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Govtcheez
11-19-2004, 09:06 AM
I work for a company that does contract work for a local utility. Because it's a contract, our client retains ownership of the drawings we're working on for them. As a result of this, it's up to them which drawings they want to hand off to us for revision; they'll sometimes hold it back if they don't think we need this specific drawing or if some other firm is doing work on it right then. That's where I come in - my job is basically to track what we've requested, what we've received, and other issues with what we've ordered.

This can become a huge pain in the ass for one person to deal with (we're currently dealing with about 11K drawings, and we're only about a third of the way through the project), so my boss and I are looking into some EDM software to make life a little easier around here. We've also noticed that most of them also contain workflow managers, security settings (so people aren't working on old revs or something like that), and some other automated tools that are big plusses for what we're doing here.

I know that the people on this board are pretty young, by and large, but I know we also have quite a few people that are actually out in the working world and may have dealt with these things. What (if anything) do you guys use to control project documents at your companies? We're currently looking at Documentum, AutoEDMS, Projectwise, and Cyco, if anyone has any more specific info on those.

Thantos
11-19-2004, 09:27 AM
Come on Govt break out the compiler and whip up your own ;)

Govtcheez
11-19-2004, 09:30 AM
If I had either the time or the skill to do it, I still probably wouldn't :)

Darkness
11-19-2004, 10:29 AM
One of our physics professors whom I am friends with uses some special expensive software to keep track of several hundred lattice experiments...she has to record the date of the experiment, the temperature of the experiment, and whether or not it has been sent to our computing cluster (costs $$$ to buy time on that). This is her grad work. If you really want, I might be able to ask her what she uses.

Govtcheez
11-19-2004, 10:36 AM
Sure, I guess. I doubt it's the same thing, though.

Darkness
11-19-2004, 10:56 AM
I've been in and out all day, I went to check shortly after posting, and sure enough she's left early for the holiday. I'm sorry about that, hope you find what you need.

ober
11-19-2004, 10:58 AM
Nothing like that here. I have been asked to create a searchable repository for drawings for our new lab, but they have yet to give me any drawings to put in it. I have a rough search engine built tho. They just put in the document name, a category, and maybe some small information about it and put it in a folder. I then give them the ability to search through it to find what they're looking for and that tells them where to get the document. I could probably even serve links to the documents.

And all that is done with PHP and MS SQL. It's pretty simple, but I already had a template finished for it when I started. And like I said, I have yet to implement it.

edit: and I'm guessing it wouldn't be complicated enough for what you're trying to do.

Govtcheez
11-19-2004, 11:13 AM
> and I'm guessing it wouldn't be complicated enough for what you're trying to do.

Yeah, probably not. the way our network is set up right now, it's pretty easy to find where drawings are; the originals from the client are in the "originals" directory, and working copies are in the "working" directory. The client has a pretty clear naming standard in place, so actually finding the drawings isn't a huge issue. It's more difficult to keep track of what we don't have and still need (which is what that Access DB I made does). Additionally, most of these programs also have security options on top of what Windows already provides (which isn't much).

As a bonus, Cyco has a module which automatically creates a Bill of Materials and AutoEDMS and Documentum both automatically create project transmittals.

vasanth
11-19-2004, 08:19 PM
govt why not use Concurrent Versions System which will allow ppl to automatically get the latest version (or thr version they want) from the server.. simaltaneously work on the same files... etc etc.... There are quite a few open source ones whichw ork with any kind of files.... i think this can solveyour problem...

Govtcheez
11-19-2004, 10:36 PM
> simaltaneously work on the same files...

I really, really don't want this to happen.

I'll look into the idea though, vasanth, thanks.

vasanth
11-20-2004, 05:40 AM
> simaltaneously work on the same files...

I really, really don't want this to happen.

I'll look into the idea though, vasanth, thanks.
well thats one of the features.. which if needed you can configure the server not to allow it....

Govtcheez
11-20-2004, 08:02 AM
That's pretty much what I figured, which is why I'm still going to look at it.

-KEN-
11-20-2004, 10:16 AM
I've heard people say that Subversion (http://subversion.tigris.org/) is a "nicer CVS" - don't really know, personally. Just something to consider if you're considering CVS.

Although I really know if you want a CVS-like solution. It sounds like you might need a little bit more than what it has to offer.

vasanth
11-20-2004, 11:13 AM
I've heard people say that Subversion (http://subversion.tigris.org/) is a "nicer CVS" - don't really know, personally. Just something to consider if you're considering CVS.

Although I really know if you want a CVS-like solution. It sounds like you might need a little bit more than what it has to offer.
yea subversion is really good.... We use it for all our major projects and its really easy to manage any documents, images, source filesm design docs etc etc...

itld
11-20-2004, 12:21 PM
Howdy,
We handle about 200k drawings and documents a year, our Doc Control staff is 3 people. They use some comercial data base type app for Document Control. I'll find out on Monday and let you know.

M.R.

Govtcheez
11-20-2004, 12:31 PM
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.

Govtcheez
12-03-2004, 08:29 AM
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?

nickname_changed
12-04-2004, 04:52 PM
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 (http://www.sourcegear.com/vault/index.html) .

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.

Salem
12-05-2004, 01:08 AM
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.

nickname_changed
12-05-2004, 07:04 AM
TortoiseCVS is another good client, integrates with Windows Explorer, and seems to automatically tell the difference between binary and text files.