You might need version control if

  1. You're working on a grant or paper with collaborators and your filenames look like this (no, I'm not making this up):

    endo07_gaz_D2edits_26oct_2pm_kih_26Oct_700pm_rick_27Oct.doc

  2. The filename would actually be longer, except that then it would exceed the 255 character limit, so you just make it more cryptic instead. Soon you end up with files named:

    e07gD2e26o14k26o19r27o.doc

Version control software is not "for programmers only". If you're working on a collaborative writing project, please, pretty please, stop pretending that good version control tools do not exist and learn how to use one of them. While you're at it, ditch word and use a real text editor that supports syntax highlighting and integrates with your version control system. Then you can write with markdown + LaTeX using Pandoc and save yourself and your collaborators from lots of headaches.

published 31 Oct 2007 #