Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Working Copy makes my heart throbb

Working Copy is one freaking impressive feat of work.

One of my early bits of research into apps to solve less popular problems, was searching the app store for a Git client. Because I’m really more of a git and vim kind of guy than a cloud thing and browser based word processor kind of guy. On my old Tab S3 and on my Chromebook, it was easy enough to combine a git client and an editor to manage some repos, even keep a backup of some software projects for reference. Priorities being as they are, I started with iVim because muscle memory and most likely to freak out the fruity operating system. Combined with Pretext it gives me an editor I’m very familiar with, and a simple editor that matches what I’d want out of something neither vi nor emacs like.

After reading around Mac Stories, I decided to finally give Working Copy a whurl. I’m impressed, and I’m happy. Hell, judging by its user guide I could probably manage a nice local edit + git → remote build life cycle if I really wanted to.

For the most part, the software I use tends to be cross platform. E.g. developed on Linux, also available on Windows, cie; Android and iOS. And mostly the apps I use that are on both, are mostly the same on both. Except for the habit of iOS apps to use a scrunched landscape in portrait rather than going to a full screen view. Which is fine by me ‘cuz I’m a lazy git and have more than a few platforms to deal with.

Working Copy manages to be pretty native and runs with it all the way. You wanna know what my definition of professional grade, well made software for doing real shit would look like on an iPad? Well pal, Working Copy is now that definition, and what a damned stunning example it is!!!

Even more so, it appears to be feature complete enough that I don’t have to worry much. You see, I’m weird. I tend to like doing my work from the git command line client, and if I’m going to suffer a GUI then it’ll probably be git gui + gitk. And if Working Copy can’t do what I need to do, odds are I’d be running command line git regardless of the operating system, and probably quite out of my routine.

Something that makes me kind of happy about how native it is, is the file sync.

The way {App}/Documents is exported into the On My iPad provider as {App} is pretty nice. But doesn’t seem like the iOS Files stuff really has a concept of Unix style hidden files, so getting to .vim is a bit of a pickle.

Thus, I had Working Copy’s sync feature use On My iPad/iVim/vimfiles. Which for iVim, maps to ~/vimfiles. A quick :e ~/.vimrc and it only took a moment to get my stuff in order.

" For iVim on iOS.
" Working copy can sync my terryp/vim to ~/ or a subdir but not ~/.vim because iOS file goodies don't like dot files
" So let's use terryp/vim -> ~/vimfiles ala wintel.

set runtimepath+=~/vimfiles/
set runtimepath+=~/vimfiles/after
source ~/vimfiles/vimrc

Since Working Copy is trivially able to handle the submodules in my repo, which anger some GUI clients I’ve tried on PC and Android, all my stuff pretty much just works. Because my .vim/bundle gets synced to vimfiles/bundle like the rest of my stuff.

When someone makes an application as good as Working Copy,  we should all applaud. I know that I’m sure freaking happy! It takes a lot of work to make an application that great, and all to often when you find an application to scratch such a less popular itch, it can be hard to find a really great solution. Working Copy is one of those rare, great solutions.

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