Advertising
Advertising

How To: Use Git to Version Your Writing

How To: Use Git to Version Your Writing

If you are a writer you may have ran into this problem. You are writing like mad, moving things, changing the way something flows. As you are getting into it, you realize.

Hey! This isn’t what I want to say at all! I need to go back.

You feverishly tap CTRL + z (or Command + z for you Mac aficionados) and come to find that your favorite “no frills” text editor has lost your undo history or you aren’t quite sure where you want to go back to.

Good for more than just development

Git is a piece of software that allows the user to control the versions of files in a directory. It allows the user to ‘commit’ a snapshot of any directory to a ‘repository’ that tracks all of the changes between versions of the files.

Git is awesome for development. But, what I have found is that it is awesome for writing as well.

Git allows me to commit my writing every so often so I can get back to where I want to be. It also allows me to ‘branch’ my writing so I can separate it from everything else.

Let’s take a look at how you can use git to control your writing versions.

Installation, Initialization, and committing

I will be covering Windows and Mac here. For you Linux geeks; you should already know how to use git!

Advertising

To install git do the following:

    For Windows:

    Go to git-scm.com, click on the Windows link to the right and download the latest version. Install via the executable and choose the most standard settings. When you get to the Adjusting your PATH environment screen, select the first option, Use Git Bash only and hit next. When at the Configuring the line ending conversions, select the third option, Checkout as-is, commit as-is and hit next. After the install completes click “Finish”.

    For Mac:

    Go to git-scm.com, click on the Mac OS X link to the right and then click the latest .DMG file in the list to download. Launch the DMG from your Downloads directory and double-click the git PKG. Follow the on-screen instructions and enter your user credentials. Close the installer when it is complete.

    OK, now that you have git installed we are going to get geeky and use a terminal in both Windows and Mac.

    To get to the git terminal in Windows go to the Start button and search for ‘git’. Click on ‘Git Bash’ to get to your git command line interface.

    For Mac just open a terminal by going to Applications > Utilities > Terminal.

    Advertising

    Here is where the fun begins. Let’s say you have a folder where you store a bunch of writing. For me that is in my Dropbox/writing folder. If I want to start tracking that directory I can change to that directory via command line then initialize a git repository.

    This will be close to the same on both platforms. To change to a certain directory use the command:

    cd [path-to-your-writing-directory]

    Of course fill in your own directory. My command looks like this in Windows:

      The backslash after ‘My’ is used to tell the terminal that the space after the word ‘My’ is there. You can autocomplete your paths by starting to type a directory and then hitting the ‘Tab’ key.

      And this on my Mac:

        Once you are at the directory you have all of your writing in you can issue the command git init which initializes a blank “repository” for your directory. This puts a .git directory that is initialized. Once your repository is initialized you can add the files to the repository by typing

        Advertising

        git add .

        or

        git add [some-name-of-a-file]

        to add only one file.

        After that you can commit your files to the repository by typing

        git commit -m “This is my first commit (or some other message)”

        ‘-m’ is used to tell git that you want to put a message with your commit. Now you have made your first commit to your new git repository! Congrats, you geek.

        More on committing and branching

        OK, I know that was a little technical, but you are over the hump now. If you want to learn more about git though in your free time, check out Pro Git. It’s free and it is the best tutorial on the inner workings of git.

        Advertising

        So, what committing does is take a “snapshot” of the directory structure or whatever files you told your git repository to watch. If you make a change to a sentence in one of the files that your repository is watching after you just committed and type ‘git status’ you will be presented with the changes that have been made to the watched files. This lets you know that you have “uncommitted” changes to your watched files. You can then easily commit them by issuing the git commit command.

        Another neat feature of git is branching. Branching is the idea of making a totally separate branch of your repository. You can create a new branch by typing:

        git checkout -b this-is-a-new-branch

        You can then make changes to your tracked files totally separate from your “master” branch. This allows you to take different paths with your writing without screwing up something else that was committed.

        To switch back to your “master” branch, type:

        git checkout master

        Also, remember to commit any changes before creating and changing to new branches. If you don’t you may run into issues down the line where some changes get dropped.

        More to come

        Let us know if you think that this is helpful or want to learn more about using git to track files leave some messages in the comments.

        Git is a super application; one that I use everyday. I can’t praise it enough. But, remember, it doesn’t have to be just used by geeks and hackers, writers can use it to keep track of their work and to feel free to explore other writing avenues without losing valuable work they have already created.

