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Scrivener 3 is on the way…

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Posted by Larry Kollar
Sep 27, 2017 at 03:39 AM


Dr Andus wrote:

>>I’ve built a pretty nice Scrivener workflow, based on MultiMarkdown
> >Sounds interesting. Would you mind sharing your workflow with us?

Sure! I’m working on a formal series (with illustrations) at my writing blog, http://www.larrykollar.com/ —but I can give you the TL;DR version here.

I use Scrivener to structure the book, just like in a non-MMD workflow. But I use the MMD **bold** and *italic* constructs all the way through (and it looks like that won’t be a requirement for Scriv 3). For typewriter text (in fiction, I use it for text messages the characters send each other), I use American Typewriter and “Preserve Formatting”—character presets with that attribute get converted to backticks (`this is a text msg`) at Compile time.

Compile is where the magic happens. I make use of MMD’s transclude construct for section breaks, where {{file.html}} gets replaced with the contents of file.html. One of the neat things about this is, if you use * for the extension (like {{file.*}}), MMD uses file.html for HTML output, file.odt for ODT output, and so forth. For chapter breaks, I have Scrivener insert

(more about this later). I also have a front matter preset defined.

So, for eBooks, I compile to MMD using the front matter preset (basically “{{frontmatter.*}}” to insert a title page and copyright page). I use MMD to create an HTML file, load it to Sigil, remove the

tag because EPUBCHECK chokes on it, then hit F6 (split at markers). Boom, I have a formatted EPUB, and all I have to do is generate the TOC.

For printed books, I compile to MMD *without* the front matter preset. MMD creates an HTML file, then I use XSLT to transform it to either XSL:FO (formatting objects) or typesetter markup, and make a PDF. Both build the front matter and TOC for me. If I was made of money, I could use PrinceXML or Antenna House software to format the HTML and not have to maintain the scripts. :-P

That’s pretty much it. I have some technical chops, yeah, but I’ll say this: once you learn XSLT, you can do pretty much anything with a well-formed HTML file. XSL:FO is powerful, but it’s teeeeeeeeeedious.


Posted by Larry Kollar
Sep 27, 2017 at 03:57 AM


Listerene wrote:
>Still irritates me that the OS with 85% of the market continues to get
>the short end of the stick in their development. A look at their changes
>reminds me that just about *every* text processing software has had
>these “improvements” for quite awhile.

LOL, I think this is the one of two forums on the Internet where MS users complain about feeling left out! (The other being Jekyll, and that works on W once you install Ruby.) Now you know how Mac users feel about nearly every other kind of software. All too often, if it exists on MacOS, it’s nobbled in annoying ways (see MS Office).

I don’t know why, but Macs have always gotten most of the attention when it comes to outliners, PIMs, and other CRIMP-ish software. I remember >20 years ago (I think it was 1993), I was using a W3.1 box at work & found a free to-do list manager for it. I thought it was pretty cool back then. Outliners with checkbox entries are far more versatile, though.


Posted by MadaboutDana
Sep 27, 2017 at 08:22 AM


Very cool! I’m impressed by the technical workflow! and the blog, as it happens, being a major reader of fantasy/sci-fi myself (not yet an author, but maybe one day…)


Posted by Dr Andus
Sep 27, 2017 at 09:33 PM


Thank you, Larry. Very interesting workflow. It sounds like a Scrivener-based version of LaTeX, without the pain involved in learning LaTeX…


Posted by Christian Tietze
Oct 4, 2017 at 08:17 AM


Chiming in from a developer perspective here.


> Why did Keith start on the Mac, not Windows? The arguments have been rehearsed on this forum previously. But if I remember correctly Keith has written that the Mac developing environment was simply more encouraging. In particular, the “frameworks and tools” that he needed (I take it this means “off-the-shelf pieces of code”) were available for OSX (now macOS) at little or no cost, and they simply weren’t available at all for Windows. He’d have had to code them himself, and that would have taken far longer.

It’s not like there is much copy & paste code for macOS development; I’d argue that programming for the “Windows API” throughout the 2000s was far more rewarding in terms of copy-pasteable code. Because everyone has a Windows machine, obviously. It’s just that the environment is so much nicer for programmers to think in and design with. Apple’s developer tools (the code editor etc) always were very good, clean, and user friendly. Coding Windows apps before .NET was a lot of hassle. It’s the same as with aesthetics and user interface differences between Mac and Windows, only showing in the internals, too. I develop Mac apps, and I think I’ll have to abandon ship one day to create software for more open platforms for ethical reasons, but I’m severely going to miss how developing for the Mac feels.

You probably also know the rumors that Mac users tend to spend far more money on indie apps; the culture of buying online was predominant because there was virtually no boxed software to buy in stores. Crapware like WinZIP bundled with Yahoo! toolbars etc. never became that popular, either. It was (and is) nice being part of this, even though there were (and still are) so many more potential customers on Windows.


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