Collaborating With Scrivener

Ji
JimRac
Posts: 650
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 2:06 pm
Platform: Win + iOS

Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:21 pm Post

Hi Sulcata,

My takeaway from your interesting post is you are saying that Scrivener can be used as a collaborative platform *now*, by putting the Scrivener project under a version control tool.

Is this the correct interpretation? If so, have you successfully implemented it, or are you just theorizing?

Thanks,
Jim

User avatar
devinganger
Posts: 1117
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:55 pm
Platform: Mac, Win + iOS
Location: Monroe, WA 98272 (CN97au)
Contact:

Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:59 pm Post

I would be very interested in a concrete example of *successful* collaboration with Scrivener using version control. My previous experiments were not encouraging, in part because Scrivener is not really like any other type of document. Standard source control techniques don't apply, because of the mix of being RTF (so "diff" style tools for conflict resolution don't work) and being an intricately linked multi-file format (so multiple people editing the same project at the same time could simultaneously modify some of the key XML files and create other types of hard-to-resolve conflicts).
--
Devin L. Ganger, WA7DLG
Not a L&L employee; opinions are those of my cat
Winner "Best in Class", 2018 My First Supervillain Photo Shoot

User avatar
kewms
Posts: 3927
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:22 pm
Platform: Mac

Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:30 pm Post

Ahem.

Your friendly support person here, reminding you that allowing any tool other than Scrivener itself to edit the contents of a Scrivener project is not supported, and is entirely at your own risk.That includes allowing Git or a similar tool to resolve differences between versions.

Katherine
Scrivener Support Team

bt
bturnage
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2015 11:13 am
Platform: Mac

Wed Feb 28, 2018 8:21 am Post

"Now, sure, you can go all Mythbusters on that Lamborghini and figure out a series of modifications that could be applied to the car that would allow it, technically, to be a helicopter. You could brute-force it and get something that manages to get off the ground. However, it's not going to be a GOOD helicopter. It won't do the kinds of things that you can do with a real helicopter. It won't have the range, the safety features, the cargo capacity, the passenger capacity, and all the other features and requirements a real helicopter is designed to meet. It's a one-off hack that is not usable on a regular basis."

This was exactly the same sort of argument used when I suggested in another forum that you add integration with ProWriting Aid. Now, I'm not anyone special. Just a writer, a professional writer that has to churn out lots of words daily to keep my little freelancing business going. I'm not doing it for a lark, or fun, or sheer enjoyment of putting words to page. It's my job, and therefore anything I can use to do my job better, I take it, shake it, and work it to get the results I need. But here's the thing. I'm your customer. I'm telling you what I need. And as fabulous as Scrivener for organizing writing projects, it is not the sole need I have.

In other words, it's just fine for the writer producing a few manuscripts in their lifetime. But it simply does not offer the features to make those words a professional product.

The biggest frustration I have as an indie producer of books is that while Scrivener has an awesome program for file converter to any book format I need, I cannot rely on Scrivener to produce the quality of editing needed for the final product. I end up having to switch between other products to achieve this.

I need a decent grammar editor. Sorry. Scrivener is not it. Grammarly comes close to being the perfect grammar editor, and thought it is not 100%, it is close enough that I can contract it as a standard with my clients. I need a really, really good online thesaurus like Master Writer.and a word editing program like Pro Writing Aid or Auto Crit. I need a consistency checker like Perfect-It (which I'm beta testing and it shows promise.) I also need a lexical density checker like what you find for free on Analyze My Writing. You might consider this all above the paygrade of Scrivener and at its current price point, you are probably right. But a professional package like the above, fully integrated, and appropriately priced would be worth it to a professional writer like me. Then Scrivener would be a Lamborghini instead of the very nice Cadillac it is. The time saved between switching programs would make it worth the money.

The fact is ProWriting Aid did take your multi-file structure and instead of thinking of it as the big obstacle to integration, made it its strength. I can close up my Scrivener file, open up the ProWriting Aid desktop app, and edit an entire book chapter by chapter in a single day. Think of it. One day and essential style edits are complete. But to catch the grammar I have to copy and paste then edit it all in Grammarly, then copy and past it back into Scrivener, then work ProWriting Aid. You see what a small headache that is.

I adore Scrivener, but it's not enough to help a writer to get out professional quality work on a timely basis. And if your customers say they need collaboration integration, then they'll go somewhere to get it. The days of the lone writer working for two or three years on a manuscript and submitting it to a publisher is gone. Now publishing is writing a book, editing and, formatting then uploading it inside a month. Someone is going to provide a writing and editing platform to do this and when that happens, if it isn't Scrivener, it will be someone else. Then Scrivener users will be like the Mac users of today, (of which I'm one) who cling to a platform they adore but seems to be sinking into obsolescence.

Just saying.

User avatar
lunk
Posts: 2719
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:24 pm
Platform: Mac + iOS
Location: Sweden 64° N

Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:11 am Post

bturnage wrote:I'm not anyone special. Just a writer, a professional writer that has to churn out lots of words daily to keep my little freelancing business going. I'm not doing it for a lark, or fun, or sheer enjoyment of putting words to page. It's my job, and therefore anything I can use to do my job better, I take it, shake it, and work it to get the results I need. But here's the thing. I'm your customer. I'm telling you what I need. And as fabulous as Scrivener for organizing writing projects, it is not the sole need I have.


