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Scrivener for Bloggers

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 8:00 am
by martol
Hello Scriveners,

I am new to Scrivener, and have also just begun my serious pursuit of entering into the blogging world.

How do you bloggers use Scrivener in that process? I can see how Scrivener will be great for capturing thoughts and editing into blog-ready entries.

Assuming I get my blog site up and running through a hosting service (like Squarespace), then what?

What's the best way to get the entry from Scrivener to the blog? Just copy & paste? Any tips or tricks that you've found? Any pitfalls to avoid in managing your text in each platform?

Any other advice for a newbie Scrivener-Blogger?

Thank you!

martol

Posted: Wed Dec 20, 2006 10:26 am
by AmberV
I have been considering using Scrivener for a web publishing tool, myself, though not particularly a blog -- close enough. For me, I'm using MultiMarkdown, which is a Markdown compatible super-set. So if your blog engine takes MD styled text, that could be an option to look in to. For me, since I'm not using a blog application and site structure, I'll be generating full pages from Scrivener (but certainly not the full site!)

The first problem that I ran in to was simple: Scrivener is primarily designed to generate one document at the end of the day. So that leaves me with a choice: Create a new Scriv file for each article, or find a way to bend the rules. I would say, without MMD, the application is a bit more flexible in this regard. You can select any point in the Binder to be "root" during export. The same is true for MMD -- but the meta-data information is stored in the project, and is thus global. You would have to change the title and all that every time you exported. So what I've done is deleted all but global meta-data from that area, and opted to just put it straight into the Binder, under each section that is a new article. This works okay if I export as straight MMD. The produced file has a gap between one essential bit of meta-data, and the ones I supply in a document. This will foul up the exporter if I go straight to XHTML.

As I said, the other alternative is to make a new Scrivener project file for each article. Using Scrivener's template feature would actually make this relatively painless, and ultimately, I think that is the direction I will go. I just tend toward the all-inclusive based on my background with mega-archival applications that encourage dumping everything from grocery lists to thesis research into it. For blogs, well depending on what style you have in mind, a new Scrivener project for each entry might be a bit much! If you style is going to lean more toward long articles with a lot of research and drafting, then that is a different matter.

Some advice: You probably will want to use the exporter, even if you only use it on a small portion of the Binder at once. This will allow you to put research directly into the Binder without it getting in the way. The exporter does not export documents without the "Include in Export" flag checked, by default. And you can also opt to ignore annotations and footnotes. On the other hand you can export bits that would be otherwise very obnoxious to transfer, such as all of the keywords associated with a document. If your blogging software uses tags or keywords, this could be a handy way to move them over.

Posted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 5:52 pm
by CountZero
Interesting. I also use Scrivener to compose 'serious' blog posts (as oppose to my personal blog where less consideration is given to the content).

The way I use Scrivener is very different. I use document for each blog post and use the notes area as scratch pad. I also use the keywords feature as a way to store categories or tags for the posts. As for notes/research that is longer, I add a new document for each note and this document will be underneath either the Research or Notes folder.

The only thing I miss in this setup is that I still need to copy & paste the final draft into Word to double check my grammar :-)

Ecto to help

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 1:40 am
by mactheweb
I've been using WriteRoom for my blogging, actually all my original composition, for the past few months but am switching to Scrivener. Here's the process I've been using. I've tested it with Scrivener and it works the same way.

There is a desktop blogging tool called Ecto that will take the content of any OS X services aware program, which Scrivener is, and sends it to your blog with a couple clicks.

Write what you want to post in Scrivener.
Select all the text. Keyboard shortcut: Command + A
In the Scrivener menu choose Services
In the Services sub-menu choose either Insert Selected Text or New Draft With Text. Either will do. Keyboard shortcut: Command + Shift + 2

Ecto will open with a new draft. Click Ecto's Publish button and your entry will post to your blog.

MarsEdit, another desktop blog tool might have this feature, too. Both offer free trials.

I know that Scrivener has a built in Markdown to XHTML export feature but that takes another step to post to a blog. If you are happy using the original Markdown features, there is another OS X Service that facilitates formatting in the body of your document, without having to export. That's the HumaneText.service.

Between selecting all your text and moving it to Ecto you use the service Convert Humane Text to format your post into XHTML. Then send to Ecto.

Using the System Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse > Keyboard Shortcuts, you can even assign a keyboard combination to this service. I use Keyboard shortcut: Command + Option + Control + M.

This sounds complicated but sending a post to Ecto for blogging literally takes 2 seconds and three keyboard shortcuts:
Command + A (Select All)
Command + Option + Control + M (Convert text)
Command + Shift + 2 (Send to Ecto)

The second step isn't strictly necessary as Ecto does a pretty good job of handling Rich Text. But the conversion from Rich Text Format to web code doesn't include creating headers, which give your web page semantic meaning and helps with search engine optimization.

If you want to add images to your post it's much easier to do in Ecto than using Markdown or from you blog admin, much, much easier. Do so at that stage in the process. You can also add attachments like zipped files or PDF's easily in Ecto and it will handle placing them on your blog for you.

One last thought. Writing all you blog posts in a Scrivener document will give you a local copy as both a backup and allow you offline access to your writing. You will never want to write in a web page text area again.

Posted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 1:52 am
by CountZero
Yep, that would work really well for blog systems that have API exposed for desktop clients, such as MT, TypePad, WP, Drupal, etc. Unfortunately I've switched from TypePad to Vox which currently does not expose API for desktop client :-)

Thanks for mentioning ecto by the way, my partner Adriaan will be happy to hear this! (He works on the Mac version, while I work on the Windows version).