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Re: subversion as a document management system

From: Andy Levy <andy.levy_at_gmail.com>
Date: 2007-06-27 03:36:24 CEST

On 6/25/07, Dirk <subversion@nogga.de> wrote:
> Hello,
> we are using subversion as a version control system for our software
> development. The tool does a great job for this. Now we looked into
> using the same ideas for document control, but had some problems
> applying the underlying methods for documents. The problems are, that
> documents in most cases stand for themself and primarily have the status
> "Draft" or "Released". I most cases the last released version of the
> document also replaces all previous releases, and some documents needs
> to be reviewd by others before the can be releases. So there is some
> workflow behind the document. Subversion is not the tool to enforce a
> workflow, but could be a good solution to save the documents hierarchy.
> Tools, that I found and that are not based on subversion in my personal
> order of interest:
> * DocuPortal.Net (http://docuportal.de)
> * xinco DMS (http://www.xinco.org/index.php)
> * Office Manager (http://www.krekeler.de)
> * DocuWare AG
> Nevertheless, I have not found any solution, that extends subversion
> into this area. Is there anybody out there using subversion as a DMS
> solution?

I'm using SVN for managing documents related to a project I'm involved
with. It's been rough going, but we do have people using it and the
auditors love that they get a full history of changes along with
required logins for users.

But, it's far from perfect. We're almost exclusively using .DOC and
.XLS files, so diffing isn't that great (TSVN comes with a Word diff
script, which works well enough) but we have had to enforce locking on
just about every file. People who've never been exposed to a version
control system and many of the concepts which longtime users of them
in a development capacity take for granted are hard for new,
non-technical people to wrap their heads around. I had to explain to
people several times that, when updating a document with a new version
provided by someone else who doesn't use SVN, they should *not* delete
the old file and then add the new version as a new file. And then
there was convincing everyone to actually *use* the system. One group
begged for about 2 weeks to get access...and then a month went by
between the time I set them up with access and checked out their first
WCs and when they actually started doing updates, commits, etc.

So, in short...it can be made to work, but it's really not a full DMS.
There's no workflow unless you implement one yourself with hook
scripts. There's not a large amount of metadata stored with the
documents. For non-technical people it can be tough to get up to speed
(but this may be an issue with "real" DMSs too).

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Received on Wed Jun 27 03:36:14 2007

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