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Struggling with Export to Scrivener (Read 5034 times)
MichaelB
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Struggling with Export to Scrivener
Aug 16th, 2014, 9:15pm
 
I have been struggling with trying to export notes to Scrivener.  I have followed the OPML export tutorial and various other instructions I've found.

1. Is one only able to export the title of notes?  I can't figure out how to get the text of the notes to export.

2. When do I choose the Template/Scrivener and when do I choose Template/Scrivener/Item?

3. The Export creates a .opml file and a folder of all the files.  What is the relationship of these to each other when imported into Scrivener?

If any of these questions indicate that I am just totally off base, could someone tell me how to export a group of notes with their text and open them in Scrivener?

Thanks.
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Struggling with Export to Scrivener
Reply #1 - Aug 17th, 2014, 3:41am
 
I think the issue here is that there's insufficient documentation of how the OPML template set works. Looking at the templates as written they expect the exported content to be inside a container. Consider this setup:

Note W
  Note X
     Note Z
  Note Y

If W is set to use the OPML export set, W's title is used as the title of the OPML file but title, text, etc., are only taken from W's children and descendants. Why? Because, I assume, that suited the use of the author of the template and there is no one 'right' way to do this.

The 'OPML item' template should not be used on its own. The template set is an envelope/letter-style cascade. In the layout above, W used the main template and all the descendants are then processed using the 'item' template.

Templates don't control the scope of which notes get exported; this is left to the user. v6 is currently in an in-bettwn state.  In v5, the HTML view had an 'Export' button allowing just the current note to be exported (contents controlled by the template selection). A review of export is slated for v6.x and as a result, v6.0.x has no such single-note export. Rather you must use File-> Export which by default exports every note.

By contrast, the OPML file set expects you to have set other notes not to export (or don't mind them exporting. A simple workaround to just export the one file is to open TextEdit and (important!) set the new document to plain text.  In TB go to the root container of your OPML export (the one using the OPML template) and switch the text pane to the HTML tab. Use Cmd+A, then Cmd+C to select and copy the OPML code there and paste it into the TextEdit document. Save that taking care to give the document a '.opml' extension. I'm sure this will all get more streamlined once the export process review gets done in v6.x.

If you want the root container (W, above) to export its data then you can alter the OPML templates like so:
  • Select and open all of the code in the 'OPML item' template.
  • Duplicate the 'OPML' template and call it 'OPML2'. It should be i the same container next to the 'OPML' one.  do check the note is actually a template (via the Document Inspector, prototype pane).
  • In 'OPML2' the last-but-one line select '^children(/Templates/OPML/OPML item)^' and paste the copied code over that. 'OPML2' will new have a lot more code.
  • You don't need to copy the 'OPML item' template and place it in 'OPML2' as the code looks to the template that is a child of 'OPML' - both templates use the same child template called via a specific path - so don't move the child!
Edited:
See my next post below for a link to a demo file that saves you having to do the above edits yourself.
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« Last Edit: Aug 17th, 2014, 4:31am by Mark Anderson »  

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Re: Struggling with Export to Scrivener
Reply #2 - Aug 17th, 2014, 4:29am
 
To make this easier, I've made a basic TBX with templates modified so the root container's data is included.  I suggest you add some test data to the file and compare the output from the OPML vs OPML 2 templates and use whichever you prefer.

You do still need to set up which notes do/don't export (see HTML Inspector) if you want to use TB File menu -> 'Export to HTML…'. Otherwise, use the copy/paste to TextEdit method as outlined in my last post above.

Here's the demo file.
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« Last Edit: Aug 17th, 2014, 4:29am by Mark Anderson »  

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Greg Korgeski
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Re: Struggling with Export to Scrivener
Reply #3 - Aug 20th, 2014, 11:38pm
 
A week or two ago, in the course of my project to once again try to make Tinderbox work for me since we have version 6, I bravely tried to do the same thing and export a simple document for use in a small writing project in Scrivener. I had all the same questions, since I found myself totally at sea. Like the "ordinary Joe" recently discussed, I had all the same questions since essentially none of my trials and errors helped.

Mark, I always like and admire your tireless efforts to help, and your response is I'm sure extremely useful to people who have much more skill at this than me, but I have no clue how your response or the downloaded example can be implemented. As with many back and forth discussions on the forum, it seems that there is a sizable gap between the level of discourse of the question, and the complexity of the responses received.

