Edward Thomson

Advent Day 19: Working Copy

December 19, 2018

This is day 19 of my Git Tips and Tricks Advent Calendar. If you want to see the whole list of tips as they're published, see the index.

I've highlighted a few Git GUI clients this month: Git Kraken, which supports macOS, Windows and Linux, and Tower, which supports both macOS and Windows.

But today I want to mention a surprising GUI client: Working Copy. It's surprising because it's not a GUI client for a "proper" computer, it's a GUI for … your phone.

Okay, I'm embellishing a bit: it's actually a GUI for any iOS device, so you can use it from your iPhone, but you might find the most utility in using it from your iPad. But even there, I must admit that I was skeptical. After all, I don't have a compiler on my iPad. And I don't even have my trusty vim. But, I was intrigued, since I do have a keyboard…

And, honestly, it's even a pretty good keyboard. So I decided to give Working Copy a chance and I must say that I'm impressed. It's not ideal for working on code, I admit. But it is good for making a quick change when you don't need to compile and debug, and when you trust your continuous integration pipeline to catch any problems. Or maybe to a README or some documentation.

And it's great for editing my blog. Since I use jekyll, my entire web site is in a Git repository. And since I've been on vacation this week, I've wanted to minimize what I'm carrying around. So I can work on this Git advent calendar while just carrying around my tiny iPad. In fact, I'm writing this in Working Copy's text editor now:

Working Copy

I don't even need to run jekyll locally - I can just commit and push. I have an Azure Pipeline deployment set up for my blog, with a staging server and production. So when I push my master branch, it deploys to staging, where I can review it and decide if I'm happy. (Once I am, I click to advance my deployment to production.)

So I'm convinced. Working Copy certainly won't be the only Git client that I use, since most of the time I'm doing development and the iPad just isn't a great platform for that (yet?). But, I'm increasingly reaching for it when I'm working on docs or my blog.

After all, I'm in favor of any Git client that lets me work easily from a poolside.