StaffPad Versions

Making it easy to keep track of your composing history in StaffPad.

I have been doing a bunch of composing over the mini-sabbatical I have taken this July, mostly working in StaffPad. One of the things I care deeply about in projects like this is being able to keep track of previous versions of my work, in case I change my mind about something or simply want to be able to compare two different approaches.1

StaffPad makes that pretty easy, thankfully: its built-in versions functionality does exactly what I need. However, to make it most useful, I have found it helpful to use in a very specific way — which I am now sharing here in hopes that it will be useful to you as well!

  1. Whenever I want to create a sort of checkpoint” in my work, I go to the versions panel and create a new version.

  2. I rename the previous version to the current date, formatted like 2021-07-28. (I format all my dates this way, and so should you if you’re doing something like this: it makes them trivial to sort in a folder on a computer!)

  3. I then rename the newly-created version from its default name of Name” to Current”. This makes it clear when I look at versions what I am actually actively working on.

  4. I make sure that the new Current” version is the active one. This is important! I have more than once accidentally left the previous version active, and then realized it later.2 This is all too easy to do when editing the version names, so double-check!

That’s it. It’s fairly simple, but it only occurred to me after a bit of trial and error, so hopefully this saves someone else some time.

  1. Yes, I have always been this way. Yes, having written software and therefore been able to use version control systems has taken an already-strong tendency and made it stronger. ↩︎

  2. I managed to recover the desired previous version, thankfully; they just had mismatched names. But lesson learned the painful way! ↩︎