RE: What's a good versioning system for Office documents?

Subject: RE: What's a good versioning system for Office documents?
From: "Pradeep" <ninkozi -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "'Edgar D' Souza'" <edgar -dot- b -dot- dsouza -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2006 12:38:48 +0530

Hi Edgar,
Lou has given a rather comprehensive reply, especially regd. diffs.
My opin:
1. VSS has had a history of corrupting data, though I haven't looked at the
newer versions. However, it is simple to set up, works well in an MS
environment and has a decent client interface. It follows the file locking
paradigm, which is fairly common amongst versioning tools.
2. SVN is tougher to set up, especially for a Windows world, than VSS, but
TortoiseSVN is a really cool client, very simple to set up. It, by default,
does not do file locking.
If your client is OK with it, you could use SVN on the Web, so no setup
reqd. Just buy space on an SVN providers site, install TortoiseSVN on your
machines and you are good to go! One advantage is that you can have truly
distributed working!
Try projxpert.com if u are interested.

Pradeep





> -----Original Message-----
> From: techwr-l-bounces+ninkozi=gmail -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+ninkozi=gmail -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com]
> On Behalf Of Lou Quillio
> Sent: Wednesday, July 12, 2006 10:16 AM
> To: Edgar D' Souza
> Cc: List,Techwriter
> Subject: Re: What's a good versioning system for Office documents?
>
> Edgar D' Souza wrote:
> > 0. The versioning/SCS system will be used with MS Office (primarily
> > Word) documents, American English only, to the best of my knowledge.
>
> TortoiseSVN (MS Windows only) is the easiest-to-use GUI
> Subversion client I've seen on any platform.
>
> > 1. If possible, the SCS should store deltas/diffs of
> documents instead
> > of the entire new copy of an edited document.
>
> Subversion does binary diffs. In terms of how it stores
> data, the algorithm is binary, and text and binaries are
> treated the same. It stores no more than it must,
> considering that it's ignorant of what keeps a private binary
> format whole. *Viewing* binary diffs is another matter.
>
> > 2. If possible, the SCS should allow users to view the differences
> > between various versions of a document.
>
> Third-party binary diff viewers for MS Office documents are
> cropping up:
>
> http://freemind.s57.xrea.com/xdocdiff/e/index.html
>
> Natch MS can change the secret file spec any time, so there's
> third-party lag between versions. Then again, MS Word has a
> built-in compare / merge tool, as does OpenOffice.
>
> > 3. The SCS will also need to store images, and possibly
> other files,
> > which are linked into the Word documents.
>
> Image diffs? http://tortoisesvn.tigris.org/TortoiseIDiff.html
>
> 'Course, image diffs are a straight visual thing. Open up version
> 26 and version 51 side by side, in something like IrfanView.
> No big deal.
>
> > 5. While our client is willing to purchase licenses as needed, they
> > don't want to break the bank in doing so :-) 6. The client is
> > essentially a Microsoft shop, and would prefer a Windows-based
> > software, though if the price difference is compelling, they would
> > also consider products that run on other OSs.
>
> Is free cheap enough?
>
> Throw-in something like Trac, document a workflow, and you're good.
>
> http://trac.edgewall.org/
>
> Having said all of this, any distributed version control
> approach will require learning a few things and imposing some
> discipline. No product can save you from that, and each new
> user will have her own idea of how it "should" work. No
> common, painless norm exists or is possible.
>
> But if you know you want to compare Jerry's version from June
> 15 with Tom's version from July 4, any repository viewer will
> let you open 'em both up and compare them in the native app
> -- presuming such app has a compare facility. There's no
> universal diff viewing tool for every mysterious file format.
> That's the rub.
>
> LQ
>
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References:
Re: What's a good versioning system for Office documents?: From: Lou Quillio

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