explanation is that the file system is telling Scrivener that the file path at which the project is stored is not available when it goes to save.

For this reason, we generally don't recommend working from projects on network drives.

Whether you choose to believe me or not, this isn't something I can change without changing the entire way that Scrivener saves, and doing that would mean that we would have to remove all of Scrivener's research features and use a flat file format. If Scrivener doesn't meet your needs, Apple is generally very good about refunds if you give them a good reason, so if you explain to them that you need to run Scrivener files from a network drive but its file format isn't ideal for that sort of usage, I'm sure they will give you your money back. Again, I'm not trying to fob you off - we'd hate to lose you, but you're clearly not happy and I get the impression that my explanation isn't going to be what you wanted to hear.
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wmike1503
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Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:14 pm Post

Wow - that is a major failing.

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Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:00 pm Post

Just to clarify, are we talking about a network drive here - accessed via a network - or an external hard drive? You mention both, and the latter certainly should not be a problem.
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wmike1503
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Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:09 am Post

A simple home network - a NAS attached to a router. For the last time this should not be a problem for any software to achieve. This is a common setup found in thousand of homes.

It is obvious to me, that Scrivener cannot cope, certainly via OS X. A pretty poor show giving the paying customer pretty vague excuses. If a piece of software is designed to work with an OS - it should be able to handle it's file management system.

We are just going around the houses here. For whatever the reason - this is a major failing for this customer. A pity because Scrivener is a nice piece of software. There are competitors that do not have this obvious flaw.

I don't have anymore time to give to this. I will have to choose a competitor that can work properly with OS X.

Thank you for your attention.

Dr
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Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:10 am Post

Hardly `vague excuses' - I learned a lot from the very patient explanations.
Hardly a major failing: if it were there'd be a lot more grumpy noise about it.
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