Scrivener iOS syncing via Dropbox continues to crash the app

si
sidderke
Posts: 186
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2015 11:34 pm
Platform: Mac

Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:00 pm Post

I don't have subfolders in my Scrivener folder and I still can't sync. In fact, I only have one folder anymore in my Dropbox, because I want to get away from Dropbox for some reasons, and it's my Scrivener folder with only my active projects. I have about 10 projects active, unfortunately they are quite big, together totaling about 20GB.

I had great and fast sync when it was still Scrivener 2, on both old hardware and newer hardware, with iOS. The downloading File List step used to take about 20 seconds, and then syncing would be very quick. It was great, and I never had complaints. Then, after the upgrade to Scrivener 3, I suddenly had to wait about 5 minutes (15 minutes on older hardware!) to get through the Downloading File List step. The syncing itself of all the files, would be at the same speed as it ever was. Having to wait 5 to 15 minutes for every file I changed, even with just changing one line of text, really became annoying quick and it never went away. According to information on the forum it was a combination of the Scrivener 3 project format making a lot more internal files, and the API of Dropbox taking forever to detect changes when you have a lot of files. All good and well, but since 2017 or whenever Scrivener 3 came out, syncing has been annoying and time-consuming, although I never really had data loss (maybe once, but it was a small thing, that I could easily could get back because of backups). But the fact is: this Dropbox API thing, where the API takes abnormally long checking files, has not been fixed in 2 years, and it should let the team at L&L think hard and long at being so depending on a sync provider system that has been having it's own issues for a while now. (I'm sure they have, btw, I'm just on a little rant ;-))

I still have to check if with iOS 13 I can reliably copy Scrivener Projects manually from iCloud Drive through the Files App (I've had very quick and reliable syncs with iCloud Drive these days, and I have all my documents on there since I've replaced a my Macbook Air with an iPad Pro) back and forth and just completely leave Dropbox behind. I haven't done the checking yet, because of time and because I still hope one of these days it gets fixed with an update to iOS 13.2 or a Scrivener update.
Let’s hope that happens sooner rather than later.

User avatar
devinganger
Posts: 2033
Joined: Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:55 pm
Platform: Mac, Win + iOS
Location: Monroe, WA 98272 (CN97au)
Contact:

Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:51 am Post

Thomas Rabenstein wrote:Honestly, it also makes no sense to me to shrink or tweak the directory since Dropbox would update only the changed files in a package anyway.


That's like saying it makes no sense to use separate file folders when you're filing all of your various papers from over your life time. I mean, they're all in the file cabinet, right?

Putting your active projects into a directory, and moving projects in and out of that directory, makes sense because that directory is a *boundary* for Scrivener. Every time you start up Scrivener and tell it to sync, it has to tell Dropbox (roughly) "send me a list of all the files that are in or below <this folder> and the last times they were updated." Remember, Dropbox doesn't see your Scrivener projects as a single package file -- it sees all of the component directories and files, all of which have to go into that list.

By keeping that target directory trimmed to only those projects you're most likely to work on, you limit the amount of scanning that it is *possible* for Scrivener to have to perform -- and therefore limit the amount of memory, network, and CPU it has to use to do it.
--
Devin L. Ganger, WA7DLG
Not a L&L employee; opinions are those of my cat
Life has a way of moving you past wants and hopes

de
derick
Posts: 439
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 9:58 pm

Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:30 am Post

11 projects, only 2 larger than 10 MB, should not tax the memory, storage or CPU of an iPhone 11 Pro Max with 30+ GB free disk space. I have been an enthusiastic defender of Lit & Lat's decision to require Dropbox to this point, but it's clear something is seriously broken now. I've had way more syncing at various times before but now it just crashes.

A reinstall didn't fix it.

This bug (which persists and which many users here in the forum are reporting in various threads) appears — to me — linked to a strange phenomenon with Scrivener projects in Dropbox, which report via the latter as being ‘Updated 0 Seconds Ago’ in the Dropbox app ... whether they are updated from the macOS or iOS app.


Seeing this as well.

