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GitHub on your iPad: Working Copy App Review


Working Copy

On the desktop I use GitHub's own app for uploading, committing changes and synchronizing. (Waits while rotten fruit is thrown by command-line purists.)

Working Copy (developed by Anders Borum) serves the same purpose as GitHub's app, but it is designed for the iPad (and iPhone). And while testing I could identify no missing feature. If anything I found more than I was expecting.
Above you see how changes can be compared in a split or unified view, both of which will immediately have a familiar feel to users of GitHub. This is one of the many nice touches. You'll also see how the UI is at once informative and well constructed so as to appear clear and uncluttered. (No small feat with an app of this complexity!)

What's it like to use?

It is a home away from home, in which it is possible to initialise, clone and edit repositories. The app is virtually frictionless. You are taken through all the steps of setting up keys and links between GitHub. And if you forget to do anything, like selecting a file before synchronizing or committing then instructions will be clearly presented without being obtrusive.
The only pause for thought I had was finding how to synchronise changes. Especially with a repository initialised on the iPad, but once familiar with the process everything is straightforward.
For those who encounter the same difficulty: you select the Repository item in the left table once inside the repository you wish to synchronise and from here add a Remote and then enter the remote you created to Synchronise (as well as Fetch, Merge and Push). There's nothing complicated about adding a Remote, you'll be guided through the process by the app.

Note: if you are cloning a repository then the remote is created at the time of cloning so you only need to navigate to the repository screen to access the remote and from there tap through to the screen shown above, where the synchronising happens.

Integration with other apps

If you own Textastic (or another favourite code editor with "Open in..." integration) then things are even better. You can send files from Working Copy to Textastic and then instead of simply sending them back again, you can instruct Textastic to either overwrite or save in a new location inside the Working Copy folder.
Similarly you can begin in Textastic and save directly to a Working Copy repository.

Note: I also tested the "open in" functionality with Kodiak PHP, Kodiak JS and DraftCode, but because of the limitations of these apps you can save from the app to Working Copy but you can't open from Working Copy into the apps. (This isn't a fault of Working Copy it is the fault of restrictions imposed by those apps.)

Conclusion

The app is billed as a "a powerful Git client for iOS 8 that clones, edits, commits, pushes & more". There is nothing in this statement that it doesn't live up to. If you're looking for something to work with GitHub on the move then I can highly recommend. Is it worth the money? Definitely.

Buying options: there is a free version with in-app purchase or a paid enterprise version that comes fully unlocked.

If you'd like to become a beta tester then you can sign up for that on the app's website.

Note: I've continually made reference here to GitHub since that is the service I use and which I tested with this app. The app, however, also works with BitBucket. This I didn't test and so cannot feedback on. But if integration is as good as it is with GitHub I doubt you will have anything to complain about.

Endorse on Coderwall

Comments

  1. Hi, I have tested this with Bitbucket and so far this seems to be working as expected, been very impressed so far!

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  4. The free version doesn't allow Push... making it useless! No?

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