Scrivener for iPad

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KB
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Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:04 am Post

Scrivener 2.0 will have a feature where you can sync a folder of files on disk with files on in your project (not the structure, just the titles and content). This will work nicely with some programs for the iPad, such as PlainText. The trouble is that it won't work with Documents To Go, simply because Scrivener's "sync with folder" feature will only support RTF, TXT and FDX syncing.

Why the madness of not including .doc or .docx, you ask? Well, with reluctance I have had to exclude them because of the severe limitations with Apple's exporters. It would mean that every time a user synced a document as a .doc or .docx file, they would lose all images, annotations, footnotes and, even worse, all indents and line spacing. (Of course, such things will be lost with TXT syncing, too, but users expect to lose rich text formatting when converting to plain text; they certainly don't expect to lose formatting when converting to .doc or .docx, but such is the way with Apple's exporters.)

This is particularly annoying, because I looked at DocsToGo, and had it been possible to support .doc or .docx for this feature, it would have made DocsToGo ideal. It's a shame there are no programs on the iPad - yet - that can read RTF files.

So, for now, the options in 2.0 will be to use Simplenote or a Dropbox-supporting program that supports RTF or TXT (or FDX if you are a screenwriter). Hog Bay's PlainText will support TXT, but now that Dropbox have a mobile API out for developers, I bet it won't be long before you start seeing other iPad programs with support for Dropbox and more formats. (Although beyond Pages, DocsToGo and Office2 HD, I doubt there will be too many programs that support rich text formatting on the iPad until Apple provides a public API for a rich text editor - currently, as I've explained elsewhere, they only make it possible for developers to support plain text editing. Pages uses private APIs, and I can only assume that DocsToGo and Office2 HD are such established companies dedicated to mobile office suites that over the years they have somehow produced their own rich text systems allowed by Apple, which most independent developers won't be able to do.)

Thanks and all the best,
Keith

All the best,
Keith

Ro
Robin Cecil-Wright
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Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:34 pm Post

Hello KB.
I notice you are from Truro Cornwall.
I am from Wadebridge Cornwall.
I am however just an ordinary Scrivener user. I know nothing about how it works but i love it and have used it for some years. I work on an iMac.
My daughter is thinking of buying an iPad.
Will she be able to write on it and use the Scrivener organising of the writing into project,binder, folder, etc ?
Will she then be able to transfer such writing into Scrivener on her lap top?
Does this make sense?
Thank you.
Robin.

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AmberV
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Wed Jul 21, 2010 5:54 pm Post

Probably not in the sense that you are thinking. Both tools will be very content biased, in large part due to limitations of the system (in the case of Simplenote---organisation would be impossible in that program) or undo complexities in a base folder+file situations, like in DropBox. So there will be no way to organise things directly. The focus will be entirely on exporting texts, editing them, and returning those edits to Scrivener. Of course, organisational notes can be made ("move this item over there") even on paper.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
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Robin Cecil-Wright
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Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:21 am Post

So very sorry I wrote the earlier post. :roll:
I admire greatly Scrivener and fully understand and agree with your comments.
I will always write with Scrivener.
If I then want to use that writing elsewhere, I just copy and paste it.
Life is so easy.
Thank you.
Robin. :D :D :D

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AmberV
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Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:32 am Post

Oh, no problem! Sorry if I came across as though you shouldn't have made the comment. It was a valid question. Fact is, 2.0 will make editing and adding Scrivener sections on the iPad quite easy, especially in conjunction with tools that work with DropBox, but with Simplenote, too. It's "just" the organisational power of Scrivener that will be missing, which is to be expected given that it is other programs accessing the text at that point. :)
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
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zenmonkey
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Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:12 pm Post

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Last edited by zenmonkey on Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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KB
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Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:17 pm Post

Seriously, man ( :) ), I hadn't made up my mind until I used the thing - and I hate it for writing, although I like it for reading websites.

Anyway, to answer your question, yes, you will be able to do this in 2.0, using Simplenote or Hog Bay's PlainText.

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AmberV
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Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:40 pm Post

Plain-text will indeed most likely be the price to pay for working with an iPad instead of a laptop. At least for a while now. Perhaps eventually there will be RTF capabilities available. At the moment, Apple doesn't provide any, so everyone is stuck with plain-text, or coding their own RTF engine from scratch (which is why it will be a while before stuff pops up---but we are starting to get into the time-range where a company large enough to allocate several programmers to the program could have finished a decent engine and be in the beta stages---if anyone has started yet at all).

That said, Scrivener is going to be pretty smart about how it handles plain-text. Unless you alter things a lot, most of your formatting will be preserved. The workflow will actually be considerably easier than what you were asking for. :) Edit the sync files right on DropBox with any tool. Later you can have Scrivener check that output location again for changes and the Binder will be automatically updated. You'll even be able to check over all of the updated stuff and see exactly what changed. Less useful for one person, but very useful when collaborating this way.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
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druid
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Tue Aug 03, 2010 4:51 am Post

zenmonkey wrote:I spent the last hour wading through several pages of scrivener ipad postings (including the ipad as a writing research tool) but one can only go so far before you tune out.


A forum isn't the best place to come for quick and easy answers. Folks here like to ruminate, and we've been chewing the cud about iPads and writing since March. If you're really so devoted to the iPad platform, you owe it to yourself to tune in.

Several of us have reviewed various writing apps and also discussed strategies for backup, file synching, outlining, and other topics. Some consensus has arisen that the two best apps are SimpleNote and PlainText, given their ease of input, synching, and also the promised hooks to Scrivener 2.0. The only app that offers Rich Text support is Pages for iPad, but its export of RTF can be flawed.

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fgrieser
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Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:02 am Post

Hi Amber.

AmberV wrote:That said, Scrivener is going to be pretty smart about how it handles plain-text. Unless you alter things a lot, most of your formatting will not be preserved.


Isn't there a "not" too much?
On the other hand: What kind of formatting could be preserved when importing plain text? Plain text = no formatting. Or do I miss something?

AmberV wrote:The workflow will actually be considerably easier than what you were asking for. :) Edit the sync files right on DropBox with any tool. Later you can have Scrivener check that output location again for changes and the Binder will be automatically updated. You'll even be able to check over all of the updated stuff and see exactly what changed. Less useful for one person, but very useful when collaborating this way.


That sounds great. Can't wait ... :-)

Franz

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KB
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Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:19 am Post

fgrieser wrote:Isn't there a "not" too much?
On the other hand: What kind of formatting could be preserved when importing plain text? Plain text = no formatting. Or do I miss something?


There is indeed a "not" too much there. You are right of course that plain text has no formatting, but Scrivener checks the newer plain text document against the existing rich text document (assuming you edited an existing document), comparing them paragraph-by-paragraph, so that only paragraphs that have actually been edited will lose their formatting (and snapshots will be taken so you can review the old version too). Paragraphs that haven't been changed won't be touched. So yes, a lot of formatting will get lost if you do heavy editing, but Scrivener will try to preserve what it can.

All the best,
Keith

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fgrieser
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Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:27 am Post

Thanks, Keith. That sounds even better :-)

Franz

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AmberV
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Tue Aug 03, 2010 4:44 pm Post

Yeah, extra 'not' in there. :) Fixed it.
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zenmonkey
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Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:39 pm Post

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Last edited by zenmonkey on Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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KB
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Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:49 pm Post

We'll have more news on this soon, and eventually a video showing how it works (before 2.0 is out), so stay tuned - all will soon be revealed. :)