Re: CMS / revision control system for sharing topics across versions?

Subject: Re: CMS / revision control system for sharing topics across versions?
From: Chris Gooch <chris -dot- gooch -at- rocketmail -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 18 Dec 2011 12:48:15 +0000 (GMT)

> Is anybody using a CMS or revision control system to share XML or
> XHTML topics across document versions?
> For example, say we have customers using versions 5.0, 5.1, and 6.0 of
> an application. When a topic is the same in all three versions of the
> doc, I'd like to have a single shared topic file so I could make a
> correction or addition once and generate updated docs for all three
> versions. 

Any regular revision control system (perforce, subversion, git, cvs, rcs)
can do this. Create a branch of the whole thing each time you do a release,
then you can make changes in each branch as needed. If the change is
needed in more than one branch, make the change once and integrate (merge)
it into the other branches using the version control system's merge tool.

I've always used the same version control system as the developers at the
places I work - I don't see why everyone wouldn't do this. Version control
didn't always work so well with binary files, compared to the versioning
within authoring tools, but now everything is XML, and that works well.
Even if you can't easily read the difference between two versions of an
XML file in your version tool (subversion say), you can always view them
both in the authoring tool if need be, Some authoring tools have extra
functionality to allow them to integrate with certain revision control tools
via the authoring tool's GUI, if that's important to you.

I recommend everyone who works with software developers to go and
talk to them about their version control tools and practices. They probably
solved this issue a long time ago (no that it will stop them arguing about
the best tool to use of course...)

Chris Gooch.

Freelance Technical Writer / Software Developer
Sheffield, UK. ;

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