33

If you are one of those rare people who can write, straight through, without any major refactorings or changes of direction along the way, more power to you. But for many people, and IMO any long-running project, source control is a major benefit. Here are some of the reasons: When you realize the path you're going down is a bad idea, you can roll back to ...


12

For internal documentation I've found wikis to be quite useful. A wiki has several useful features for this task: built-in change-tracking doc can be structured as several pages (e.g. one per major section) for easier management; individual pages can then be edited without any need to merge changes into a master document some (most?) wiki platforms detect ...


10

The first scenario is check pointing to safe guard against those moments (and I've had them) where you come to realize a section of the document is missing. This happened when accidentally, without me noticing, as well as when one of my kids happened to hit the keyboard and I had a section of text selected. The other use though is before I'm going to rework ...


7

Just to play devil's advocate a little bit, I think a case can definitely be made for not using a software version control tool in writing. As a writer who also works in the software development industry, I have some pet theories about this, though I am still experimenting myself. In 1967, a computer programmer called Melvin Conway coined what has become ...


6

WinMerge can help you manually merge documents. It can compare two text documents, highlight similar lines and lines that are slightly different and it allows you to quickly choose which version to keep on a line by line basis. If you want to automate this process and also keep history and be able to switch between different versions and choose what to ...


5

Identifying a commit A universal identifier for each commit is its SHA1 — a 40 digit hexadecimal number, like this one: 3e0b5fb09d70d0457d7e5ae7892504f6e1b45f33 This commit is from the Sphinx documentation builder's repo. The comment says: Merge pull request #4556 from tk0miya/4543_autodoc_test_fails_with_py353 Fix #4543: test for autodoc fails with ...


5

I can think of one reason: If you have a co-writer, it gives you the confidence to revert to a previous form if you don't like their writing. Or combine conflicts if both of you are writing the same section. This is the original purpose of version control in programming. As I've said in a comment, very often it's best to rewrite back to a previous draft ...


5

There is no advantage. Most people in this forum are from a technical background, so they automatically look for technical solutions. You don't write a book how you write code. When writing code, you dig in, change a line here, add a function there. This can break the whole system, which is why you have version control and testing and continuous ...


4

I'm a writer, not a coder, and I started with this same exact question. I started using Git and it works perfectly, though it was definitely took some time to learn. It's cool because Git is popular and there's GitHub and lots of people are into it. That said, I understand that Mercurial is just as good or better, and much easier to use with "saner" more ...


4

I write when I can. (Full-time job, family, house, church, etc. takes up most of my time.) Currently working on a book series with a complicated plot, so I often don't write linearly. (Heck, the plot's not even linear!) Once or twice per week I save under a new version number. It's been invaluable, because I've often cut a section (to paste elsewhere), ...


4

You are talking about a Revision Control System, and it's a principle tool among software engineers. Using git (not github, but git on your own files) is a great idea. The thorn is that you don’t get the same benefit when using “word processor” files. A solution is to use a system of writing using plain text files, with formatting as a separate process. ...


4

You might consider using R-Markdown. I can imagine a process where you: Convert all of your current documents to separate markdowns in plain markdown text Identify the components you wish to keep the same between documents Create separate objects containing each piece of text you wish to synchronize Insert those objects into each of the separate ...


4

Lyx have some subdocuments abilities that may help. But you'll have to port your work in this new environment and it may not suits your other needs. Nevertheless, it is one of my favorite writing tools.


3

Google docs has insane levels of versioning, and can compare changes since any specified version, showing additions and deletions. It's probably your best choice. Scrivener, probably the most widely used writing-specific software, can create a backup every X saves. I set mine on 5, since I save frequently. But that might not be what you're looking for. At ...


3

I'm not sure I can provide a full solution to this, as the workflow seems to have so many variables. If what you are after is just getting the comment without copying or pasting, you can use something similar to the following Unix command: $ git log --format=%B -n 1 <sha-1> > filename.txt This gives you the comment for the specified SHA-1 commit ...


3

The principal reason would be to easily collaborate on a document with multiple authors and avoid overwriting each others copy. It would also help you open up your book to public contributions, corrections and suggestions if you used a social platform such as github.


3

I do not know whether the sophisticated functionality of git would be all that useful, unless perhaps if you are collaborating with another writer. However git does offer a couple of things that are potentially interesting or useful to the writer. The first, and somewhat trivially, is that it neatly does the book-keeping versions of your text for you, ...


2

If you are using a Mac, one thing that many people miss is that there is built-in system versioning that is available in any app that supports it. For example, if you are writing in Pages, you can go File ▶ Revert ▶ Browse all Versions to essentially go back in time to previous versions of your document. It works somewhat like how Time Machine works for all ...


2

I use The Novel Factory (as you might expect) which allows me to have tabs for up to three drafts, plus 'blocking'. I also occasionally save a new version of my entire novel file in case I want to go back to something earlier. I think that if you have too many copies, then, after a while, the overhead of searching for something gets too high. And probably, ...


2

As I'm a programmer I do, as I'm used to it and version control is made for tracking revisions of text, so it is working pretty good with writings. Pros using version control: backup is easier, as I once created backup for my repositories I simply put everything that I want to keep under version control I can see and go back to older versions of my writing ...


2

I script Python by day and write by night, and personally I find version control more distracting than helpful. I get so diverted tinkering with it, I end up forgetting about the book itself. I find the easiest scheme to just increment chapters. A hypothetical chapter 1 becomes chapter 1.2 with a new edited version for example. They alphabetically self-...


2

If you want to share your work while you write it, github is an okay way to do that. It's not great, because it's usable only by the tiny fraction of people who know how to use git. Consider LeanPub.com. Many of my colleagues publish their books through LeanPub.com. LeanPub converts writers' manuscripts (written in markdown) into standard epub files. And ...


2

Not to sound rude, but you mostly answered it in your own question. You have a lesser version than the requirement. Sometimes this means the application will not run at all, other times it means it will run but with errors and often time not worth the hassle of the errors. I would not recommend it. I have personally found Pages to be adequate for my writing ...


2

In the past, I've used a wiki for this type of work. However, a tool doesn't organize itself. The best wiki sites are heavily edited from every level from copy to development.


1

I'm not sure about using Git commit. I don't use it much. How about tokenizing your text in Python? Then calculate the entropy per sentence. This would show difference between sentences. Alternatively, you could do this for words or ngrams. The output can be stored to list and txt file. # py3 algo for calculating entropy # import math from collections ...


1

I presume you have already tried the flags --minimal and --ignore-all-space. If line breaks due to added/deleted/changed words are causing the problem with diff (making it look like changes appeared that are just format changes), I would suggest (since you can program this yourself easily) you pre-process both files, to produce two new files for comparison. ...


1

To follow what other people have said, it should work considering 10.11.2 is newer than 10.2. 13 years newer, actually. See the releases section here. I use Scrivener on Windows and highly recommend it.


1

Likely worth verifying with the Scrivener publishers and/or Apple, but in most software version numbering systems, 10.11.* is newer than 10.2.*. That would mean Mac Scrivener will work as well on your Macbook as it would on your desktop Mac (presuming adequate processor, RAM, and storage available).


1

With some tools, you can tag the two verb forms as conditional text in the source document and then render the version you want in the output. If you're writing a status report, I recommend using verb forms that let you sidestep revising/conditionalizing text, as shown here. Example A Consultant writes blog post. Completed. Client publishes blog post. In ...


1

Have a look at medium.com it is built for writers it has revisions and notations.


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