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A Quick Look at Abstract: Version Control for Sketch

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In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to implement a version control system for your Sketch files.

If you’ve ever worked with Git, or you’re at least aware of what it is, then you’ll be familiar with the concept of “version control”. If you’re not, then don’t worry, it’s a simple idea. Version control allows you to keep track of all the changes made to your files, saving a copy of each iteration.

Typically Git deals with code files; it’s not a system which has ever really been embraced for (what are usually larger) design files.

Introducing Abstract

Now there’s a new kid on the block. Abstract is a downloadable app which handles version control for Sketch files (more formats are planned for the future). It works with projects, so begin by adding a new one:

Then either import an existing Sketch file or create a new one. In this example I’ve imported an existing document, at which point previews are created in Abstract and a copy of the Sketch file is pushed to the cloud, to the “master branch”.

In order to track changes to our document we have to open our Sketch files from within Abstract. So hit Abstract’s Edit in Sketch button to open the document.

You’re then given the option to either track changes you make, in which case you’ll need to create a new “branch”, or leave changes untracked, in which case you won’t.

Once we’ve made some changes in Sketch, we’re given the option to Preview and Commit those changes to the branch we’re working on. We’ll need to assign a title to the commit, and an optional description.

From within Abstract we have access to all the Sketch artboards in our document, and we can see which artboards have been changed. We can then see a complete history of all the changes and commits we’ve made, allowing us to merge those changes with the master branch, or revert back to previous versions.

There are many more features and aspects to Abstract which are particularly useful if you work in a team. Take a look at the video for more details!

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