NWP and iOS: About Back&Forth-ing

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pbasswil
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NWP and iOS: About Back&Forth-ing

Post by pbasswil » 2017-05-18 07:34:40

Will I lose any NWP-specific formatting,
if I trade Nisus's .rtf's back and forth between
NWP on Mac and
an .rtf app on iOS?

I especially need my Heading Styles to survive;
I organize my prose by their Table of Contents indents.

Thanks in advance!

- pbass wil

pbasswil
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Joined: 2015-09-21 08:44:00

Re: NWP and iOS: About Back&Forth-ing

Post by pbasswil » 2017-05-19 05:43:23

Bump!

Will I lose any NWP-specific formatting,
if I trade Nisus's .rtf's back and forth between
NWP on Mac and
an .rtf app on iOS?

I especially need my Heading Styles to survive
(since I organize my prose by their Table of Contents indents).

Thanks in advance!

- pbass wil

MacSailor
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Location: Linköping, Sweden

Re: NWP and iOS: About Back&Forth-ing

Post by MacSailor » 2017-05-20 02:06:50

Do you have a particular iOS app in mind?
Peter Edwardsson
..............................

pbasswil
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Re: NWP and iOS: About Back&Forth-ing

Post by pbasswil » 2017-05-20 07:41:26

MacSailor wrote: Do you have a particular iOS app in mind?
Nisus forum is... _ALIVE_! :^}
Thanks for your response, Peter.

I don't have a specific iOS app in mind, although Mellel for iPad looks like a candidate.
I'm open to suggestions – preferably app(s) where I can navigate the text by my headings,
like I do in NWP's Navigator set to Table of Contents.

What I want to know is:
If I open a Nisus file in an iOS rtf-compliant app, and save changes, will the .rtf document retain everything that was encoded in it by Nisus?
Or could there be surprises when I take it back to Nisus on Mac?

Thanks – pbass

xiamenese
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Re: NWP and iOS: About Back&Forth-ing

Post by xiamenese » 2017-05-20 09:57:28

Mellel for iPad, whenever I've looked, will only open Mellel-native format files. So you'd need to open your RTF in Mellel on your Mac and save it in Mellel format, open that in Mellel on your iPad, then open it again in Mellel on your Mac, save it as RTF or Docx and open that in NWP.

Not worth the hassle, which is why, although I have both Mellel for Mac and Mellel for iPad, I've never used them! Mind you, I haven't looked recently to see if upgrades to Mellel for iPad have changed that.

As for any other editor on the iPad, I have no idea. I use Scrivener on my Macs and have Scrivener for iOS, though I haven't used the latter much, I have to admit. I compile to RTF from Scrivener and tweak that in NWP.

Mark

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Hamid
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Re: NWP and iOS: About Back&Forth-ing

Post by Hamid » 2017-05-20 10:59:16

pbasswil wrote:Will I lose any NWP-specific formatting,
if I trade Nisus's .rtf's back and forth between
NWP on Mac and
an .rtf app on iOS?
Yes, you will lose NWP-specific styles.
All defined styles will be removed from the style sheet. Emphatic and Strong will appear as manually applied italic and bold respectively. Tables and footnotes/endnotes will be lost. Here is a before and after image of the style sheet:
Mac2iOS2Mac.png
Mac2iOS2Mac.png (77.27 KiB) Viewed 2552 times

pbasswil
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Re: NWP and iOS: About Back&Forth-ing

Post by pbasswil » 2017-05-20 11:06:33

UPDATE in light of Hamid's answer:

Thank you so much for the definitive answer, Hamid!

Well that settles it. Looks like my cozy NWP affair is over, if I want to co-exist on other platforms. :^{
Sigh, life is becoming one continuous technological transition/adaptation. It's like being homeless. :^/

--------------------
Pre-Hamid response:

Thanks for your insight & experience, Mark.
All of Mellel's blurbs & website don't even say what its native file format is! Just that it imports & exports .rtf.

Finding out about .rtf compatibility is hard – no one seems to know.
I haven't bought an iPad yet. I want to be able to work on the same .rtf's (kept in Dropbox) on either platform.

I hope I don't have to buy an iPad, and then buy some .rtf apps, just to find out if round-tripping is practical.
There must be someone who successfully juggles Mac & iPad – it's a common situation: every Mac person I know, now has an iPad too. (But not necessarily .rtf writers, who could answer my question).

I thought .rtf was supposed to be a sort of standard file format.
Wouldn't it make sense that apps, when re-saving an imported .rtf, would only tamper with parameters that their app needs to save – and leave other stuff (already encoded in the file) alone?