Yes, you are a customer and as such you are free to buy or not buy whatever you want or need, whether it is for pleasure or joy.

Your logic is in my eyes equivalent to me saying:
"I read what you wrote and I don't like that genre. I want you to write what I like. And here's the thing. I'm your customer. I'm telling you what I need. And as fabulous as your writing might be, it is not the need I have. "

L&L is a commercial company, selling a product. Their success depends on a sufficient number or people thinking that their product is good enough to make them buy it. When KB considers changing the product, he has to think about how such a change would affect current and future customers. If 20% of the customers would applaud a certain change and 80% would dump the product, it would be stupid to do that change, right?
I am a user, writing non-fiction and science, using:
* Mac Scrivener 3 on a Macbook 12”, MacBook Pro 13”, and iMac 27”, all running the latest MacOS
* iOS Scrivener 1 on an iPhone 8, iPad Air 9.7”, and iPad Pro 12.9”, all running the latest iOS

Ah
Ahab
Posts: 732
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 8:00 pm
Location: Maine

Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:38 am Post

bturnage wrote:"

I adore Scrivener, but it's not enough to help a writer to get out professional quality work on a timely basis. And if your customers say they need collaboration integration, then they'll go somewhere to get it. The days of the lone writer working for two or three years on a manuscript and submitting it to a publisher is gone. Now publishing is writing a book, editing and, formatting then uploading it inside a month. Someone is going to provide a writing and editing platform to do this and when that happens, if it isn't Scrivener, it will be someone else. Then Scrivener users will be like the Mac users of today, (of which I'm one) who cling to a platform they adore but seems to be sinking into obsolescence.

Just saying.


Another professional writer here, and a professional editor to boot, busily churning out professional quality work on Scrivener for, hmmmm, the past dozen years? And a couple dozen before that using Word. Though admittedly I'm not writing and editing and formatting and uploading a book in a month. Mine typically take two or three years. I hope no one tells my publishers those days are gone.

Different tools for different uses--and users.. For my purposes, and for many other professional writers of my acquaintance, Scrivener is the lobster's waistcoat.

Just saying.

User avatar
AmberV
Posts: 22059
Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 4:30 am
Platform: Mac + Linux
Location: Santiago de Compostela, Galiza
Contact:

Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:18 pm Post

The irony here is that you are posting in a thread that is seeking to find a way to make Scrivener the very antithesis of what you firmly believe to be the only and one true way toward the future of writing software. :) You’re not only way off-topic, you are demonstrating the fundamental problem with software design that tries to cater, as you put, to the customer in all things.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

Ma
Marc
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:19 am
Platform: Windows

Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:27 pm Post

kewms wrote:There are some additional features coming in Scrivener 3 that will help facilitate serial collaboration.

Real-time collaboration, on the other hand, is a very heavy technical and infrastructure lift. Among other things, it requires that the documents in question be stored in a central "cloud" location, with all the complexity that involves. There's a reason why an enormous company like Google is the leader in this space.

Katherine


I'm a little curious. Serial collaboration is a term I've never run across, so I'm not sure how that works. I get the concept behind real time collaboration— but I think real time collaboration might be an overreach as a request by the original poster at present since you can't always be sure a collaborator would be available for, well, real time collaboration at all times. Add in that from all I can tell L&L doesn't have the staff needed to even set something like that into the program anyway, and it seems like it might be asking too much from the program, at least as it stands. If L&L got more people to work on it, maybe it could work. But I somehow don't think that will ever be a consideration unless they get some kind of massive and unexpected windfall that would allow for that.

I'm assuming that 'serial collaboration' means just writing in something, saving it in dropbox (or emailing it, assuming that files sent by email don't get screwed up by being emailed), having your collaborator/co-author/whatever then do their work on it and send it back the same way. I honestly see nothing wrong with that concept, as again, you can't always be sure that you'd have someone else on hand who could work on a manuscript with you in real time. Am I the only one who feels that way? I mean, real time collabs are a nice idea, but even with Google Docs, I've never seen collaboration genuinely happen in real time.

Just my two cents.

User avatar
kewms
Posts: 3927
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:22 pm
Platform: Mac

Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:29 pm Post

Real time collaboration involves two or more people working on a document at the same time. From the software point of view, it doesn't really matter whether a team is working all day, every day, or a couple of collaborators are getting together to review one set of edits one time. The software problem is more or less the same, and Scrivener can't do it.

Serial collaboration -- as I used the term -- is as you describe, person A sends a file off to person B for review, then incorporates their changes later. I was referring specifically to the Import and Merge feature in Scrivener 3.

Katherine
Scrivener Support Team

Ma
Marc
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:19 am
Platform: Windows

Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:00 pm Post

Ahh. Cool. Thanks for the clarification. 8)

User avatar
xiamenese
Posts: 3628
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 1:32 am
Platform: Mac
Location: London or Exeter, UK.

Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:09 pm Post

I collaborate serially with a friend in China simply by having our various projects in a shared Sync (Dropbox being blocked over there) folder. Fortunately we are 8 hours apart, which is a PITA for other purposes, but really good for our collaborating as we are rarely able to access any current project at the same time. If your collaborator is in (nearly) the same time zone, you have to schedule access to the project or rely on the merge facility in Scrivener 3 as mentioned by Katherine.

As for real-time collaboration in Scrivener, I think if you could find out how many person-hours it took for Google to get Google Docs ironed out, or for Apple to get it to work in Pages—assuming it does—and how much it cost, then factored those up for the complexities that Scrivener's package format brings to the task … doesn't seem a viable proposition to me. If L&L sold out to Adobe, it might happen, but God forbid!

:)

Mark
The Scrivenato sometimes known as Mr X.
rMBP 13" (early 2015) 10.13.3, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSID
MBP17" (late 2011) 10.13, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSID
iPad Air 2, iOS 11, 64GB
Scrivener, Scapple, Nisus Writer Pro, Bookends …

User avatar
devinganger
Posts: 1117
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:55 pm
Platform: Mac, Win + iOS
Location: Monroe, WA 98272 (CN97au)
Contact:

Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:22 pm Post

xiamenese wrote:I collaborate serially with a friend in China simply by having our various projects in a shared Sync (Dropbox being blocked over there) folder. Fortunately we are 8 hours apart, which is a PITA for other purposes, but really good for our collaborating as we are rarely able to access any current project at the same time. If your collaborator is in (nearly) the same time zone, you have to schedule access to the project or rely on the merge facility in Scrivener 3 as mentioned by Katherine.


It would be nice if desktop Scrivener could at least include a semaphore file inside the package, basically saying "this project is opened on this computer", so that other Scrivener instances (whether my own on other computers or those of a collaborator) that were syncing with it could alert the user(s) that someone else has the project actively opened.
--
Devin L. Ganger, WA7DLG
Not a L&L employee; opinions are those of my cat
Winner "Best in Class", 2018 My First Supervillain Photo Shoot

User avatar
AmberV
Posts: 22059
Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 4:30 am
Platform: Mac + Linux
Location: Santiago de Compostela, Galiza
Contact:

Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:12 pm Post

Well that it does.

Code: Select all

Project_Root.scriv
    Files/
        user.lock


Open that up in a text editor and you’ll see everything that is needed to determine whether the thing opening the project is the same thing (scenario: post crash) or a different thing (including other compatible software, like Aeon Timeline). If it is a different thing, this info is used to describe the details of what appears to be using the project at the time, in a warning.

The warning gives you the option to either continue—safe to do if you’re positive it is a false positive—duplicate the project and work on a copy, or cancel out and go close it on the other machine or whatever you need to do.

Creating a copy when someone else has the project open is a more viable option in v3 than it was in the past. The copy will be created directly alongside the original—and so if real-time syncing is in use, both instances will be in the same place.

When you are done editing the fork, they can use the File ▸ Import ▸ Scrivener Project... menu command, if the importing project has the same internal origination tags as the imported project you will have the opportunity to merge the two forks. The merge uses much of the same logic that is used to merge iOS projects, and the result is much the same—very seamless so long as the two parties did not edit the same items (and then one gets duplicated conflicts they can easily resolve). It is typically very clean, and once done the fork can be deleted.

A procedure, specifically designed for parallel (not purely sequential) collaboration, using this very method is outlined in the user manual starting on page 69, within §5.1.7, Merging Projects.

It’s not real time editing, but as many have pointed out above, that’s like asking your local tractor mechanic to fix your Porsche (or turn it into a helicopter). I’d say parallel “check out” and “check in” style editing is a pretty good alternative to that, and not altogether too different from what you would get, mechanically speaking, from something like git. The difference of course is that as devinganger pointed out, with git you need a Scrivener expert on your staff to handle merges—and by expert I mean someone that can rebuild a project by hand using text editors. With file import you have that expert.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

User avatar
devinganger
Posts: 1117
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:55 pm
Platform: Mac, Win + iOS
Location: Monroe, WA 98272 (CN97au)
Contact:

Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:30 pm Post

AmberV wrote:Well that it does.

Code: Select all

Project_Root.scriv
    Files/
        user.lock




Hot damn. I guess I don't break Scrivener nearly often enough! :)
--
Devin L. Ganger, WA7DLG
Not a L&L employee; opinions are those of my cat
Winner "Best in Class", 2018 My First Supervillain Photo Shoot

bm
bmcraec
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:31 pm
Platform: Mac

Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:26 pm Post

Quakified is the typo of the day. Thank you!

lunk wrote:"Let me introduce, the Lambocopter! The Swiss army knife equivalent when it comes to vehicles!"

... which means it isn't really good for anything, which Devinganger explained in a fantastic way. Specialized tools always out-perform multi-purpose tools when it comes to really quakified work. Ask any carpenter...
Including more and more specialized tools in a single software is like buying a carpenters belt filled with tools. It's likely to hold some of the tools you need but not all, and definitely also a lot of stuff you don't need.