talkgroup

Making useful templates

Since starting NaNoWriMo this year I’ve realized that my preferred method of procrastination is writing something besides my novel. I like communicating through written language, it turns out. And even though I feel using flashbake has been kind of a bust for me (I can’t get it to automate for some reason), I still like writing in git. Since my personal brand of attention deficit is multitasking, I am going to start spinning up repositories for all my writing projects.

And because I think recursive humor is the most meta humor is the most recursive humor, I starting making templates to drop into new projects. Which brought me to that Templates directory I always ignore/delete.

In Gnome, when you right click and use the context menu to create a file, it will normally have this annoying secondary menu that has an empty item, and below it says Empty Document. When you have files in the Templates directory, it will list those files as, ahem, templates from which to create new files. In theory it is pretty useful: you could create a spreadsheet or code snippet file, something you use often, and it would be handy directly from the context menu.

I’ve never used it before. Whenever I install Gnome the first thing I do is delete a bunch of directories and rename others. I use the commandline way more than a file browser, so capital letters are annoying in file and directory names. I normally go without a templates directory, but since I am going to use it, my new config (at ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs) look like this:

# This file is written by xdg-user-dirs-update
# If you want to change or add directories, just edit the line you're
# interested in. All local changes will be retained on the next run
# Format is XDG_xxx_DIR="$HOME/yyy", where yyy is a shell-escaped
# homedir-relative path, or XDG_xxx_DIR="/yyy", where /yyy is an
# absolute path. No other format is supported.
# 
XDG_DESKTOP_DIR="$HOME/"
XDG_DOWNLOAD_DIR="$HOME/dl"
XDG_TEMPLATES_DIR="$HOME/templates"
XDG_PUBLICSHARE_DIR="$HOME/"
XDG_DOCUMENTS_DIR="$HOME/projects"
XDG_MUSIC_DIR="$HOME/music"
XDG_PICTURES_DIR="$HOME/pics"
XDG_VIDEOS_DIR="$HOME/video"

My backup policy for private stuff is to copy it at various places across the internet. My plan for non-private stuff is to publish it to public git repos. You can find the templates I am using at https://github.com/maiki/templates. Right now it is just a few licenses and a readme, but I will be adding things I use. If you have any slick templates, drop them on me; I will add them if I use them (which means you office software nerds can take a pass). :slight_smile: