Scrivener iOS syncing via Dropbox continues to crash the app

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drmajorbob
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Tue Nov 19, 2019 6:21 am Post

Don’t quote me, but I think iOS 13.2.3 fixed the problem on my iPhone 8 Plus.

I synced 4 projects totaling 10,279 files, 106MB (including the Scrivener 3 manual).

In another folder, I synced 22 projects totaling 3,172 files, 164.4 MB.

I couldn't sync anything, the last time I tried.

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devinganger
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Tue Nov 19, 2019 8:26 am Post

Thomas Rabenstein wrote:I know the developers don't like the idea (yet?) but it would already help, if I could run a project straight from an iCloud folder to get rid of the trouble.


It's not that L&L doesn't like the *idea* of being able to open projects synced via iCloud, Thomas.

It's that they don't like the idea of supporting the users who would suddenly be complaining about corrupted projects. iCloud doesn't provide full access in the APIs for Scrivener to ensure that its project files are properly *and safely* transmitted via iCloud.

This is literally a case of the devs keeping us users from losing data.
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Gattopardi
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Tue Nov 19, 2019 9:24 am Post

After having examined the problem at length, I do not believe that the problem comes from corrupt projects. Something seems to limit the capacity of the synchronization file. For new devices, it may be necessary to study how Scrivener IOS integrates this file and links it to Dropbox.

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Thomas Rabenstein
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Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:22 am Post

devinganger wrote: It's that they don't like the idea of supporting the users who would suddenly be complaining about corrupted projects. iCloud doesn't provide full access in the APIs for Scrivener to ensure that its project files are properly *and safely* transmitted via iCloud. This is literally a case of the devs keeping us users from losing data.


I understand your point. In the early stages of iCloud I observed the issues by myself and got corrupted project files.
Meanwhile, I also use Devonthink Pro Office, Ulysses and other Apps, that do use container formats for the data, sharing files via iCloud. I also observe often, for instance when I'm using iTunesProducer, which also packs the eBook data submitted to Apple in a container, that the app is fist opening a package once it has been fully synced.
I admit, I'm not an expert on the API but when you take a minute and watch an iCloud sync, you now see the little cloud symbol next to the file, if it is not synced and a progress circle, if the sync is running but not yet completed.
I wonder if there is a way now (recently) to verify if it is complete or not.
Some apps seem to have a "wait state" until it's finished and first open the file once ready.
Again, I just wonder and do not say it is the case.

Greetings,
Thomas
Writer/Author/Selfpublisher in fulltime
Mac/iOs User

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Thomas Rabenstein
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Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:24 am Post

Thomas Rabenstein wrote:
devinganger wrote: It's that they don't like the idea of supporting the users who would suddenly be complaining about corrupted projects. iCloud doesn't provide full access in the APIs for Scrivener to ensure that its project files are properly *and safely* transmitted via iCloud. This is literally a case of the devs keeping us users from losing data.


I understand your point. In the early stages of iCloud I observed the issues by myself and got corrupted project files.
Meanwhile, I also use Devonthink Pro Office, Ulysses and other Apps, that do use container formats for the data, sharing files via iCloud. I also observe often, for instance when I'm using iTunesProducer, which also packs the eBook data submitted to Apple in a container, that the app is fist opening a package once it has been fully synced.
I admit, I'm not an expert on the API but when you take a minute and watch an iCloud sync, you now see the little cloud symbol next to the file, if it is not synced and a progress circle, if the sync is running but not yet completed.
I wonder if there is a way now (recently) to verify via the API if it is complete or not.
Some apps seem to have a "wait state" until it's finished and first open the file once ready.
Again, I just wonder and do not say it is the case.

Greetings,
Thomas
Writer/Author/Selfpublisher in fulltime
Mac/iOs User

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devinganger
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Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:16 am Post

The last we heard from KB in any detail, it has to do with overriding iCloud's expectations (shared by OS X and iOS/iPadOS) that all of the contents of a package file are written to at once. With most applications that use package files, that is a reasonable expectation and the programming objects used to access the data in the package are built to read and write that way. KB had to do a lot of work to override that at a lower level for Scrivener so you're not loading every last document in your project into memory at once, and to ensure that you're only writing the files that have changed. And that timing expectation is where iCloud can still get things wrong.

The thread I reference below has a good discussion of the details.

https://www.literatureandlatte.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=35302&p=224510&hilit=icloud+API#p224510

KB makes what is I think a stellar point early on about expectation management -- that even if he were able to do all the extra work to make iCloud sync work, it would be more like the current Dropbox experience and would still require everyone to be very mindful of how they sync, open, save, and resync files. It wouldn't be an invisble background process that just magically happened, and a lot of people who keep asking for iCloud seem to think that's what they'd get.
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Devin L. Ganger, WA7DLG
Not a L&L employee; opinions are those of my cat
Winner "Best in Class", 2018 My First Supervillain Photo Shoot

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throthberghofer
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Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:27 pm Post

throthberghofer wrote::cry: No success either, at least not on both of my iPads after installing iPadOS 13.2.

iPad Pro (12.9 inch) ➜ successful sync
iPad Pro (11 inch) ➜ crashing like before


Installed 13.2.3, moved one of the problematic projects to my sync'ed folder, but same result:

iPad Pro (12.9 inch) ➜ sync'ed successful
iPad Pro (11 inch) ➜ crashed

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Thomas Rabenstein
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Tue Nov 19, 2019 2:33 pm Post

devinganger wrote:The thread I reference below has a good discussion of the details.
https://www.literatureandlatte.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=35302&p=224510&hilit=icloud+API#p224510