Sorry, this it becoming my rambling rant....

adryan
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Re: NWP and iOS: About Back&Forth-ing

Post by adryan » 2017-05-20 14:23:49

G’day, pbass et al

An RTF document (with extensive style sheet but not including fancy things like lists, tables or graphics) from Nisus Writer opened in Pages on a Mac looks the same. When a few text alterations are made in Pages and the file is exported to RTF and then viewed once more in NWP, it still looks the same, but, as Hamid has nicely demonstrated, the style sheet is but a shadow of its former self.

I expect the same situation would obtain when using Pages in iOS. I tried it with my iPhone, but I was unable to reimport the file back to my Mac. It seems this requires iCloud which I don’t use.

I think a lot depends on how extensive the work is that you wish to do on the document in iOS. If it’s a large document and you’re making editorial alterations all over the place on both devices, it makes sense to use the same software on both devices if you can. But, if you’re only making alterations in a limited part of the document on the iOS device, it’s relatively easy to incorporate these changes in your primary NWP document with its original style sheet.

So, at least for this relatively uncomplicated type of document, it should be possible to have it look the same on both devices without sacrificing major features of NWP for really serious work on the Mac. Pages, for example, does not do grep.

Cheers,
Adrian
MacBook Pro (mid-2014)
macOS Sierra 10.12.6
Nisus Writer user since 1996

pbasswil
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Re: NWP and iOS: About Back&Forth-ing

Post by pbasswil » 2017-05-21 06:45:23

Thanks for the extra guidance, Adrian.
(And nice, from my land-of-handsome-prime-ministers, to hear from a fellow colonial.)

I'm sure the cross-app and cross-platform stuff works for some folks. I don't think it's going to work for me. I'll try Mellel.
I'll miss NWP though, since I had it set up very conveniently, so that it was out of the way of my writing process. I barely had to think about navigating my long document. And now neurons that only wrote, will be hostage to a new adaptation process.

That's the cost of being seduced by new tech. I'm only going iPad because I need to make illustrations, and Apple Pencil is too good to resist. But if I'm going to be on it, I'll need to write on it, too.

Cheers to all good samaritans here. :^)

- pbass

pbasswil
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Re: NWP and iOS: About Back&Forth-ing

Post by pbasswil » 2017-05-21 07:23:29

Mulling it over:

My NWP-on-Mac experience is so perfectly _transparent_, so out of my way.
Will I sacrifice my sacred writing flow so easily??

Now I'm thinking: If I feel compelled to work on my text while on iPad, I can just
- open my Nisus .rtf in Dropbox app – Read Only
- open a 'scratch' document in any convenient text app (iPad Pro allows 2 apps open, side-by-side).
- make any additions or changes in the scratch doc – like annotations.
- Later, on my Mac, recompile & collate the scratch contents into my NWP .rtf.

It's a ragged fudge, but at least it won't destroy my primary writing flow.
iPad<—>Mac is not yet seamless. I'm not going to strain my brain to fight that.
I'll try to keep the iPad for graphics – at which it excels.

Honestly, I think M$ have got the paradigm (at least) right: a single OS for Surface & PC. But from my experience, they'll never get it trouble-free and reliable as OS X.
I tried switching to Windows a few years ago, and found it mightily frustrating and rarely stable. Oh: and you could almost watch the OS installation decaying over time, the slow-down was that predictable.

Cheers, folks.

- pbass

adryan
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Re: NWP and iOS: About Back&Forth-ing

Post by adryan » 2017-05-21 16:47:07

G’day, pbass et al

That’s the spirit! The idea of using the iPad as a sort of writer’s notebook, rather than the main manuscript generator, is along the lines I was thinking. In my experience, iOS is an awkward vehicle for most serious work anyway.

One possibility is to devise a simple markup scheme for use with text on the iPad. For example, “Heading 1” (or simply “H1” if that string will never occur in your text proper) might begin a line that is to have a “Heading 1” style. Or adopt an XML tag approach. Or color text strings differently. Anything that will identify where you want to have a style applied (and possibly finish being applied). To what extent you need to do this depends on the software you use on the iPad. But it mainly depends on how difficult it would be for you to find the text strings that need to be styled once you had the new text back on your Mac. Maybe you only need to flag headings because it’s obvious that succeeding paragraphs all share a common style. Admittedly, marked-up text can be somewhat confusing to read in its raw state, but you can often mitigate the clumsiness by having the markup tags on separate lines from the text proper. The text color idea might be useful here.

