Using Scrivener with Dropbox

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MichaelHyatt
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Thu Nov 24, 2011 6:49 pm Post

Is there a ”best practices" workflow for co-authors who are working together on the same manuscript?

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kewms
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Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:13 pm Post

Don't. Seriously, Scrivener is not a great tool for collaboration because of the risk of file corruption.

If you do choose to use it this way, all of the cautions about using Scrivener with Dropbox apply double with co-authors. In particular, you need to be absolutely positive that you don't have two people working on the same project at the same time. That's pretty much guaranteed to mangle your data.

Depending on the nature of the collaboration, one way to do it might be to assign "A" sections and "B" sections. Put all the A sections in one project under author A's control, and the others in a completely separate project under B's control. Don't even give the other author access until you're ready to merge them, and then switch to a tool like Google Docs.

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Forumposter
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Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:33 am Post

My dropbox sync works fine. But I have another problem. How do I turn on incremential syncing?
Adding all the PDFs and pictures to my Resources has bloated the scrivener file to several hundred megabytes which is fine on my local machine. But I can't upload hundreds of megabytes over and over again to dropbox although I only added some more sentences which adds some bytes to the file but the Resources stay untouched.

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AmberV
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Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:32 pm Post

Are you positive that is what happening? This description doesn't match the way Scrivener and Dropbox typically work, which is why I ask. Ordinarily only those things which have been modified will be saved to the disk by Scrivener (if you have a 10gb project and change one synopsis card, it doesn't take 5m writing 10gb to the disk, it just writes the .txt file for this card), and Dropbox only uses modification to determine what should be uploaded. If you are getting excessive, repeated uploads of the entire project, then perhaps your Dropbox installation is messed up. Maybe the caching index files are corrupt. I'd seek help on the Dropbox boards if the same files are continually uploading even if they haven't changed.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
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Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:56 am Post

Ok, I've checked all my settings. It turned out that the backup folder is the culprit.
Thanks for pointing me there.

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jimocarroll
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Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:07 pm Post

I am grief-stricken. I have lost most of what I have written in Scrivener.

While it is possible to use Scrivener on files stored on Dropbox, do NOT use multiple computers to open Scrivener projects. I managed to corrupt my Scrivener projects by updating to the latest version on 2 laptops, and trying to reopen a project. First the program notified me that I would have to update the file and advised me that the saved file was possibly corrupt. Then it performed some kind of operation on the project files and informed me that the file could not be opened. One by one, I watched this happen to all my Scrivener projects. I have been careful to close all the projects before shutting down first Scrivener and then my computer. I have backed files up to scrivener zip files in another directory. Perhaps some of my writing is safe there.

Lesson? Install Scrivener on ONLY ONE MACHINE, and KEEP YOUR PROJECTS ON THAT MACHINE'S HARD DRIVE. You CANNOT replace writing that has been corrupted by trying to use Dropbox and multiple machines.

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eneal
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Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:57 am Post

Hi, maybe some of this has been covered already on the forum but I have not found it - excuse me if I have missed it.

I am writing a textbook of about 400-500 pages on Chinese medicine. It has to go out to a variety of editors (both Chinese and English language) and multiple reviewers. Reviewing the documentation, it seems that using file synchronization through dropbox in .rtf - with reviewers opening and commenting through Word is the best way to go. My understanding is that this allows reviewers and editors to work on synch'ed files without corrupting the primary Scrivener draft that I am working on.

In the draft folder there are a variety of subfolders, each with multiple files in them. If I synch just the folder, nothing shows up in the dropbox synch file. If I synch all the files it end up being a long list of files that confuses the reviewers. Is there a way to synch individual folders for editing and review that retains the original folder architecture? I have tried adding them to collections and synching just the collection with the same result. Any ideas? Any caveats or precautions here? I am trying to get this set up as best as possible before we get started to avoid loss, corruption and confusion.

Any thoughts appreciated,

Thanks

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AmberV
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Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:31 pm Post

jimocarroll: You should have a very recent backup from right before when this happened, located in your automatic backup folder. Those get created whenever you close a project, and it sounds from what you said that you closed the projects on your primary computer before trying to download them to the other computers, so you should have a final backup available for each one. Get to your backups folder most easily by clicking on the handy button at the bottom of the Backup preferences tab.

