Haikus in git (by )

I decided I'd write a haiku a day through February, for WoPoWriMo.

But I had to make it interesting, so I'm doing then in git, and letting GitHub publish them for me at http://alaricsp.github.com/wopowrimo/ using their pages system.

git is a system for looking after a bunch of files, keeping track of the 'history' - previous revisions. Since it knows the history, it can show you the changes made in each version; it can also do advanced stuff like letting you make several copies of your work, making changes to each copy, then comparing the results, merging the changes into one version, etc.

This has a number of uses. Perhaps you can have copies of your work on your laptop and your desktop, so you can work on either computer, and merge your changes when you get a chance. Perhaps you can try several different changes to your work, and decide which ones you want to keep. Perhaps a team can each take a copy of something, work on different parts of it, and merge them together again. Perhaps you can just put a copy on another computer, and merge your changes onto it from time to time, just in case you lose your laptop, so you have a backup.

Keeping the history means you can try making experimental changes, safe in the knowledge that you can undo them by going back to an earlier version.

It's normally used for things like computer software, but it's increasingly being used for things like writing projects as well. There's a git tutorial for designers, and writers such as Cory Doctorow and Tycho Garen are starting to adopt it.

GitHub is a site that hosts copies of your git repositories for you. You can push changes from your local copy to the github copy whenever you want to publish them to the world, and it has a nice Web interface to let people take copies of them, view the history, and so on; its pages system also exposes simple Web sites stored in git repositories onto the Web.

So you can view my efforts at http://alaricsp.github.com/wopowrimo/; or from that page you can find instructions on how to take your own local copy with git (that you can pull my changes into from time to time, and then look at the history), or you can follow the links through to http://github.com/alaricsp/wopowrimo/commits/gh-pages and view the history.

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