Idea: Linking back to Scrivener documents

Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:58 am
Platform: Mac

Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:00 am Post

Dear Matt,

Aeon has possibilities well beyond the reach of novelists and I hope this idea might expand your market.

It would be really useful if one could pull up the original document linked to in Scrivener from within Aeon, perhaps via a link in the inspector and/or using quickview.

With a really complex timeline its often really hard to find that document again in Scrivener to read it.

There is nothing unusual about the documents stored in the Scrivener package - they are rtf, pfd etc so it should be easy to display with their native viewers.

How the feature would work for me:

1. I provided litigation support for small attorneys/companies as well as document management for phd students/researchers.
2. Specifically I arrange documents in chronological order, prepare timelines of event, and relationships of parties to each other. Scrivener is a phenomenal tool for doing this but too complex on its own for most clients.
2. I want to be able to give my clients a .scriv file with all the prepared documents and either purchase an aeon license for them or have them purchase it themselves.
3. The client is then able to use the timeline in aeon to view the documents and make notes for his personal use.
4. For clients the uniqueness of aeon is the unique view it gives them on events and their relationship to each other. They dont get this kind of graphical intuitiveness from Scrivener alone and it is too complex.

Aeon is fantastic. Already it feels like a version v2.0 release. It puts other timeline software to shame (and I have used most, including some boutique products that have unmentionably large price tags!). The interface is exceptionally smooth and very intuitive. The level of thought that has gone into the design of the interface is wonderful. Thank you for nailing the printing too - very few seem to get this right with the flexibility required.

Demonstrating Aeon to my clients I have been able to show them how to use it in less than 20 minutes and they have been phenomenally impresssed by its possibilities. The only downside at this point is that they can't go directly from the timeline to the document that is referred to - hence my request.

This feature is important enough for me that I would pay real money upfront prior to release to have it prioritised. I have no idea what the costs would be, but if you are interested please contact me and we can discuss it.

Thanks, Andrea

Posts: 1180
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:35 am

Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:56 am Post

Hi Andrea,
Firstly, thanks very much for the kind comments.

Document Links
With regards to document links generally, this sounds like something that should be possible and valuable - to store a link to a file location, and open it in either QuickLook or a default application for the file etc. if users click on it. It doesn't need to be a Scrivener document, it could be anything you choose to add (if syncing with Scrivener, the link could be generated automatically).

Of course, it would have all of those problems that are inherent with document linking - if you move stuff around on your file system a lot (like I tend to do, because I am too disorganised to pick a system and stick with it), then you might end up with a lot of broken links.

It seems that with Lion, the OS seems to keep track of moved files a little bit for you with their "Open Recent..." menu options etc, but I assume (without having done any investigation) anything they have in this regard would not be exposed to us mortal programmers.

Linking directly to Scrivener files
Linking directly to Scrivener documents has a different issue, which I will need to discuss with Keith or Ioa or one of those other Lit&Lat types.

In this case, I wonder if opening the file outside of Scrivener (especially if in an application that potentially allows editing) could lead to problems for the Scrivener project itself... It may cause it to need to re-build indexes again, or worse, lead to some of those corruption problems occasionally seen if editing the file in two places via DropBox etc.

An even better option would be to open the Scrivener project in Scrivener and somehow direct Scrivener to jump directly to the linked file. I have a feeling that is probably not possible at this point.

And then there is Apple's sandboxing, which theoretically takes all of this ability away.

Keith or Ioa, if you are reading, please jump in. Otherwise, I will have to use other means to draw your attention to the post, like knocking on your door at 3am.

All of which is my long way of saying that I think the idea has merit, but will need to put a bit of thought into how it could be achieved. Which at this point makes it post-1.0 release, but something I might look to do soon after.


Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:58 am
Platform: Mac

Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:42 am Post

Thanks for your reply Matt,

What I had in mind is a button in the inspector window which uses the data that is stored in aeonxml about the relationship between the aeon entry and the original scrivener document to locate and open the document from the scrivener package in quick look or an external editor.

Linking to documents within a .scriv file should mean that there is no problem with the documents moving as the links would all be relative to the .scriv package. I think that all documents in a scrivener package have a sequential file name that never changes. It seems to be you have already dealt with this problem in Aeon's sychronisation because at that point you are able to tie the aeon entries to the Scrivener documents wherever the .scriv file is located. (Looking through the aeonxml it looks like you are just storing the name of the scriv file and the id of the document, but I could be misunderstanding what it going on)

Personally I never keep Aeon and Scrivener open at the same time because I am aware of the conflicts that could arise from getting the metadata out of sync by editing it in both.

Until Scrivener supports applescript, or Keith gives some other kind of api, I cant see that it would be easily possible to open the document directly in scrivener.

In respect of non scrivener files the situation is obviously more complex (and less interesting to me personally).

I could imagine a scheme which, if the file cant be located, aeon uses spotlight to search for the location of the file, and either relinks directly or allows the user to choose the appropriate file if more than one file of the same name exists. This is the way windows trys to resolve broken shortcuts.

It may also be possible to store the aliases to the documents as part of an aeon package. If I remember correcly aliases are dynamic. The original may be moved to another place within the same filesystem, without breaking the link. MacOS uses the information stored in in the resource fork to locate the file.

Does Scrivener have real time updating indexes that would be effected

Scrivener has a button (which looks like a pair of compasses with an arrow over it) which specifically allows you to open a scrivener document in an external editor. I do this all the time using external editors to edit pdf files and preferring the interface in Byword for writing to Scrivener's native editing tools. I have never run across any problems doing this at all.

I cant be sure of this without searching the forums, but I think seeing somewhere that Scrivener uses spotlight for its searching and to build its indexes (??)

Good luck and keeping my fingers crossed to see this.

Posts: 1180
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 9:35 am

Sun Feb 05, 2012 7:49 am Post

I have spoken to Keith about this, and there are a few places where Scrivener can go wrong if you edit documents behind its back.

Building up the search indexes are one, but there are also some issues with footnotes and inline comments etc. also that could lead to problems if the documents are being edited outside Scrivener.

Based on that, what I might look to implement is something that brings up the documents in QuickLook, so that they can be viewed but not edited. And then perhaps include text that gives the full Binder path to where the document can be found in the Scrivener project.

Until Scrivener gets AppleScript or something similar, that might be the best I will be able to do (it will be something I look at after 1.0).