Code Saving/Editing Option For Google Drive

For better or worse, I have been entangled with Google Drive since its inception. It’s not perfect, but the ability to access it through most customers’ networks or while using their mandated laptops has proven extremely useful. My most common usage is accessing notes or solutions I’ve compiled from previous projects. I realize lots of offer ways to do this, some probably better. But Drive was one of the first I found, so I have a lot in there which makes the concept of switching to GitHub, OneNote or something else seem not worth the effort.

One problem I did encounter was saving text in the Google Doc format. When storing saved code for VBA or Swift, Docs occasionally applies little adjustments in the formatting or attempt to spell check which was undesirable. What I really wanted was a text editor like Notepad.  Google drive does let you save Text files, but they weren’t very easy to edit from the normal interface.

I found a great solution with an app called Drive Notepad available in the Chrome Webstore. This does almost everything I want with some helpful features. Most notably, you can adjust what language your code is displayed in, which is extremely useful for its readability. Initially I was just looking for a text editor (which there are plenty of), but this works even better. See screenshots Rings trailer

Other positive features:

  • Free. Thank You DM!
  • Open source.
  • Can share with usual google share options, though not in real time like doc or sheets.
  • Searchable as a regular google drive. I use excessive comments in my archived solutions specifically to facilitate the searching based on what I will likely remember.

Small drawbacks:

  • Have to manually save. Unlike google drive document that saves literally in real time, Drive NotePad requires you to manually hit save or CTL S. This has never been a problem for me as it delivers a warning when you navigate away after changes, but it would be nice to have. I’m sure the creator has been bombarded by this request.
  • It inconsistently checks code for errors. I wouldn’t expect it to check any code, but it does for some languages like JavaScript, but not for  others like VBA. Basically people shouldn’t consider this a substitute for XCode or an actual development platform. Again, this is just a great way to save/share your finalized work for future usage.
  • Files count against your storage space on google drive. Nobody should care about this, I just am listing it in case anyone was curious. Source text takes up an infinitesimal amount of space that this will never be an issue. I always got some quirky satisfaction of knowing that Google Docs and Sheets never counted against my storage limit (which I’m not near close to hitting). If you’re rolling your eyes that I listed this as a small drawback, I don’t blame you.



Long Live The Lords Of Discipline

Yesterday Pat Conroy died at age 70. He appears to have died of cancer, which to me is a bit of a relief that he didn’t go out more like Hemingway. Conroy was very open about some depression he experienced and suicidal tendencies in his family. Regardless, the author produced several books that I consider terrific.

Most notably to me was The Lords of Discipline I enjoyed so much, it’s essentially embedded in my DNA as it ranks as one of the most enjoyable reads in my lifetime. Granted, I read it in high school, and the characters may now seem cookie cutter if you’ve seen a bunch of movies or books since its creation in 1980. However it’s easy to overlook the flaws as the writing is fantastic, the humor is suburb, and the emotional roller coaster is real.

The main character is a person that I think “coders” could appreciate. He experiences a brutal military academy with a critical perspective that many decentralized thinkers may appreciate. Logical questions about military training such as, “Why learn to march in unison?” or  “Why humiliate new members?”

The book also dives deep into young male emotions including friendship, honor, deepest purpose, love and challenging institutional establishment. Considering that the main character is a basketball skinny white guy with a wise-ass sense of humor, it’s no surprise that it was easy for me to relate to him. Yet people who don’t share my bias have often enjoyed this book, so I’d recommend it to virtually anyone.

Important to note that this is fiction. Conroy did go to the military school mentioned and followed a similar path as the main character, but the grand events are mostly made up. I don’t typically read fiction, but this one is worth it.

One of the best quotes: “Evil would always come to me disguised in systems and dignified by law.”

He’s written other good ones. If you want to read one of the most entertaining first chapters of a book, consider opening up The Great Santini. Also good was My Losing Season, a non-fiction book about the writing The Lords of Discipline.

RIP Mr. Conroy, thanks for your gifts to the world!