The first test I give any writing system is how well I can write on the go. Laptops or computers are great for writing, but can be bulky and heavy (even the thin models) and you can’t beat the convenience of a phone. Personally, my setup is an Android Phone: the Google Pixel. I don’t know how this setup works on other OS’s such as the iPhone’s iOS, but I imagine it would react similarly.
With bitbucket, there aren’t very many ways to connect using a phone. There is an android app called Bitbeaker, but I could find no way to edit files with the interface, and so I was stuck using the web version to edit files. The web version was pretty easy to use thankfully, but with a few caveats.
- Word wrap is turned off, making paragraphs insanely long at times which forced me to scroll left and right in order to read the paragraph. Thankfully if I went into edit mode, there was a word wrap option at the bottom that made this much better. I just wish there was a similar option in the reading view
- Occasionally, when typing, the cursor would inexplicably jump to the previous sentence. I’m not sure why this is, but I imagine it is related to its programming background. This was not designed with novel-writing in mind.
- Needless to say, formatting is not available. If you’re tech-savvy, however, there’s nothing stopping you from writing your novels in, say, HTML which would get around this issue.
- There is no autosave feature when editing. Saving is done when you “commit” your changes by pressing a button at the bottom of the screen. This, again, shouldn’t be unexpected as I’m abusing a system designed for something else.
- Due to this setup’s coding focus, spell check is not available.
- The text was a bit hard to highlight and scroll on the phone’s screen, but not unusable.
Even with all of these issues, I still was able to quickly do edits on the train with minimal frustrations. Where bitbucket shone was how it handled my version history. I could easily go back in time, compare versions of a document (red being old, green being new), and even spin off edits out into branches that could eventually be merged back into the main novel if I felt they were good enough or scrapped if not. The power of this is what made me consider using this as a revision tool to begin with.
Overall, the experience is not great unless I get a bit more techy…