When you have the file back on your Mac, you run a macro that appends the new text to the primary manuscript file, searches for the markup tags, applies styles appropriately and deletes the markup tags. (Just to expand on this: if only headings were tagged as such, the macro would apply the heading style there, then proceed to apply some different style to succeeding paragraphs; these paragraphs don’t necessarily have to have been tagged.) Use a keyboard shortcut to invoke the macro and it’s all done in a matter of seconds.

If your new text often needs to be inserted elsewhere than at the end of the manuscript, do that manually and don’t incorporate that operation in the macro.

If you frequently make alterations in multiple places in the file on the iPad, you could consider using the Nisus-supplied Compare Documents macro as part of your style application macro.

I hope this helps.

Cheers,
Adrian
MacBook Pro (mid-2014)
macOS Sierra 10.12.6
Nisus Writer user since 1996

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phspaelti
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Re: NWP and iOS: About Back&Forth-ing

Post by phspaelti » 2017-05-22 01:26:31

Another possibility would be to keep the original, and then use a macro that transfers the changes from the edited version/scratch pad to the original (which still has the original styles).
philip

adryan
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Re: NWP and iOS: About Back&Forth-ing

Post by adryan » 2017-05-22 04:27:09

G'day, Philip et al

Perhaps I didn't express myself clearly enough, but that is exactly what I was getting at. The primary manuscript would be the NWP one on the Mac. All your formatting, styles, palettes, menu commands, grep, macros are right there.

The purpose of the macro I suggested was to insert text alterations from the iPad version of the file into the primary manuscript on the Mac and then apply the appropriate styles (which of course are readily available from the primary file's Style Sheet). If the iPad alterations are only back-of-the-envelope stuff, you may not need a macro at all: just copy and paste and apply one or two styles manually. However, if the iPad alterations extend to the whole tablecloth, a macro could be very handy.

As I intimated in an earlier posting, the NWP file could be transferred to the iPad where (depending on the application used to view it) it could well appear identical to its counterpart on the Mac. So pbass wouldn't have to limit himself to only a part of the document or to a blank scratchpad when doing work on the iPad. It's just that the named styles will have been stripped from it during the migration. The macro would not restore the styles to the iPad file on its return to the Mac; rather, altered text from that (style-less) file would be incorporated into the primary (styled) manuscript file on the Mac and styled appropriately there.

Of course, there is a school of thought — which may well accord with pbass's creative flow — that holds that no formatting at all (other than italics, boldface and the like) should be done when the creative juices are flowing while you're composing your magnum opus on your iPad overlooking some coral lagoon in the middle of the Pacific. Time enough to make it all look pretty once you’re back home with your Mac and inspiration has been left floating on a raft….

Cheers,
Adrian
MacBook Pro (mid-2014)
macOS Sierra 10.12.6
Nisus Writer user since 1996

pbasswil
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Re: NWP and iOS: About Back&Forth-ing

Post by pbasswil » 2017-05-22 06:35:05

Yikes, you guys are making my head reel with the scripts & macros et al.
Once, in another life, I figured out a bit of scripting within Microsoft Word, but it was a learning curve for me.

I'm at a point where I don't want another learning curve. I'm getting older, and now feel that I have to get my ideas out in prose – pre-senility – and stop my inner tech-ie from hijacking my focus. I'm getting better at that boundary.

Thanks for your ideas, this forum has turned out to be alive with helpful folks!
But I'm going to keep it 'Luddite', and maintain my master NWP doc manually.
Adrian wrote: ...no formatting at all (other than italics, boldface and the like) should be done when the creative juices are flowing while you're {writing} Time enough to make it all look pretty once you’re back home with your Mac...
Yep, that's about it.

Some time down the road when I need a break, I may look closer at apps that have both OS X and iOS variants, for a proper hand-shaking workflow between the two platforms.

But right now, I'm going to Write, Now!

cheers,

- pbass

Vanceone
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Re: NWP and iOS: About Back&Forth-ing

Post by Vanceone » 2017-05-23 04:54:28

I have a question though about Hamid's answer and regarding the other RTF app stripping styles. As I understand RTF, it's built to use different applications and each application shouldn't be stripping out tags it doesn't understand--like, say, Nisus styles. And stylesheets are a core feature of RTF (RTF is basically the native feature set of, say, Word 2004 which certainly understands styles).

So my question is this: is this RTF app stripping out all styles, or only styles not actually in use in the document? Nisus includes several styles by default, even if not in use in the document.

So if you actually are using Heading 4, for instance, does this RTF app remove it? Or does it leave it alone and strip out other styles that are not in actual use? If it's stripping out styles that are actually applied in the document... then it's a broken implementation of RTF, that's for sure.

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