You're experience is definitely atypical. Many people have been doing this for years without a single glitch at this point. You really have to be careful and follow the rules though. No shutting down computers while Dropbox is working, and no opening projects while Dropbox is working, ever. Do that just once and you can cause problems. Usually the problems are not fatal like this, but whenever you see a conflicted file on the Dropbox web page inside your .scriv folders, that means some little thing you did on one machine is now "lost". It might be as simple as flipping a label colour on or off, or as complex as a 5,000 word edit, it's hard to say. With a little know-how you can usually merge the differences or choose the best version of the file and repair the project, but that isn't always easy, especially in the XML files that Scrivener uses to control the project.

eneal: Yes, it will always be a flat list. Mainly because anything else would send the wrong message: that people can organise with this method. Choosing a small sub-set as a collection and syncing that is the best route for not overwhelming your colleagues; and the option that prefixes the filenames with numbers to keep them in book order would be helpful to.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
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eneal
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Fri Dec 30, 2011 4:46 am Post

Thanks for the clarification..

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ptram
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Sun Jan 01, 2012 12:00 pm Post

Hi,

Is there a way to rename a synched project? I'm sure this is covered somewhere in the manual or in the forum, but I cannot manage to find it.

I have this project named "My Masterwork", that is synched via Dropbox with other devices. I would like to rename it to something like "My More Humble Just Decent Work", and have the new name propagate to the Dropbox files.

Is there a way to do it? Or should I first break synching, rename the Scrivener project, and then turn synching on again, to let Scrivener generate new files in Dropbox?

Happy New Year,
Paolo

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AmberV
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Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:35 pm Post

Assuming you are talking about the `File/Sync/with External Folder` feature, that actually doesn't matter. You can call that folder whatever you like when you set it up, so if you change the name of the project it can go on using the old folder name. If you want to keep things tidy though, do one last sync, then delete the old folder and create a new one with the new book title.

If you're just talking about a .scriv project in a Dropbox folder, then I can't think of any reason why changing the name would hurt anything. I've certainly done that many times before in the past. The name isn't really used for anything in Scrivener. Well, it gets used in a passive sense by some of the header/footer placeholder tags, but those are not dependent upon the name being one thing or another.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

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ptram
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Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:27 am Post

Ioa,

I apologize for my lack of clarity. Yes, I am trying to rename the files exported with the File > Sync > with External Folder command. I will do a 'clean' sync by regenerating all files, as you suggest.

Cheers, Paolo

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bswift21
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Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:36 pm Post

I'm also trying to figure out how to use Dropbox to share a Scrivener file with two 'beta readers' so the three of us can work from just one document and make comments and changes in it. Both other 'readers' have Scrivener - one on a PC and one on a Mac. I've created a new folder in my Dropbox and placed the Scrivener file in it, then invited them and me to it by entering the 3 emails. I received the email and clicked on the link just as the other two will do later. That takes me to the Dropbox web page where I see the folder...and that's where I'm stuck.

I can't figure out how any of us can open the file from that point. Will then need to download it, work on it, then upload it again. Can you walk me through from my point of stuckness??? :)

Been working on this for a good bit. Going to take a walk to cool my overheated brain.
BRAD

btw - I've shared my love for Scrivener with every writer I know and I know several have already joined the tribe. You are to be commended for your work and contribution. Ok, walking, walking. wbs

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AmberV
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Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:15 pm Post

The Dropbox web page link is just there for convenience and information. You would use the Dropbox folder on your system to edit the Scrivener file, as would all of they. That is why it is important that only one person be editing the project at once, because you are all using the same files on three different disks, all linked together by the service.

You might wish to set up a schedule, and have the two people on Macs install Growl so that you'll get notices when changes are being made to the project. This will happen automatically on Windows. The most important messages from Growl are "user.lock added" and "user.lock removed". That's the file that signifies the project is open, and by who.
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Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

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Philipp
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Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:44 pm Post

And again, whilst working with Scrivener turn pause synching on. If you're finished you can synch again. This will prevent you from having headaches ;)

 

 

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