Discussion:
Document revision control
(too old to reply)
Amy Super
2012-09-19 19:01:06 UTC
Permalink
Hi there,

Does anyone out there use a revision control system? We are in dire need
of it, as my company has recently gone up to 3 writers (from 1) and
we're afraid of overwriting work.



Our document repository is made up of standalone FM docs with linked
images, FM books with linked images, and a pile of giant old Word docs
that have both embedded and referenced images.



These are the solutions I know a little about:

* Perforce - used at my last job, since that's what the
developers used. I think it has a bit of a steep learning curve for this
environment, though, given that I had to save my files out as .mif
before checking them in. I'm hoping for support of binary files instead.

* SharePoint/TFS - we have it here. But our version of
SharePoint is too old for FrameMaker to integrate. That means I can't
access any linked files without checking them all out. Upgrading
SharePoint is not happening any time soon. I have also read a fair
number of unhappy stories on the Adobe forums about the FM/SP
combination.

* Subversion - a friend recently installed this at his company,
and so far it looks promising. Does anyone use it?

* Documentum - just had a terrible experience trying to get them
to respond to a live chat. I know it's an option for integrating FM.



Thoughts are greatly appreciated, as I found out today I need to have a
candidate list ready by Friday.



Thanks!

Amy
Alison Craig
2012-09-21 21:29:53 UTC
Permalink
I'm a lone writer and have been for most of my writing career, but I've always used version control - VSS as it happens.

Our R&D department switched to Subversion a couple of years ago, but I didn't make the switch with them, at least not yet. I know quite a few people on this list use Subversion as well, and have said good things about it.

Alison

Alison Craig
Technical Documentation Lead

604-279-8550 | fax 604-279-8559 | toll-free 1-866-437-9508
Ultrasonix Medical Corporation | www.ultrasonix.com<http://www.ultrasonix.com/>

[cid:***@01CD9805.90B91700]

From: framers-***@lists.frameusers.com [mailto:framers-***@lists.frameusers.com] On Behalf Of Amy Super
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 12:01 PM
To: ***@lists.frameusers.com
Subject: Document revision control

Hi there,
Does anyone out there use a revision control system? We are in dire need of it, as my company has recently gone up to 3 writers (from 1) and we're afraid of overwriting work.

Our document repository is made up of standalone FM docs with linked images, FM books with linked images, and a pile of giant old Word docs that have both embedded and referenced images.

These are the solutions I know a little about:

* Perforce - used at my last job, since that's what the developers used. I think it has a bit of a steep learning curve for this environment, though, given that I had to save my files out as .mif before checking them in. I'm hoping for support of binary files instead.

* SharePoint/TFS - we have it here. But our version of SharePoint is too old for FrameMaker to integrate. That means I can't access any linked files without checking them all out. Upgrading SharePoint is not happening any time soon. I have also read a fair number of unhappy stories on the Adobe forums about the FM/SP combination.

* Subversion - a friend recently installed this at his company, and so far it looks promising. Does anyone use it?

* Documentum - just had a terrible experience trying to get them to respond to a live chat. I know it's an option for integrating FM.

Thoughts are greatly appreciated, as I found out today I need to have a candidate list ready by Friday.

Thanks!
Amy
Syed Zaeem Hosain (Syed.Hosain@aeris.net)
2012-09-21 22:17:02 UTC
Permalink
(Just got this e-mail ... don't know what the hangup was on the list distribution. So, I don't know if it will be "in time".)

Hi, Amy,

We use Subversion for our development teams. To verion control code, etc. However, recently, we also began storing our _other_ files on Central Desktop (www.centraldesktop.com<http://www.centraldesktop.com>).

This is really a work collaboration site, with very basic version control for files with "unknown binaries" (such as FrameMaker would be treated as). It is not rich for version control as Subversion.

However, for basic "check-in and check-out", it works just fine for our needs. We store all our program specifications, marketing requirements PowerPoint presentations, links to other sites, etc., collaboration wiki, over there.

If you _don't_ need full version control, i.e., without much more than basic check-out/check-in controls to avoid over-writing and duplication, then Central Desktop may be sufficient. Their price per month per sub is also pretty reasonable.

