New iOS app Sync with Mac - Dropbox Sync

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Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2014 7:40 am
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Location: New Hampshire, USA

Sat Jul 16, 2016 1:34 pm Post

Finally !!, its exciting to read that the iOS app for Scrivener is ready for release next week - what we've been waiting for and always wanted !, a seamless way to sync one project between all devices, i.e. iMac, iPad, iPhone - just like we sync Calendar, Contacts, Emails, Notes thru Apple's iCloud, etc, on all devices - thats a 'world class' iCloud sync.

However, my 'bubble' somewhat burst, when I read in one of the reviews that a downside of the New iOS app, its still a DropBox sync, just a smoother process !!. One would still need to have and manage a Dropbox account. If this is true, it seems that this may not be the ideal iCloud sync expectation - like Calendar, Contacts and Notes work seamlessly.

The jury is still out. I just hope that a true seamless, iCloud sync is in the offering with this new iOS app.

Any thoughts ?, Thanks

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Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:27 pm Post

I am speaking from my own understanding and I am not sure of the technical details, but when iCloud drive initially was released, the manipulation of the file system and folders was limited. Thus, my understanding, the way Scrivener saves files would not be ideal in this situation for multi OS users. Dropbox allowed a better file management system and syncing option for these types of situations.

I believe Apple has updated the way users can interact with iCloud drive and maybe in the future, an option can be one or the other (or both) for users.

But, for a definitive on all that, you would have to ask the Scrivener team about the details.

Gordon Robb
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Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:41 pm Post

You are right about it needing a Dropbox account. However, I can say that it works seamlessly.

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Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:48 pm Post

Indeed, Dropbox is needed, and you have to invoke sync manually. Scrivener is not compatible with iCloud because of existing limitations with iCloud, so this can only change as Apple continues to improve the iCloud APIs. Seamless, "magic" background sync such as you see in Calendar etc is not really possible in Scrivener, because of the complex nature of its hierarchical projects. Apple's iCloud frameworks work wonderfully with single, flat document formats (such as Pages) or simple lists of flat files, but this is because whole teams of specialist engineers at Apple have created reams or specialists low-level code that does all the work. To get this to work with Scrivener, because of its file format and structure, Apple would have to open up the APIs and we would need a team of dedicated engineers as knowledgable as Apple's.

I have written about sync and the reasons we cannot support iCloud here if you are interested:

All the best,
"You can't waltz in here, use my toaster, and start spouting universal truths without qualification."

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Sat Jul 16, 2016 5:45 pm Post

In my experience, the Dropbox sync is not only seamless, but, more importantly, burpless. And the free-level of Dropbox account can stow an immense amount of Scrivening goodness.

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Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:13 pm Post

gr wrote:In my experience, the Dropbox sync is not only seamless, but, more importantly, burpless. And the free-level of Dropbox account can stow an immense amount of Scrivening goodness.

I just wanted to add that I've had Dropbox for a number of years now--maybe even going on five or six years. I used it all throughout graduate school and even had all the PDFs/Docs/Syllabi/etc. from my classes stored on it during that time. I also have seven novels written in Scrivener stored on it along with all the other stuff I add in those folders like character pics, html pages, etc., not to mention the numerous iterations for those that I've had edited and released. Even with all that, I still haven't had to upgrade to the paid Dropbox service yet. As I recall, though, I did get an extra gigabyte when I signed up for referring a friend. (I'm not sure if they still have any sort of deal like that.)

Ever since I started using Scrivener, I've saved directly to the Dropbox folder, so syncing is done automatically. It's pretty simple to set up when you first create your Scrivener file. (I'm obsessive about redundant backups, though, so I have an auto sync program copy all my novels and WIPs over to OneDrive and a local external hard drive. It only takes one time of losing a bunch of writing to become an OCD monster about backing up. :P)

For reference, I currently have 88% of my Dropbox storage space used.