Document Management

This is a discussion on Document Management within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; Cool, thanks Mike. You probably use something I'd be interested in finding out about. If you're allowed to tell me ...

  1. #16
    Mayor of Awesometown Govtcheez's Avatar
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    Cool, thanks Mike. You probably use something I'd be interested in finding out about. If you're allowed to tell me prices, that'd rule too.

  2. #17
    Mayor of Awesometown Govtcheez's Avatar
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    Sorry for the bump, but I'm reading up on CVS programs (since they're free and it's unlikely we'd get a real system for several months, at least). Since it sounds like CVS systems were designed to work with source code, the book I'm reading says nothing about supporting non-text files. This is a big problem for me, since 99% of my files are going to be Microstation drawings. Do some of these programs support other types of files? Also, the book says one of the principles of a CVS system is the idea that while one person is working on one part of a file, another person can work on another. Like I said before, this is a really big problem for me. Are there some programs that totally lock files while they're being worked on?

  3. #18
    Banned nickname_changed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Govtcheez
    Sorry for the bump, but I'm reading up on CVS programs (since they're free and it's unlikely we'd get a real system for several months, at least). Since it sounds like CVS systems were designed to work with source code, the book I'm reading says nothing about supporting non-text files. This is a big problem for me, since 99% of my files are going to be Microstation drawings. Do some of these programs support other types of files? Also, the book says one of the principles of a CVS system is the idea that while one person is working on one part of a file, another person can work on another. Like I said before, this is a really big problem for me. Are there some programs that totally lock files while they're being worked on?
    All source control systems can handle any type of file (text or binary). For instance I use Subversion, and it stores not only my source code but all the source images, compiled output and libraries and the installers.

    Source control systems work in different ways. CVS and Subversion use the "edit/merge/commit" model, where multiple people can edit a file, then the changes are "merged" (so the file has both changes) and commited to the repository.

    Other systems use a "checkout/edit/checkin" model, which works like a library. You checkout a file ("book"), edit it (don't edit a library book, you'll get in trouble) and check it in again so others can use it. While the file is "checked out", no one else can edit it (though they can read it I think). Visual SourceSafe (ships with Visual Studio if I am not mistaken, produced by Microsoft) uses this model, though I would recommend going with an alternative such as SourceGear Vault .

    All source control systems are different, and you will need to find one that suits you. However, beware of your users - source control systems are made for developers and aren't the easiest things in the world to understand. It may be hard to explain the concept of "checkin" to Hughie the croatian artist.

    Also, I don't really see how a source control system is going to help you - there will still be documents you don't have and no formal record of what you do or don't have (though I see it will help with making sure people have the most current drawings). this sounds like a job for... a database. If I understand your requirements it shouldn't be too hard to throw something together with SQL server or MySQL, put some sort of frontend on it (VB.NET/C# or a web based PHP interface say) and away you go.
    Last edited by nickname_changed; 12-04-2004 at 04:01 PM.

  4. #19
    and the hat of wrongness Salem's Avatar
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    When you 'add' a file to the repository for the first time, specify the "-kb" flag to add the file as a binary file.

    There's a nice windows GUI front-end to CVS which makes for easy use
    http://www.wincvs.org/
    For example, on it's toolbar, it has "add file" and "add binary file" icons

    > Are there some programs that totally lock files while they're being worked on?
    Other source control systems lock the file in the repository when the file is being edited (but CVS doesn't do that). The nearest thing in CVS is something called 'watchers' and 'editors' which allows potential editors of a file to see who else is interested, and then proceed with due caution.

  5. #20
    Banned nickname_changed's Avatar
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    TortoiseCVS is another good client, integrates with Windows Explorer, and seems to automatically tell the difference between binary and text files.

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