Writing Platform Reviews – Bitbucket – Usage on a Smart Phone

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…

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