Why git + @Dropbox + @Asciidoctor + @Crashplan => perfect environment for writing /cc @PacktPub

By Greg Turnquist

Greg L. Turnquist worked on the Spring team for over thirteen years and is a senior staff technical content engineer at Cockroach Labs. He was the lead for Spring Data JPA and Spring Web Services. He wrote Packt's best-selling title, Learning Spring Boot 2.0 2nd Edition, and its 3rd Edition follow-up along many others.

July 16, 2014

packt-logoOne tidbit that Packt sends its authors is strong advice to BACK UP YOUR WORK. It will happen. So don’t get caught with no back up of your efforts.

As I being working on chapter four of Learning Spring Boot, I can tell you that I got this one covered in spades. I’m a firm believer in version control. I use git to manage my manuscript, code, and everything else. Mind you, This way, I can always back up to a previous version of anything and either recover something or use it to respond to feedback. In general, version control is protection from my own edits.

The git repository for my manuscript lives inside my Dropbox folder. That way, all my work is immediately visible on my phone, my wife’s tablet, and any other computer I have linked. To top things off, it essentially backs everything up to a remote location. This is a way to back up against hardware failure.

I also have a Crashplan account. I have the maximum plan, which means ALL my computers (max is 12 machines) are backed up with unlimited data volume and unlimited versions. I can find older versions of files if need be, and if I can’t locate via git. I have actually rebuilt my laptop twice in the past four years, and Crashplan was the key to recovering personal data.

To top things off, using Asciidoctor to write my manuscript has been fantastic. I don’t focus on layout, spacing, and other boring word processor stuff. I have focused on content. Quickly rendering a web page of a given chapter and proofing it in my browser is GREAT. After all that, I then open it up inside LibreOffice, and make sure I haven’t broken any margins. I’m still having to hammer out some issues with an editor, but I’m sure this investment will pay off in the long run.

Why did I write this? One of my followers spotted some new product from Amazon that appeared to be a collaborative tool. He or she was suggesting I take a peek. I quickly spotted the price tag of $5/user/month. No need! For writing a small book, all these tools are enough. The only thing I’m paying for is Crashplan. The rest of the tools are free.

When I think about doing the same thing fifteen years ago, I cringe at what the state of the art was back then. To truly embrace open source back then and pursue an open source only lifestyle would have been nigh impossible. But today? No one thinks twice about using free software tools to get real things accomplished.

1 Comment

  1. Jim Carlson

    I’ve been developing a content-management site (http://noteshare.io) using asciidoctor. Asciidoctor is a _fantastic_ tool.


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