Document management and version control

Subject: Document management and version control
From: "Glenn Maxey" <glenn -dot- maxey -at- voyanttech -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 1 May 2001 15:37:06 -0600

Hi all,

Our tech pubs department is growing and we're becoming more involved with
sharing of files.

At previous companies, we used the same tools as the engineers (i.e., MS
Visual SourceSafe, PVCS, CVS, etc.):

- to control access (one writer at a time).
- to handle versioning.
- to CYA for those major accidents that would otherwise have required going
into backup tapes.

The problem with these systems is that they are designed for code. These
systems can also be cumbersome to use. Certainly, they can handle the
binaries produced by FrameMaker and other documentation tools, but
essentially makes full copies of each version. There is no savings in disk

If this is the case, we could just as easily keep creating new directories
with copies. This is what we're doing, but then are faced with having older
versions cluttering up our space.


Anybody know of some simple tools to help us manage our documentation?

If I were to provide a wishlist, I'd say:

- Can handle any file type: FM, DOC, HTML, BMP, GIF, WAV, etc.

- Must be able to tag any number of release versions of the file so that any
point in time we can go back and retrieve the document set for anything we
published and tagged.

- Would only keep 5 to 10 versions of a working document in its revision
history that had not been tagged as a release version. (Most major
screw-up's can usually be fixed by only going back 1 version in the revision
history. If I have to go back beyond, say, 5 versions in order to fix a bug
or recover some text, then I should probably go to a tape or CD back-up.)

- Would have a check-out/check-in capability which informs us who is
currently working on a document set.

- Would be easy for a (technically savvy) tech pubs group to manage with
minimal IT support.


Any advice on what people are using and their pro's and con's would be

Glenn Maxey
Voyant Technologies, Inc.
Tel. +1 303.223.5164
Fax. +1 303.223.5275
glenn -dot- maxey -at- voyanttech -dot- com


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