Re : Revision Dates (are they necessary ???)

Subject: Re : Revision Dates (are they necessary ???)
From: David Jones/KSBEISD <David_Jones/KSBEISD -dot- KSBEISD -at- DATAHUB -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 23 Jul 1996 09:06:47 HST

The drawback to version numbers is that they do not tell you if you have the
most recent version. They only tell you if this version is more recent than the
one you currently have. For example, I have v1.15, you happen to visit me with
v1.20, but neither of us can be certain that there is no v1.25 somewhere that
we've both missed.

The advantage to revision dates is that everyone knows (well, most of us can
probably pull of the trick once or twice a week! <G>) what the current date is.
So we can look at the version dates on our respective documents, where my v1.15
may be dated January 15, 1995, your v1.20 may be March 15, 1995, but today may
be July 23, 1996. While we still cannot guarantee that there *is* a v1.25, I
think we would both agree there probably is, based on the age of our documents.
In fact, given the fictitious example I used, we could probably agree that
there have been 6 (apparently quarterly) revisions since my copy, so we might
begin looking for something like v1.45.

Dates are real, concrete things, clearly connected to real time, and provide
more information to people. Version numbers are abstractions, connected to real
time only on a before/after basis.

I use the revision date for the version number. True, it may cast doubt on
other parts of the document that show different dates. But I think it's a good
idea for people to have a little doubt. It encourages them to think about the
"old" part -- maybe it needs updating, too, or an associated procedure or
process could be reworked -- and (perhaps) will help lift them from the rut of
"We've always done it that way."

David Jones, Technical Writer
David_Jones/KSBEISD -dot- KSBEISD -at- Datahub -dot- com
Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate

"I do not speak for my employer, my computer, or any other living thing."

To: TECHWR-L @ LISTSERV.OKSTATE.EDU (Multiple recipients of list TECHWR-L)
From: frederic.wronecki @ WANADOO.FR (Frederic Wronecki)
Date: 07/23/96 06:28:03 PM
Subject: Re : Revision Dates (are they necessary ???)

May I raise a heretic question :
Is it mandatory to place a date on a document ?

The need is for the user to know whether his/her copy is
the current one.

This can be achieved either with dates, or with version
numbers (or both, of course).

None of these solutions give the user the absolute certainty
he holds the current version, unless the distribution process
compels him to acknowledge every update.

And the drawback of dates is that an "old" document
is more easily suspected of not being valid.

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