Z

From: framers-***@lists.frameusers.com [mailto:framers-***@lists.frameusers.com] On Behalf Of Amy Super
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 12:01 PM
To: ***@lists.frameusers.com
Subject: Document revision control

Hi there,
Does anyone out there use a revision control system? We are in dire need of it, as my company has recently gone up to 3 writers (from 1) and we're afraid of overwriting work.

Our document repository is made up of standalone FM docs with linked images, FM books with linked images, and a pile of giant old Word docs that have both embedded and referenced images.

These are the solutions I know a little about:

* Perforce - used at my last job, since that's what the developers used. I think it has a bit of a steep learning curve for this environment, though, given that I had to save my files out as .mif before checking them in. I'm hoping for support of binary files instead.

* SharePoint/TFS - we have it here. But our version of SharePoint is too old for FrameMaker to integrate. That means I can't access any linked files without checking them all out. Upgrading SharePoint is not happening any time soon. I have also read a fair number of unhappy stories on the Adobe forums about the FM/SP combination.

* Subversion - a friend recently installed this at his company, and so far it looks promising. Does anyone use it?

* Documentum - just had a terrible experience trying to get them to respond to a live chat. I know it's an option for integrating FM.

Thoughts are greatly appreciated, as I found out today I need to have a candidate list ready by Friday.

Thanks!
Amy
Böðvar Björgvinsson
2012-09-22 01:47:47 UTC
Permalink
Hi Amy,

I have used Subversion / Tortoise SVN extensively and it has never failed
me. The last couple of years I have been using www.assembla.com's services
to. Assembla offers hosting of your files using SVN or GIT and maybe some
other options too. Assembla seems to me a very reasonable option.

Kind regards,
Bodvar Bjorgvinsson
Iceland
Hi there, ****
Does anyone out there use a revision control system? We are in dire need
of it, as my company has recently gone up to 3 writers (from 1) and we’re
afraid of overwriting work.****
** **
Our document repository is made up of standalone FM docs with linked
images, FM books with linked images, and a pile of giant old Word docs that
have both embedded and referenced images.****
** **
These are the solutions I know a little about:****
**· **Perforce – used at my last job, since that’s what the
developers used. I think it has a bit of a steep learning curve for this
environment, though, given that I had to save my files out as .mif before
checking them in. I’m hoping for support of binary files instead.****
**· **SharePoint/TFS – we have it here. But our version of
SharePoint is too old for FrameMaker to integrate. That means I can’t
access any linked files without checking them all out. Upgrading SharePoint
is not happening any time soon. I have also read a fair number of unhappy
stories on the Adobe forums about the FM/SP combination.****
**· **Subversion – a friend recently installed this at his
company, and so far it looks promising. Does anyone use it?****
**· **Documentum – just had a terrible experience trying to get
them to respond to a live chat. I know it’s an option for integrating FM.*
***
** **
Thoughts are greatly appreciated, as I found out today I need to have a
candidate list ready by Friday. ****
** **
Thanks!****
Amy****
** **
_______________________________________________
To unsubscribe send a blank email to
or visit
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http://www.frameusers.com/ for more resources and info.
--
Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found
difficult and not tried.
-- Gilbert K. Chesterton
Robert Lauriston
2012-09-21 21:54:34 UTC
Permalink
Subversion is good and free.

Perforce is good and not free. You don't have to convert to .mif, you
can check in .fm and .book files as binaries. You can't merge binaries
but who's going to merge a .mif file anyway?

The one other you might want to look at is Git for Windows, which is a
distributed system, reportedly has some advantages for peer
workgroups. I haven't used it.

Losers:

CVS is free and not great.

SharePoint is not a CVS. Good luck getting it to do anything except
host MS Office-format docs.

Documentum is an enterprise solution for huge organizations.

MS Visual SourceSafe was bad but it's EOL, haven't used the successor,
which might be worth checking out if somehow you have licenses
already.
Amy Super
2012-09-24 12:19:26 UTC
Permalink
Thank you to everyone who responded. I'm not sure why my email didn't go
through until Friday when I sent it Wednesday, but that's OK. I ended up
putting Subversion first on my list of things to evaluate, so I'm glad
to see that others have had success with it.

