Seamliss Syncing

Posts: 212
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:15 pm
Platform: Windows

Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:41 pm Post

Lots of folks are asking for "seamless syncing." Can those folks chime in about how they envision "seamless syncing" actually working?

  • What does it mean for synchronization to be "seamless?"
  • How many project copies are being synced? Just two? More than two? How many more?
  • Does one individual have control over all those projects? Or is collaboration with others involved?
  • Does the program sync without your telling it to do so? If so, how does it make sure you don't shut down the computer before it's finished writing to the cloud (or other destination)?
  • Assume one user controlling three copies, one Mac, one Windows, and one iPad. All copies start out in sync. Mac is updated and synced to the cloud. Windows get turned on and syncs with the Mac changes. iPad gets turned on out of range and cannot sync. iPad tells the user "can't sync." User wants to get more work done and makes edits anyway. Some of them unknowingly conflict with the Mac and Windows version. Then iPad is brought in range. What should happen? Should the conflicting edits be made to the Windows and Mac versions, wiping out existing changes (that would be one definition of seamless), or should the syncing iPad inform the user that there may be conflicts and should the user be engaged to make the merges of those changes before the sync actually begins (that's not seamless (at least by my definition), but I think it's necessary).
I ask these questions because I don't think syncing that is reliable can ever be seamless, at least for my definition of seamless. I think the user has to always ensure that the sync is or is not complete on one target or the other. But that's just the engineer in me trying to make it manageable to implement. Or more correctly, making it manageable for L&L to implement.

FYI, I use the Windows version, so I am not familiar with how syncing currently works on the Mac.

Posts: 67
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 7:34 pm
Platform: Mac
Location: UK

Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:18 pm Post

By seamless I'd want an option where I could tell my iPad/iMac to automatically sync to the most recently changed version of the document.

I wouldn't care if it was via Dropbox, Cloud, wifi or a physical connection as long as it happened and the iPad then informed me of successful syncs (or not).

If there was any chance that data might be lost (for example in the three-way scenario you described) then I'd expect the iPad/iMac to alert me to it and so I could make some choices.

Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:07 am
Platform: Mac

Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:58 am Post

Thanks to the developers! Scrivener for iOS would be awesome.

Seamless syncing, for me, would happen via the cloud. I have been using Dropbox to sync my Scrivener project across my MacBook and my home Mac. ICloud integrations might work, too.

I would not describe tethered or even wi-fi syncing as seamless. While I do rely at times on those options, I find them to be limiting and cumbersome. Most of my syncing happens when I am out of home wifi range and connected to my mobile phone service.

It would be great if I can work on my Mac at home then go to a cafe and pick up where I left off on my iPad. Or if I can take a photo on my iPhone when I am out and log it in a Scrivener project. With Siri, I can imagine dictating notes on the iPhone and then having the transcription dropped into Scrivener. That would be sweet for recording those fleeting inspirations when you are out and about: "Siri, make a note on my mystery novel that the butler did it with a hammer, not a knife".

Anyway, I eagerly await for Scrivener on iOS!

Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:25 am
Platform: Windows

Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:36 am Post

Definitely interested in some "seamless syncing" between the Windows & iOS versions of Scrivener. Being able to control what gets synced (kind of like can do with the OSX Scrivener and SimpleNote) would be great for folks who have less storage available on their iPads. I do like the idea of using cloud services for this, too.

Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2011 10:02 am
Platform: Mac

Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:55 am Post

I'll speak to my experience with Storyist for iPad...

That product uses Dropbox for syncing. Your view of the files is essentially a folder off Dropbox and the developer lets Dropbox handle the syncing...which is: if the files aren't the same, but the timestamps are, a separate version is created (that is my understanding at a gross simplification of what happens).

It has worked well for me. I don't know how iCloud handles any of that...when I think seemless, I think seemless for 90% of use cases...if there is manual intervention every now and then, that would be fine...

As an example, the current iteration of how syncing works with Scrivener is broken (imo) because I have to remember to sync every time I leave the application on my computer...

Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:03 pm
Platform: Mac

Thu Dec 29, 2011 6:07 pm Post

I'll have to second the post above mine. I love the way Storyist handled syncing. I like how Storyist handled most things.. it feels almost like your using Scrivener..

The biggest things is I want to be able to open my ipad files in Scrivener on my Mac and vice versa. So syncing is a must have to me..

Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2012 5:09 pm
Platform: Mac

Sun Feb 05, 2012 5:52 pm Post

Agreed, syncing is critical. Evernote was able to figure it out...I have a Mac, PC, and iPad in sync, and I don't have to think about it. It just happens. Maybe consider a setting like "sync via the cloud when I press the save button, or as soon as an internet connection is available after the last save command."

Happy developing!

Mike Korner
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:26 pm
Platform: Mac, Win + iOS
Location: Iowa, USA

Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:40 pm Post

Evernote is my definition of seamless syncing.

Next time I turn on Scrivener in Windows, Mac, or iOS, just give me the latest. Each device should sync to the central repository every X minutes. Just like Evernote.

For what it's worth, I'd be fine if version 1 required Dropbox since that's how I'm doing Mac to Win syncing today.
Scrivener running on ...
  • Windows 7, 12GB RAM, 1TB disk
  • MacBook Air (2011), 2GB RAM, 256GB SSID
  • iPad Air
  • iPhone

User avatar
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:55 pm
Platform: Mac

Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:43 pm Post

I'm not sure if my idea of perfect syncing is even possible within the constraints of the iPad. I love how Moneydance, a financial app, works. When you save your data for the first time (which you're automatically prompted to do when you close the app), there is a checkbox in the save dialog to encrypt the file. That preference is remembered going forward. If you have that encrypted file residing in Dropbox, Dropbox recognizes that the file is changed when you save it, and Dropbox syncs it. That makes it available on any of your Macs.

Does anyone know if the iPad supports encryption in that manner?

With Scrivener, I use a sparseimage in Dropbox to sync between my iMac and my Air. When I'm done writing on one, I eject (close) the sparseimage. That triggers Dropbox to recognize that the sparseimage has changed, and it starts the sync.

Since iPads are so portable and subject to more prying eyes, I'd love the ability to have an encrypted file with Scrivener that can easily be synced between platforms.