Chelsea Otakan: Version Control for Designers

5 responses on “Chelsea Otakan: Version Control for Designers

  1. Trevor Green

    Like the gist of this, but encouraging designers to do anything on a command line seems like a bad idea to me. It’s never bad to have more knowledge. But its way better to have more tools that make sure that designers can interact with version control in a visual way. Otherwise you are relying on visual people learn abstract concepts. In a lot of cases this will just not happen and expecting it to is a recipe for failure.

    The reason for a visual interface is to suggest a rational set of possible action to the user. A command line you have to learn and remember commands, so even if it is the best way to full understand what you are doing, because otherwise you just can’t do it. Only people who use the tools every day should be in a terminal. The rest of us should try and find tools that remind us what the appropriate choices are. That is, if we expect anyone but the hardcore to be doing any significant work.

    I think this is in evidence by that fact that designers don’t find and use version control unless recommended by coders.

    I will try the recommended software when I get back to my iMac :).


    • Chelsea Otakan

      I agree with most of this 🙂 I think visual tools for version control are only just starting to get to the point that makes version control more accessible to designers. (things like Cornerstone, LayerVault, Kaleidoscope and Beanstalk are huge steps towards this goal) That said, I don’t think its quite fair to not teach/try to teach concepts to designers because they are labelled as visual.

      Most of the designers I know who are a bit scared of the command line are more than capable of learning abstract concepts. While it would be ideal to have a full GUI for version control, I don’t think its fair to say designers shouldn’t learn version control from the command line because they will inevitably fail. I don’t think you’re quite giving us enough credit 🙂


  2. Ralev, Brand Designer

    so true…. about the “final” concept 😀

    I’m gonna check the rest 3 talks by Chelsea


  3. Nathaniel

    I have to say DropBox is close to this same principle. It isn’t version control, but shared between two computers or more can be a good source of backup.


  4. Mark Rooze

    I’m an experienced user but a newbie to writing code and have just begun working on my first two WordPress themes, one with many custom post types, and the other for BuddyPress. As a newbie, my php functions and javascript don’t always work as planned, so version control could be a real plus for me. In addition, I work on two machines: a Windows machine at work and a Mac at home. Your presentation has inspired my just now to install TortoiseSVN on the PC and svnX on the Mac. I think I’m actually going to save my working copy in the wp-content/themes directory of my ServerPress installation (which I’m now trying out instead of XAMPP and MAMP). I hope it works! Thanks for the inspiration!


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September 7, 2011


WordCamp San Francisco 2011 47


Chelsea Otakan 4


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