Brendan Dawes
The Aesthetics of Form and Code

Using a Git Repo to create a physical document of the work

I've always felt it important to document the work. Sketches, scraps, iterations, failures and surprises are all part of the process and so I try and capture those things in the work that I create every day.

None more so than on client work. All my work is tracked through a Git repository — a way to track code changes over time, complete with comments on why something has changed or what that commit was about. In conjunction with that I take timestamped screenshots. These two things combined — words and image — have the side-effect of creating a document of the making process.

So with that in mind I have begun to take those words and images and compile them chronologically into small books, both for myself and the client, as an historical record of how something went from A to B. These books are nothing fancy from a print point of view, being printed online by Blurb, but they serve as permanent physical souvenirs of a process that is often easily forgotten.

To get a line by line tab separated output of any Git repo you can write this in the command line

git log --reverse --date=local --pretty=format:"%h%x09%an%x09%ad%x09%s" > commits.local.tsv

This example shows the book I created for Fermata The front cover features a visualisation of the commits over the course of the project, almost resembling a musical score.