Re: Version Control - Dates & Versions in File Names

Subject: Re: Version Control - Dates & Versions in File Names
From: Mike Starr <mikestarr-techwr-l -at- writestarr -dot- com>
To: kelly keck <kelly -dot- keck -at- imagine-one -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2008 09:58:44 -0500

If you're using version control software, it should be backing up all files on a daily basis and you should then have the ability to retrieve a previous version of any of your documents. From that perspective, you should be able to use the same filename continuously.

Having said that, I'm not real big on maintaining previous versions of files. If I change a file, that's the version I want to keep. The old version, to me, is no longer valid.

If I do, for one reason or another, decide to maintain different versions of a document, I'll prefix the filename with the date in the form yyyy-mm-dd; e.g., 2008-04-15-UserManual.doc. I use the date as a prefix to control the way files are sorted in Windows Explorer.

I don't see the value of using both a date and a document version number in a filename. Either alone should be adequate if you really decide you need one or the other but I think doing both is "gilding the lily".

Mike Starr WriteStarr Information Services
Technical Writer - Online Help Developer - Technical Illustrator
Graphic Designer - Desktop Publisher - MS Office Expert
(262) 694-1028 - mike -at- writestarr -dot- com -

kelly keck wrote:
> Finally, my company is getting version control software (possibly SVN).
> I'm currently working on the standard operating procedures for
> documentation, which includes the naming convention for files.
> Previously, because we didn't have any good way of controlling versions
> of documents, we included the date and version number as part of the
> filename (for example ABC_UserManual_DRAFT_02-03-07_v1-3). Now that
> we're going to have a more automated system to keep track of this, I'm
> debating dropping the date and/or version from the file name.
> The main reason I can see for keeping them is that they allow someone to
> know how up-to-date a doc is just by looking at the filename. No
> checking of the version control system required. (If we go with
> Tortoise SVN, that consideration is pretty well eliminated. You can't
> get more obvious than a bright green check mark on the file icon.)
> It might also be of use to someone who doesn't have access to the
> version control system (say, a customer) but who still receives multiple
> documents. This both because they will see the date and version easily
> and because older documents won't accidentally be overwritten on a
> customer's computer.
> The main downside is that it complicates the check-in process. If a
> file name changes every time a doc is updated, the file has to be
> checked in first, then renamed, rather than simply checked in.
> Thoughts? Suggestions?
> Kelly Keck
> Imagine One Technology & Management
> Documentation Specialist
> (301) 866-4098, ext. 108
> kelly -dot- keck -at- imagine-one -dot- com

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Version Control - Dates & Versions in File Names: From: kelly keck

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