How Version Control Makes You A Better Writer
To make your writing workflow betters, always use version control in your text editor software.
Ever get amazed at how a clothing style or dance becomes a popular craze that sweeps the nation? One style that is sweeping the tech world is version control. Version control is a feature that manages a document so that a writer can always work with the right intentional content and details. Version control has been appearing on a number of platforms as of late, so it’s a craze that writers should be joining, too.
The idea of a central version of a report is not new. Many people were first introduced to a variation of version control by managing a main document through using software. Microsoft Word has long permitted users to mark up documents and merged tracked document changes. But this is a limited version control. Real version control addresses the following two concepts for writers:
· Version control manages document changes over time, allowing the writer to revert back to a desired level of the document.
· Version control allows concurrent updates to the document without impeding the workflow of others who have access to the document. This means allowing branching for individuals
Version control really comes from the world of programming. Developers have raised the need to document their workflow on programming development, debugging, and other forms of operations. Thus version control became an essential to integrated development environments (IDEs). IDEs are software developers use when creating a program. The most popular is Visual Studio Code, but there are many others such as RStudio. But they all serve the same purpose, to create a program.
Version control in IDEs allows code details to be updated and managed among a developer team while minimizing user errors from making line changes. Individual developers working together on an application can fork off a version to their own IDE, permitting more coordinated workflow.
For example, GitHub allow developers to work on branches of a repository hosting a main programming code. This allowed other collaborators to view the version that appear in the hosting repository while debugging work continued. Once finished with the branch, the developers could then merge the code changes into the main version.
Version control is also becoming a staple in unit tests — tests are used to verify programming functions so that a code functions correctly.
How Can Writers Use Version Control To Better Manage Their Writing?
A writer who has a number of publications to write for on the same subject will have different takes on a subject. The difference is driven by editorial needs. You have different readers with varying interest. A reader who is interested in reading about the latest sports car will be interested in the performance stats and technological development, but a buyer will want financing details and maybe more information on reliability or daily driving experience. The car is the same, but the details will be slightly different.
Let’s say you have to right an article on a sports car, be it a Chevy Camaro SS or a Porsche Cayman GT4. Where version control helps is allowing the writer to develop the core details of an article that can appear in both articles.
Then create a version with a different opening and closing paragraphs to help you set the tone that would differ between each version.
By approaching your writing this way, you save some time and thinking in creating your article. You may phrase the core details a bit differently to satisfy editorial preferences. But the factual aspect of that content remains the same, making it easier for you to frame your thoughts and choose your words.
So how can writers leverage version control?
The expanded application of programming over the years has drawn more varied collaborators to a code, encouraging the adoption of version control as a necessity in support documents. Thus you will see version control and document history from many popular business software. Google, for example, introduced a new reporting feature in Data Studio called Report Publishing, a function enables users to decide how their work partners view real-time changes made to a report.
For writer tools, you have a number of applications available which provide version control to keep your documents updated to your intended levels.
For years Google Docs leverage the cloud for joining edits from contributors who had access to a document. Microsoft Word has also leveraged being on the cloud, expanding from its desktop software roots.
Another tool, Evernote, provides version control, in the form of saving an earlier version of a given document. The document can be retrieved, though it is placed in a separate document. Users can also access the document in one device and have the edits synced so that the same document appears online or on a device. The text editor, Bear, provides a sync across device feature similar to Evernote.
Most of the really good version control features in text editors should allow you to develop a version of your general topic, and store that version conveniently for easy access.
As a writer, you may find yourself collaborating with editors or other writers around documents every day. Thus you will want to pick tools that will keep your writing project moving forward. Use version control not only to maintain the document as you l, but to also manage the version of the topic you want to address. The benefits of a good version control system will last longer than any popular craze.