It might be the psychologist in me, but it feels like people speaking rather different languages. At least for myself, I have been seeking more basic transitional materials to help me understand exporting. Exporting is a big one -- as a writer, if I can't export to Scrivener, it limits my use of Tinderbox quite a bit (you can copy and paste a few note contents, but not a few hundred.)

Is there a sort of plain English with demonstrations guide to exporting in the various cookbooks and manuals, or a list of best places to start here? I mean step-by-step, first go to outline view, next highlight notes to export, next click on x in what menu, and so on? I don't know how far back into "very basic" this has to go, but "pretend I'm six" might not be a bad place to start. I wrote two "complete idiot's guides" and for that, "you are writing for a high school student" was actually an important thing to recall. I know you guys don't actually want to write at that level perhaps, it must drive you mad with impatience sometimes, but frankly, that's where some of us are at in Tinderbox, even though in our other fields, we may be fairly competent, and we need the help.

Thanks.  Greg
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David Bertenshaw
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Re: Struggling with Export to Scrivener
Reply #4 - Aug 21st, 2014, 5:04am
 
I'm not an expert at all and haven't really got got involved with export, but I've just tried these steps and they work as far as I can see. (NB: some of these steps may not strictly be necessary, but I'm going for the simplest possible here...)

Things you need:

* Mark's demo file
* Your TBX file
* An existing Scrivener file (you'll be importing the data in -- the export doesn't create a new scrivener file)

Steps

1. Open Mark's demo file and go to outline mode. You'll see 2 top level folders: Templates with OPML and OPML2 as children (each of which has 1 child), and Prototypes with 1 child. Expand the outline so you can see every level then select every note (cmd-A) and then copy them (cmd-C)

2.Open your TBX file in an outline and make sure that no note is selected. Cmd-V to copy the notes. (For some reason, you may have to refresh the outline to see the copied notes. Going to Map mode and back to Outline should do the trick).

3. Select the parent of the notes you want to export. In the right hand panel select HTML (from the button bar at the top of the panel). From the drop down list Template, choose  /Templates/OPML2.

4. cmd-1 to bring up the Inspector then choose the HTML tab (2nd from the right <>) and select the Export tab.

5. Enter your filename and make sure .opml is the Extension and the Template is /Templates/OPML2. Change them if they're not. Optionally, change the Export To setting from the default Desktop.

6. Select File > Export to HTML... and press Export.

7. Open your Scrivener file and select File > Import Files... Navigate to Desktop and you'll see your opml file and a folder with the same name. Select the file, not the folder, and press Import.

You should then see you notes imported into the Binder, with the hierarchy preserved.

As I said, I'm fairly sure there are some unnecessary steps in the above, and that it could be streamlined / improved considerably. But it does seem to work for me and perhaps it will be enough to get you started?


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« Last Edit: Aug 21st, 2014, 5:06am by David Bertenshaw »  
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Struggling with Export to Scrivener
Reply #5 - Aug 21st, 2014, 5:11am
 
'Plain English' Ouch! I sense a lot of people 'just' wanting to export OPML assume it's a core function with some sort of wizard that sorts it all out for the user. It's quite the opposite, and the dawning realisation that some self-assembly is required what makes people give up.

You've tried my earlier articles/files:

Quote:
…but I have no clue how your response or the downloaded example can be implemented.


But you give not detail we can help you with. Why? What have you tried and where did you get stuck? Just writing another article/demo is like management by veto: "just show me the finished version and I'll tell you if it needs a complete do-over".

My recent file addressed the fact that the built-in OPML template exports the all descendants of the current note but not the note itself whereas I think the OPML-confused are more likely to want the 'source' note of the export to be be included in the OPML.

By default TB5 exports every note (bar prototypes and template) as its own HTML file into a folder tree. As OPML is a different form of mark-up so can use the HTML export method but needs to be set up a different way. The user has to do this and I'm getting the impression that the latter task is considered "too difficult" or rather ""too many steps". I don't think writing yet more tutorials will magic that away. If the process is too difficult (and I don't mean that demeaningly) then I think it is worth people asking Eastgate to build in an "Export OPML" function that simply involves selecting a source note/container for the export.