Thanks also for the discussion of .mif vs .fm - at my last job, I was
asked to keep files as .mif for storage space reasons, but I never saw
the sense of it given that I couldn't read the diffs anyway.
Realistically the files weren't gigantic, but that was a very small shop
with odd priorities.

One more question for those of you who use Subversion - does it work
like Perforce, where you have a copy of the files on your local machine,
and then you check them in and out and refresh your local files from the
main depot? I really liked that because it did a good job of handling
images placed by reference, and other relative file links.

Thanks again!
Amy




-----Original Message-----
From: ***@gmail.com [mailto:***@gmail.com] On
Behalf Of Robert Lauriston
Sent: Friday, September 21, 2012 5:55 PM
To: Amy Super
Cc: ***@lists.frameusers.com
Subject: Re: Document revision control

Subversion is good and free.

Perforce is good and not free. You don't have to convert to .mif, you
can check in .fm and .book files as binaries. You can't merge binaries
but who's going to merge a .mif file anyway?

The one other you might want to look at is Git for Windows, which is a
distributed system, reportedly has some advantages for peer workgroups.
I haven't used it.

Losers:

CVS is free and not great.

SharePoint is not a CVS. Good luck getting it to do anything except host
MS Office-format docs.

Documentum is an enterprise solution for huge organizations.

MS Visual SourceSafe was bad but it's EOL, haven't used the successor,
which might be worth checking out if somehow you have licenses already.
Sebastian A
2012-09-22 07:10:22 UTC
Permalink
Hi Amy,

Subversion is a good option. We have been using it for long, and we are a
team of 20+ writers. We too use FM.

Thanks and regards,
Sebastian A
Hi there, ****
Does anyone out there use a revision control system? We are in dire need
of it, as my company has recently gone up to 3 writers (from 1) and we’re
afraid of overwriting work.****
** **
Our document repository is made up of standalone FM docs with linked
images, FM books with linked images, and a pile of giant old Word docs that
have both embedded and referenced images.****
** **
These are the solutions I know a little about:****
**· **Perforce – used at my last job, since that’s what the
developers used. I think it has a bit of a steep learning curve for this
environment, though, given that I had to save my files out as .mif before
checking them in. I’m hoping for support of binary files instead.****
**· **SharePoint/TFS – we have it here. But our version of
SharePoint is too old for FrameMaker to integrate. That means I can’t
access any linked files without checking them all out. Upgrading SharePoint
is not happening any time soon. I have also read a fair number of unhappy
stories on the Adobe forums about the FM/SP combination.****
**· **Subversion – a friend recently installed this at his
company, and so far it looks promising. Does anyone use it?****
**· **Documentum – just had a terrible experience trying to get
them to respond to a live chat. I know it’s an option for integrating FM.*
***
** **
Thoughts are greatly appreciated, as I found out today I need to have a
candidate list ready by Friday. ****
** **
Thanks!****
Amy****
** **
_______________________________________________
To unsubscribe send a blank email to
or visit
http://lists.frameusers.com/mailman/options/framers/seba.bicstpt%40gmail.com
http://www.frameusers.com/ for more resources and info.
Chris Despopoulos
2012-09-22 19:13:49 UTC
Permalink
Just a word about MIF in source control.  It's true that storing binary files (.fm) in source control is somewhat abusive, because the system has to store a complete copy of the file for each revision.  In the old days dev would never let you do that because storage actually cost something.  You might be tempted to think that storing MIF would be an alternative...  It's text, so source control can store just deltas to each revision.  While that's technically true, you would not gain anything.  It turns out that MIF files store dates and unique IDs on just about every line in the file.  So from one MIF to another you don't have many (or any???) lines that are the same.  Given that a MIF file is usually as large as a binary, if source control has to store a delta that amounts to every line in the file, then you actually loose -- not only are you still consuming disk space, but the control system has to process the files to find the delta.  Also,
merging would be out of the question because pretty much every line would show a change. 


