So how would cloud benefit writers? I’m sure many writers already use cloud services, like email or calendar or documents, like Google Docs. Twitter, Facebook and others are also cloud services. But how would cloud benefits the actual writing? Let’s consider a couple of services that I, as a writer, have used.
Google Docs is great, I can edit a document with only a browsers using a modern computers. But major drawback is that I need to be online and being online all the time is still not possible. Another drawback is that user experience of Google Docs editors is not as good as in “real” applications.
The second great service is Apple iCloud. For a writer that uses Apple’s devices (like myself), iCloud is very useful. It enables me to use any Apple device with recent operating system and iCloud synchronizes documents automatically. For example, I can start writing with Apple Macbook and then go to town and continue with my iPad and quickly change a paragraph at work with my iPhone. And finally, back home, I continue writing using Macbook. I happen to use Macbook and Pages-application for writing but iCloud has limited use for me because I only have one Macbook and an iPhone (and it’s not very good for writing a novel). iCloud is Apple specific, and it may or may not be a major drawback.
The third service here, Revision Control or Version Control Systems (VCS), is not typical for writers. But all software developers know about it. You may wonder how VCS would benefit writers and one answer is obvious; version control. Cloud comes to play when VCS is located in the server or it’s used as a service. One of the VCS cloud service providers is GitHub. Benefits of VCS in the cloud are many: the documents are safe in the server and the document history is saved; I can retrieve the document using any supported application/device from VCS and edit it and then save it back to VCS server; for multi-author texts, VCS supports multiple users; and so on. There are drawbacks too, perhaps the biggest is the learning curve to start using a VCS (like GitHub) and the other drawback may be cost, for example GitHub has a paid plan for private usage.
My experience with services mentioned is that I already use Apple and iCloud. I have used, but not anymore, Google Docs. And I have used one VCS and I seriously consider using GitHub.