I can create a text file in the Dropbox app and it syncs back to my Mac just fine and vice versa.

Worst part is that this worked fine on iOS 13.1.2 until I got the new phone.

de
derick
Posts: 439
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 9:58 pm

Mon Oct 07, 2019 5:14 am Post

Well I followed the procedure that AmberV described above:
AmberV wrote:Since there are mixed results being reported, what I’d suggest for anyone experience persistent crashing is to fully reset the sync environment:

  1. In Scrivener’s project screen, tap Edit and then the gear button.
  2. Select the option to unlink Dropbox. You’ll be given a choice here to move your projects to “local” storage or delete them. Do whatever works best for your situation. They won’t be deleted from Dropbox of course.
  3. Using your Mac, create a new folder Dropbox and leave it empty.
  4. Go through the Dropbox setup procedure on iOS, and when asked which folder to sync to, select this new empty folder.
  5. Run a test sync. There is nothing there, so nothing should happen, but this will test whether it works at all with your equipment.
  6. If it doesn’t throw an error or crash, then create one empty project on the iOS side and save it into the new sync folder. Test sync.
  7. All good still? Try modifying it slightly, sync again.
  8. Still good? Now try dragging one project from either your Mac or the iOS local storage into the Dropbox sync folder. Let it fully sync if you started from the Mac here. Now try from iOS.

At some point you may want to just try restoring all of your projects. If it goes without flaw then you should be okay here on out. But if it starts crashing again, you’ll want to get things back to a simpler state again, and see which project is the culprit.


Well it turns out there's a single project that's causing the crashes. It's only 21.5 MB, and is a 300+ page book ms. with lots of old snapshots etc., upgraded from Scrivener 2 at some point. And it worked fine until I switched devices. It still works fine on my iPad running 13.1.2 . And it worked on my old phone three days ago. But not on my new phone running the same OS.

Also even when it works it's still screwing up the modification dates in the Dropbox app.

It's clearly not simply file size b/c a 70 MB project is syncing just fine.

UPDATE; By emptying the Trash and moving all my research into a separate project (which is not at all a sustainable solution....), I got the offender down to 13.5 MB but it still crashes.

UPDATE 2: I created a new project, then moved all the documents from the offending project into it and put it in a folder by itself. The new project synced. Then I moved it into my regular sync folder with the other 11 projects which synced just fine. I adjusted Dropbox settings in Scrivener to use that folder. And it crashed.

This is terribly frustrating. I'm giving up using Scrivener on my phone until there's a fix.

User avatar
AmberV
Posts: 24272
Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 4:30 am
Platform: Mac + Linux
Location: Ourense, Galiza
Contact:

Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:07 pm Post

Thanks for running through those checks, Derick. It wouldn’t surprise me if overall megabytes (or gigabytes) would be somewhat irrelevant to whether the bug appears. Since this happens during the phase where Dropbox is sending a full list of the sync folder’s structure to Scrivener, it’s probably more to do with the size of that overall procedure, or its complexity. The data being transferred at that point is really simple, more along the lines of a list of file paths and modification dates (there may be a little more than that, but certainly no data, just metadata).

It still works fine on my iPad running 13.1.2 . And it worked on my old phone three days ago. But not on my new phone running the same OS.


We do seem to be getting more reports here on new devices than older ones, which is odd, but it also doesn’t seem to be a perfect, at at least complete, description of the problem. My guess is that it’s more a statistical anomaly than anything. With how many people are on contracts, they tend to stay within a few years of the latest device anyway, so it’s more likely to see the problem on newer devices. But it is still an interesting factor to keep an eye on.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

User avatar
Thomas Rabenstein
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:39 pm
Platform: Mac

Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:52 pm Post

lunk wrote:Maybe that’s why I haven’t had any problems? I have all my Scriv projects in a Db folder called ’Scrivener projects’, but I have my active projects in a subfolder ’Active projects’ and that’s the one my iOS Scriv is syncing with, not the parent folder.