Pretty much the only text format you can use for Maker documents is XML...  Yet another reason to consider it, BTW.
Chris Despopoulos
2012-09-22 19:17:48 UTC
Permalink
I have a plugin that automatically saves a copy of each document as MIF...  This is a super-backup and you can then open the MIF in any version of Maker.  I just keep it running all the time.  Saves are a bit slower, but I sleep better at night.  If I get any interest, I'll put it on my site as freeware...

cud
Greg. Eckrich
2012-09-22 19:57:13 UTC
Permalink
Sounds like a terrific method. Having just lost an incremental save this could be a secure method for preventing it from happening again.
Will you be kind enough to post it? What is your site address?
Thx
Greg. Eckrich
I have a plugin that automatically saves a copy of each document as MIF... This is a super-backup and you can then open the MIF in any version of Maker. I just keep it running all the time. Saves are a bit slower, but I sleep better at night. If I get any interest, I'll put it on my site as freeware...
cud
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Chris Despopoulos
2012-09-23 12:47:56 UTC
Permalink
Ok, so after three responses I posted this plugin.  My site is cudspan.ne
Böðvar Björgvinsson
2012-09-23 16:19:12 UTC
Permalink
Hi Cud,

Sounds like a thing to have (and use). Count me in. :-)

Brgds,
Bodvar
Post by Greg. Eckrich
Sounds like a terrific method. Having just lost an incremental save this
could be a secure method for preventing it from happening again.
Will you be kind enough to post it? What is your site address?
Thx
Greg. Eckrich
I have a plugin that automatically saves a copy of each document as
MIF... This is a super-backup and you can then open the MIF in any version
of Maker. I just keep it running all the time. Saves are a bit slower,
but I sleep better at night. If I get any interest, I'll put it on my site
as freeware...
cud
_______________________________________________
To unsubscribe send a blank email to
or visit
http://lists.frameusers.com/mailman/options/framers/gweckrich%40wowway.com
http://www.frameusers.com/ for more resources and info.
_______________________________________________
To unsubscribe send a blank email to
or visit
http://lists.frameusers.com/mailman/options/framers/bodvar%40gmail.com
http://www.frameusers.com/ for more resources and info.
--
Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found
difficult and not tried.
-- Gilbert K. Chesterton
Joseph Lorenzini
2012-09-23 00:40:46 UTC
Permalink
Hi Amy,

I strongly recommend subversion considering that you are such a small team,
especially compared to the other options. In the end, it does ultimately
come down to your use case, so it in some sense depends.

--Perforce: have not used this personally but i believe its a high learning
curve and will cost money....how much i don't know.

--Sharepoint: I would not touch this with a 10 foot pole. It seems like I
see a post at least once a week from some writer complaining about how the
integration is not working as expected. They usually are complaining about
how check in and check outs are not functioning, which is a really bad
sign. Plus, you have to license and maintain a sharepoint site. And then
you as a tech writer have to be burdened with sharepoint in order to handle
some of the most basic tasks.

--Documentum: Okay here's the thing. It costs like 200 thousand dollars. I
think that's an insane amount of money to charge for a content management
system that technical writers need. I could only see that being a
consideration if you had a team of like 50 writers or something massive.


---Subversion: Its basically free. You just have the cost of setting up a
subversion server, which is not that big of a deal. Typically, someone in
your IT department will it do for you. Plus, there are nice free SVN
clients for doing check ins, check outs, looking at the repository etc.

And here's the awesome thing about this: it just works. There's nothing
complicated about it. I have been using SVN for years now and I have had
almost no problems with it. There are some pros and cons associated with
SVN, which I can go into detail if you want. But i give a big thumbs up to
SVN if I were if you consider the ROI, cost of business, and the fact that
you are talking about only 3 writers.

Joe
Joseph Lorenzini
2012-09-23 00:46:38 UTC
Permalink
Hi Salome,

You can easily do this with an ExtendScript. I am a novice scripter and I
was able to create a script that batch saved files to MIF in FM 10 with
about half an hour of work.

If you don't know how to do simple scripts and you don't have time to
learn, I am sure you could purchase the services of someone to create a
script for you. I doubt it would be more than 100 dollars.

Joe
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