        More by this author

        6 Unexpected Ways Journaling Every Day Will Make Your Life Better Why Getting Things Done is the Best Productivity System For You How to Beat Procrastination: 29 Ways to Beat It Once and for All To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time

        Trending in Technology

        1 7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Help You Make the Most of Your Business 2 Evernote vs OneNote: Which Improves Your Productivity Better? 3 11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity and Efficiency 4 25 Essential Windows Keyboard Shortcuts You Need to Know Now 5 11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising

        Published on October 16, 2018

        7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Help You Make the Most of Your Business

        7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Help You Make the Most of Your Business

        There’s nothing more fulfilling than the sense of accomplishment you get by achieving your business goals.

        Gone are the days when you used pen and paper to take notes and manage your work day. As millennials are relying heavily on technology to manage almost everything from finances to their personal fitness, goal tracking apps are also becoming increasingly popular.[1]

        In this piece, we will shed some light on 7 such goal tracking apps that you can use to streamline your operations.

        I have handpicked these apps from a software rating web services site Best Online Reviews. Industry experts review software on these websites and help businesses to find the right solutions to meet their various, unique business requirements.

        1. Aha!

          Aha! is a California-based roadmap software provider and offers excellent goal tracking app that lets you define goals and objectives for projects. The app also lets you list out primary tasks and allows you to focus on them.

          Hosted securely on the cloud, the app offers enhanced communication tools for sharing updates through emails with select colleagues or the entire organization.

          Aha! is available on multiple platforms such as the web, Android, iOS, Windows, etc. and starts from $59 per month per user.

          Available for Web

          Advertising

          2. Asana

            Asana is one of the more popular project management apps available for businesses. It lets you organize all your team’s work, such as setting up and tracking goals, creating tasks, sharing files and notes, etc.

            Asana also allows your team to organize all their tasks and focus on urgent priorities. Moreover, the app offers a delightful user experience that makes task management simple and easy.

            Asana is available on multiple platforms from PCs and Mac to iOS and Android. Multi-channel adaptability makes Asana the perfect choice to track your goals anytime, from anywhere.

            Available for iOS | Android | Web

            3. Basecamp

              Basecamp is an excellent tool to manage all your team’s projects and keep your activities organized. It opens a new thread for every task and that task is visible by the whole team.

              With Basecamp, you can schedule tasks, add to-dos, discuss tasks by adding comments, add files and attachments, and much more.

              The app is available on both mobile and desktop platforms and costs $99 per month. It is available on the web, Android, and iOS platforms and offers excellent multi-channel access.

              Advertising

              Available for iOS | Android | Web

              4. Forecast

                An efficient tool for successful task management, Forecast is also a popular goal tracking app. Apart from effective milestone tracking, the app also offers convenient status reporting.

                Forecast uses project history to let you know the status of your current work. Moreover, it uses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to provide high-quality assistance. It is a robust app for small teams to track goals and time.

                Forecast is available for free and comes with Android and iOS app support. The premium version of the app starts from $19 per month per user.

                Available for Web

                5. Wrike

                  Wrike is a cloud-based collaboration and project management app that successfully manages projects from start to finish. It lets you create tasks, track work progress and retrieve reports with ease.

                  The app also gives real-time work updates and helps team members to understand their work priorities. A custom report builder helps you to generate in-depth reporting.

                  Advertising

                  Wrike’s premium version is available from $9.80 per month per user and is available on multiple platforms.

                  Available for iOS | Android | Web

                  6. Todo.vu

                    Todo.vu is a unique platform that delivers enhanced customer relationship management (CRM), task management, time tracking, and billing functionality in a single app.

                    According to Capterra, it’s an ideal app for freelancers and consultants, who are looking for tools to improve efficiency and transparency.

                    Although the app is free to use with basic features, the premium plan starts from $5 per month per user. The app also comes with calendar sync and task reminder functionality to keep you on track, always.

                    Available for Web

                    7. Flock

                      Looking for a tool to simplify task management? Try out Flock.

                      Advertising

                      Flock comes with enhanced goal tracking and additional features like instant messaging.

                      Moreover, Flock offers tons of integrations with tools such as Google, MailChimp, Jira, Dropbox, etc. It is a powerful tool that’s packed with robust features such as reminders, notes, polls and to-dos.

                      Even though you can use the tool for free, the paid version of Flock is available from $4.50 per month per user.

                      Available for iOS | Android | Web

                      Conclusion

                      Businesses need high-quality project management tools to streamline collaboration and operations. Enhanced goal tracking apps make it easy for your team to improve productivity by keeping its tasks organized.

                      But it’s essential that you choose an app that meets your unique business requirements. You can choose from the above-mentioned apps to streamline operations and improve the productivity of your team.

                      Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      Read Next