One aspect of the wizard would be to manage the hardest part (for me) of export configuration, which is figuring out which parts of the document should or shouldn't export. By default everything is exported which in this sort of context is way too much.
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Greg Korgeski
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Re: Struggling with Export to Scrivener
Reply #6 - Aug 21st, 2014, 7:14am
 
Thanks David -- I'll try that.

Mark: sorry but I was asking primarily for a sort of list of best places to start learning the skill, since as people note, the answers to this stuff tend to be a bit distributed over manuals and cookbooks and forum responses and webpages people put together and DVDs that come out of workshops and so on. Really, a college course in going behind the basics with Tinderbox would be the sort of thing I need. I have no way to try to reproduce my fumblings and the original question on this thread covered a lot of the same things I didn't know.

Beyond that, without a slow read and more time than I have this morning, I didn't understand your response. You're in the deep end of the pool and I'm in the shallows. I don't know why not understanding is so hard to understand.
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« Last Edit: Aug 21st, 2014, 7:15am by Greg Korgeski »  
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Struggling with Export to Scrivener
Reply #7 - Aug 21st, 2014, 9:15am
 
A problem here is v6 is in limbo right now, several v5 export settings vital for the confused/occasional user are 'on leave' in v6 pending a planned root-and-branch review of export.. The two settings I think v6.0.x urgently needs back are:
  • An export tab in document Setting to allow a default export template to be set easily form a pop-up. (THe HTML Inspector is way too complex for the beginner.
  • An 'Export' button/menu item that exports only the currently selected note.
Without this it's nigh impossible to write a simple primer as the casual/inexperienced is forced way too far into under-the-hood knowledge not pertinent for such a level of experience. This complexity is in how hard it is to set all the right tick-boxes. The OPML export itself works brilliantly once set up.

I should in fairness report the official workaround for single 'page' export, such as exporting a section of your doc as an OPML file. The process assumes you've already set up templates. Select the root container of your OPML export, switch the text pane to the 'HTML' (yes!) tab. Use Cmd+A/Cmd+C to select and copy the code. Now make a plain [sic] text file in TextEdit. Paste in the code. Save, making sure to give the file a '.OPML' extension. Then you're done.

Please don't shoot the messenger, this is the easiest(!) solution until Export is properly built out in v6. A small team is doing a complete rebuilt of a complex tool, not everything can be done at once. We users will just have to be patient for a bit longer.
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J Fallows
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Re: Struggling with Export to Scrivener
Reply #8 - Aug 21st, 2014, 9:41am
 
I am happy to report that, using Mark A's demo file, and David B's careful step-by-step, and Mark B's software, I did just successfully export via OPML to Scrivener, and it worked just as described!  Now I can imagine how to do it again on my own!

Agree with Mark A that it will be better when this is easier, but now I think I do understand. Thanks to all including David B for step-by-step.
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Struggling with Export to Scrivener
Reply #9 - Aug 21st, 2014, 10:53am
 
I hate to see people struggle. So, I've re-written my old v5 Clarify doc on OPML export using TB v6: http://shoantel.clarify-it.com/d/xet374. I've not had time to re-visit all the Scrivener side of things but I think that's unchanged. The revised doc shows TB6's UI in the grabs and shows the workaround for the lack of the v5 page export button.

Here's hoping this helps those spill spinning their wheels on OPML export

Sidenote: OPML is an open standard and adaptations occur. What most people think is 'normal' OPML in fact is not. It's the standard plus some additional inspired by Omnigroup's OmniOutliner app. So, be wary of lazy assumptions about what OPML 'should' export, it's probably less than you think!  Wink

Edit - URL fixed.
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« Last Edit: Aug 21st, 2014, 11:25am by Mark Anderson »  

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David Bertenshaw
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Re: Struggling with Export to Scrivener
Reply #10 - Aug 21st, 2014, 11:00am
 
Thanks Mark! A helpful resources, as usual.

(BTW, your click-on link in your post above misses the final figure (4) from the actual address, so clicking on it gets a 404 error.)
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Hugh
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Re: Struggling with Export to Scrivener
Reply #11 - Aug 22nd, 2014, 4:15am
 
Yes, many thanks, Mark. (Relatively) straightforward export from Tinderbox to Scrivener has become important to Tinderbox's value to me.
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Mark Anderson
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Re: Struggling with Export to Scrivener
Reply #12 - Aug 22nd, 2014, 6:26am
 
I had noted that of my 'Clarify' articles, the most read - by a country mile - were those relating to Scrivener.
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