Thank you for sharing. I guess I do understand KB's point better now. But anyway, if the entire sync process is that critical, I better search for another solution to get my project files over to iOs. Probably the manual copy/paste remains the best solution for me at this moment. Maybe we'll have a better and reliable working solution in the future.
Thank you for the good discussion.
Greetings from Germany,
Thomas
Writer/Author/Selfpublisher in fulltime
Mac/iOs User

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devinganger
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Tue Nov 19, 2019 7:13 pm Post

Thomas Rabenstein wrote:if the entire sync process is that critical, I better search for another solution to get my project files over to iOs


I think the key thing is that it is a process that is done mindfully. Many of us are used to some solutions that promise to be easy and easily backgrounded so we just don't have to think about them...right until we do, and something goes wrong, and now we have files that aren't being synced. (Why yes, OneDrive for Business, I am totally looking at you...)

And the reality is that sometimes applications and usages fall outside of the boundaries and assumptions that are made that allow this near-invisibility to happen. Scrivener and sync is one of those use cases. KB has done a lot within the code to make sure that our data is synced as safely as can be done, but there are still a lot of external dependencies that Scrivener has no way to monitor or check. I don't think there's anything inherently more dangerous or risky about using Dropbox or even iCloud to move your Scrivener between desktop and mobile device, any more than there is using AirDrop or a USB tether; you have a series of steps you have to perform in each case to make sure the data moves safely. In none of these cases can you simply turn the service on and just let it go -- and that's what people want, and don't want to understand why they can't have it, I think.
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Devin L. Ganger, WA7DLG
Not a L&L employee; opinions are those of my cat
Winner "Best in Class", 2018 My First Supervillain Photo Shoot

Da
Davidww
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Wed Nov 20, 2019 3:47 am Post

I installed iPadOS 13.3 (beta) on my iPad Pro 12.9 and ... no joy. Sync still drops out as before, despite also crossing my fingers.

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andrewhanson
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Wed Nov 20, 2019 9:55 am Post

Hi all, I have been watching this thread with interest for a while and wanted to add my own experiences with Scrivener on iOS in relation to syncing via Dropbox. I currently use Scrivener on both MacOS Catalina on a Mid 2014 Macbook Pro and a 2012 Mac Mini, and on iOS I am running Scrivener on a 2016 iPad Pro 9.7 inch running iOS 13.2.2 and, until recently, on an old iPhone 6 running the latest version of iOS 12. With all of these devices I didn't suffer any crashes in Scrivener when syncing my projects between MacOS and iOS using Dropbox.

Yesterday I upgraded my iPhone to an iPhone 11 which is now running iOS 13.2.3 and tentatively tested the performance of Dropbox syncing using this new device. I say tentatively because I have seen how many are unfortunately suffering with Dropbox sync issues when running iOS 13 on newer devices. However, thankfully when I have been syncing my projects between the iPhone 11 and my Mac devices I still do not have any issues or any crashes, which leads me to believe that the problem is not only the type of device that Scrivener is running on. I believe that others have also drawn this conclusion but thought I would add my voice to the mix to see if it helps with a resolution. In terms of my projects in Scrivener I write fiction, but I don't tend to keep large amounts of research materials embedded in my Scrivener projects. These I keep in DevonTHINK 3.0. So my project sizes are very small indeed. I have five projects which I am syncing. Not all of them are active projects. I don't know whether this is relevant or not, but when I set up my new iPhone 11 I migrated all of my data from my old iPhone to the new device via a backup of the old device in Finder on MacOS. So all my previous settings will have come through.

I hope that a resolution comes quickly, either from an Apple update to iOS or via a workaround from L&L, as I can only imagine how frustrating this bug is for every user experiencing it, as well as for the developers. Especially as the bug appears to defy all logic.

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bwintx
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Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:58 am Post

Using Macs since 1984, MS-DOS/Windows since 1985, Linux since 2000-something, iOS and Android since 2011, ChromeOS since 2016, Scrivener since 2017. Admitted Apple fanboy. https://brycewray.com

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wezlo
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Fri Nov 22, 2019 3:14 pm Post

OK, I'm not seeing much chatter on this thread since 13.2.3 came out. Did it fix the problem or are folks still having issues?

I've not been hit by this bug [yet], but I'm actually scared to try to sync my phone (I work mostly from my iPad and sync my phone only every so often) or reset any setting on my iPad just in case I trigger it.

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oscarrob
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Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:33 pm Post

I have 13.2.3 and it did not fix the problem. I think, like me, many have given up on syncing to iOS or have been using the manual solutions suggested elsewhere. It sounds to me like it's a memory allocation issue as some have suggested. Whatever it is, it isn't fixed.

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Davidww
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Sat Nov 23, 2019 10:25 pm Post

bwintx wrote:FWIW, FYI, YMMV, etc. ...

https://chrisrosser.net/posts/2019/11/1 ... scrivener/


I enjoyed this, thanks. I particularly liked the sentence, “It’s really starting to chafe my arse.” I agree, of course. I’ve pretty much stopped using the iOS app at all.