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Using Dropbox as a source repository for book writing

Wed 16 Jan 2013

As many of you know I have recently released the 2nd edition of my Selenium book. When I wrote my first book I looked for a way to do version control of my book. Being a developer and test type, I used git to do all of my version control but I found that I would sometimes forget to commit and push my changes. This broke my own rule of keeping commits small.

The other problem is that if the text editor crashes, or even the OS crashes or I get a hard drive crash, there is a chance that I might only be able to go back to my last commit and push. Since I already said I am rubbish at doing the commit and push thing with documents git was definitely out of question.

I went to look for a different solution. I remembered that Dropbox keeps a history of files when syncing. So I went and tested the theory with a directory within my Dropbox folder. After a few times of playing with a file and syncing and reverting, I thought I would give it a go with my first chapter. I instantly fell in love with this approach. My publisher wanted me to use Microsoft Word to write all of chapters I instantly reverted to my old university habits of ctrl+s every few minutes. And every time I saved my chapter Dropbox would instantly synchronise the file and update the history of the file.

This meant that just by saving my file I was getting the small commit chunks I like without the worry of remembering to push my changes. I have lost the ability to do commit messages but in this scenario I honestly don't care. All I worry about is making sure I have the most up to date files I can if something were to go wrong.

I highly recommend people using Dropbox in this way.

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