iOS Scrivener — Resolving iOS-Only Sync Conflicts @ScrivenerApp

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at http://FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Last week in iOS Scrivener — How to Resolve Sync Conflicts I talked about Scrivener iOS sync conflicts and presented a method of resolving them based on using Mac or Windows Scrivener.

But what if you don’t have either Mac or Windows Scrivener?

Once again, none of your words have disappeared. You can go forward with resolving sync conflicts using iOS-only tools. Again, you will need to spend a few minutes checking the versions of your file(s) with each other, and manually merging changes.

On each iOS device:

  1. Get to your projects screen inside Scrivener.
  2. Manually tap the Sync icon.
  3. Quit the app. (Double-click the Home button to reveal the app gallery, and slide Scrivener up to remove it from the gallery.)

You should have a “Conflicts” folder on each of those devices in the conflicted project — perhaps more than one. No worries, we’re on our way.

On your iOS Device with the biggest screen:

  1. Open the project that’s conflicted. Go ahead and open a Conflicts folder, now that you’re sure that your iDevices are not hiding un-synced changes.
  2. Dig down inside the Conflicts folder if you need to, to find the actual file shown as conflicted. Don’t open that right away.

Directions For iPad Resolution:

Setting up Quick Reference

  1. In your Binder, find the “original” file. Open it in the Editor. This is the version that Scrivener thinks is the best version. Slide right on its name in the Binder and tap the “More” button. Select Quick Reference.
  2. Go back to the version in the Conflicts folder and open it. You will have had to remove the original file from the Quick Reference sidebar.
  3. In the Binder sidebar, tap on the name of the project (at the top). In the Quick Reference list which appears, tap on the top item — your Binder copy of the conflicted file.
  4. Now you have your Binder copy on the left and the Conflicts folder copy on the right. Read through them and make needed changes to the Binder (left-hand) copy.
  5. Repeat Steps 2 through 4 for every file in the Conflicts folder(s). You may have to do it more than once for the same Binder file, in order to pick up both iPad and iPhone changes.

Now that you have your changes incorporated, move your Conflicts folder(s) to the Trash — you no longer need them. Delete them from the Trash, as keeping them around could cause conflict detection to get confused. Close your project and sync. Quit Scrivener as above.

On all your iOS device(s), just to be sure, go to the Settings app. Tap Scrivener > Reset Scrivener > Clear Dropbox Sync Cache. When you start iOS Scrivener again and sync, Scrivener will rebuild its date comparison information to be sure that all the dates agree everywhere.

What to Do If You Don’t Have an iPad (or have long texts in your project)

Instead of steps 1-4 in the iPad resolution above, I suggest the use of iDiff ($1.99 USD). This will highlight differences between versions and let you merge your changes in a plain text environment. You will need to be cautious when copying your changes back to Scrivener so that you don’t lose your rich text formatting.

iDiff Workflow

iDiff example

  1. In your Binder, find the “original” file. Open it in the Editor. This is the version that Scrivener thinks is the best version. Select all the text and choose “Copy” from the Edit menu.
  2. Launch iDiff. Paste your Binder version text into the green area.
  3. Go back to the version in the Conflicts folder and open it. Select all the text and choose “Copy” from the Edit menu.
  4. Switch to iDiff. Paste your Conflicts version text into the red area. Tap on the differences button (circle arrows in the lower left corner of the screen.)
  5. Now you have your text with all differences highlighted in the white area of the iDiff screen. Edit the red and green texts until the WHITE version reads correctly.
  6. Select all the text in the WHITE area and copy it. Select all the text in the GREEN area and paste the text from the White area over it.
  7. Repeat Steps 3 through 6 for every file in the Conflicts folder(s). You may have to do it more than once for the same Binder file, in order to pick up both iPad and iPhone changes.

Now the white area in iDiff has the corrected version of your text. Copy and paste this back into Scrivener. If your text has no formatting, you can just replace it all; otherwise, copy and paste in chunks, using “unstyled paste” to preserve your formatting where necessary.

Now that you have your changes incorporated, just as in the iPad workflow, move your Conflicts folder(s) to the Trash and then delete them. Close your project and sync. Quit Scrivener as above on all devices, and reset the Dropbox caches.

Nuclear Option

In rare cases, you may get repeated sync warnings on iOS and continued creation of conflict folders, despite having followed the directions above. If this happens to you:

  1. Don’t proceed with sync!
  2. Quit Scrivener on both iOS devices as described above.
  3. Open the project in iOS Scrivener on ONE device (I’ll call this the master device) and make sure it’s correct. Follow one of the above processes if needed.
  4. Make a backup by going to your Projects screen, tapping Edit, selecting the conflicted project, and tapping the export button. Save the backup to Dropbox outside the Dropbox sync folder.
  5. Quit Scrivener on the master iOS Device as described above.
  6. In the Dropbox app, move the original project out of the Dropbox sync folder. This should have the result of deleting the project from iOS Scrivener.
  7. Back in iOS Scrivener, manually sync your projects. If the conflicted project reappears, tap Edit above the Binder, select the offending project, and tap Delete. Keep doing this until the project is completely gone on both iOS devices.
  8. Back in the Dropbox app, move the original project back to your Dropbox sync folder.

Now you may safely sync iOS Scrivener on all devices to get the clean project. If it’s a large project, be sure you’re on a good connection, preferably WiFi.

Next up: iOS-only tables.



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