This would not work for me since I am working on different large projects. The largest project file is 450 MBytes.
PS: I have tried to sync only one smaller test project with nearly nothing in it, and it fails, too.
Since I do have a pretty actual hardware (iPad Pro 2018 with 256 GByte RAM, most of it unused) and the true file transmission during synchronization only affects the changes, I do not believe on the hypothesis to keep the sync directory small and everything will be fine. There are maybe other issues involved, which I did not figure out yet.
Writer/Author/Selfpublisher in fulltime
Mac/iOs User

User avatar
Thomas Rabenstein
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:39 pm
Platform: Mac

Mon Oct 07, 2019 1:07 pm Post

devinganger wrote:That's like saying it makes no sense to use separate file folders when you're filing all of your various papers from over your life time. I mean, they're all in the file cabinet, right?


Well, it comes down to the point, how Scrivener has been coded to sync with Dropbox. I can hardly believe the developers let Scrivener scan all Project files and each individual document within the containers for possible changes, comparing it with the local containers, when Dropbox actually provides a file list of changes that can be reviewed/compared much quicker than each individual file. Anyway, it worked like a charm before, now it does not. So something is broken. It's as simple as that.
Writer/Author/Selfpublisher in fulltime
Mac/iOs User

User avatar
Silverdragon
Posts: 1479
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:52 pm
Platform: Mac + iOS
Location: Tarzana, California, USA
Contact:

Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:40 pm Post

Folks, I would like to remind you that the number Apple gives you for your device's capacity is storage, not RAM. It's like your laptop's hard drive capacity. Apple doesn't publish RAM numbers, partly because it's not something customers can choose, and partly because they look so pitiful compared to almost any modern computer's RAM. Nonetheless, these numbers do leak out as third parties tear down phones and tablets (mostly third party repair shops like iFixit.) Here are the real RAM numbers for devices released in 2018 thru March 2019:

  • iPad Mini 5th Gen: 3GB
  • iPad Air 3rd gen: 3 GB
  • iPad Pro 12.9" 3rd gen: 4 GB
  • iPad Pro 11": 4 GB
  • iPad 6th gen : 2 GB
  • iPad Pro 12.9" 2nd gen : 4 GB
  • iPhone XR: 3 GB
  • iPhone XS Max: 4GB
  • iPhone XS: 4 GB

Source: Mactracker app by Ian Page.
  • Fiction-writer curled up on her TP hoard.
  • Mac Scrivener 3.1.5, MacBook Air 11, MacOS 10.15.6 (Catalina)
  • IOS Scrivener 1.2.1; iPhone 8+, iPad 6; i(Pad)OS 13.6
  • Website: https://silverdrag0n.wordpress.com

si
sidderke
Posts: 186
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2015 11:34 pm
Platform: Mac

Mon Oct 07, 2019 6:33 pm Post

sidderke wrote:I still have to check if with iOS 13 I can reliably copy Scrivener Projects manually from iCloud Drive through the Files App (I've had very quick and reliable syncs with iCloud Drive these days, and I have all my documents on there since I've replaced a my Macbook Air with an iPad Pro) back and forth and just completely leave Dropbox behind. I haven't done the checking yet, because of time and because I still hope one of these days it gets fixed with an update to iOS 13.2 or a Scrivener update.
Let’s hope that happens sooner rather than later.


I tried today to copy my biggest project, 10.2 GB, all through the iOS 13 Files App, first downloading it (it’s all on iCloud Drive), importing it in iOS Scrivener, and afterwards, copying it again via the Files app back to iCloud Drive. It opened on the Mac and all the last changes were there. I’m not trying to convince people to do this, it’s at your own risk, but it worked with a very big project, both in GB’s, and in the amount of included files. I just wanted to share if people were wondering.

Vi
Vinyassa
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2012 2:10 pm
Platform: Mac

Mon Oct 07, 2019 6:55 pm Post

AmberV wrote:We do seem to be getting more reports here on new devices than older ones, which is odd, but it also doesn’t seem to be a perfect, at at least complete, description of the problem. My guess is that it’s more a statistical anomaly than anything. With how many people are on contracts, they tend to stay within a few years of the latest device anyway, so it’s more likely to see the problem on newer devices. But it is still an interesting factor to keep an eye on.


My guess is that the device has to do something with it. On my old iPhone SE everything was fine with iOS12 and updating to iOS13 gave no problems. On my very new iPadMini 2019 everything was fine with iOS12 and updating to iPadOS13 caused the syncing problem. The same Scrivener files, the same Dropbox account, one device with syncing working, the other device not. Maybe it's interesting to see what problems people experience and don't experience when they have two or more iOS devices?

Gr
GrahamGrün
Posts: 144
Joined: Sun May 22, 2011 3:10 pm
Platform: Mac

Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:45 pm Post

If outsourcing projects helps (which, as it seems, actually doesn’t help in all cases) this can be a temporary workaround, but I really don’t understand the voices that sound like this would be no problem anyway. Of course you don’t need to sync every finished project you ever wrote, but for a professional software it should be possible to take as many projects with you as you need. I switch between projects quite often and there are some that are on hold right now, but I might get an idea for them anytime and want to be able to access them all the time. This should be possible with a software like Scrivener, imho
And I as well think the whole syncing via Dropbox process is flawed, as it takes too long even when it doesn’t crash and having to sync manually is really a nuisance. I could live with it if it happened faster or ran in the background, but being stuck with an unlocked device after writing something (e. g. in a coffee place) is just tedious if you do it every day.

User avatar
kewms
Posts: 6195
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2007 5:22 pm
Platform: Mac

Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:00 pm Post

To be clear, we agree that there is a problem and are doing our best to fix it.

Suggestions about reducing the number or size of projects being synced are intended as (a) troubleshooting to attempt to identify the problem and (b) possible workarounds pending a permanent solution. We are not proposing that users should reconcile themselves to limiting the number or size of projects as a permanent solution.

With that said, I personally think that if you're hauling 10 GB projects around you'll be a lot happier with a Macbook Pro than with any form of iPad. Mac OS remains a much more capable platform.

Katherine
Scrivener Support Team

si
sidderke
Posts: 186
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2015 11:34 pm
Platform: Mac

Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:05 pm Post

kewms wrote:With that said, I personally think that if you're hauling 10 GB projects around you'll be a lot happier with a Macbook Pro than with any form of iPad. Mac OS remains a much more capable platform.


With Scrivener 2 and older hardware (at the time, iPhone 6 and iPad Air) those 10GB projects ran perfect and synced in 20 seconds. They still run perfect, the problem is the syncing process. Once they are open, there is nothing slow about it on iOS...

(Don't get me wrong, I agree MacOS is in general a much more capable platform)

hu
huguatrix
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2017 7:41 pm
Platform: Mac

Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:24 pm Post

To be clear, we agree that there is a problem and are doing our best to fix it.

Suggestions about reducing the number or size of projects being synced are intended as (a) troubleshooting to attempt to identify the problem and (b) possible workarounds pending a permanent solution. We are not proposing that users should reconcile themselves to limiting the number or size of projects as a permanent solution.


Sync is tough. This from a mere user's perspective--I can't imagine the twists one has to get into to tackle this as a developer. I've spent hours fixing problems I'd caused, with patient help from LitnLatte elves (forgetting to make sure sync had completed before opening the project elsewhere, and then not realizing I was working with old sync issues). Now, I remember to pause syncing as I work. If I do run into an issue, it's quickly fixed.

Raising a glass to you, Keith, Io'a, Katherine, and LiteratureandLatte people! With aspirin on the side? Many thanks.

User avatar
genebreshears
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:19 pm
Platform: Mac

Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:55 pm Post

kewms wrote:With that said, I personally think that if you're hauling 10 GB projects around you'll be a lot happier with a Macbook Pro than with any form of iPad. Mac OS remains a much more capable platform.

Katherine


With that said, I have 111 megabytes (not even a quarter of a gig) that is refusing to synchronize. And I do have a Macbook Pro. I just don't take it everywhere as I do the iPad. The whole point of Scrivener for iOS was supposed to be that we could work on the same projects we do on the Mac elsewhere.