[cvsnt] cvsnt for word doc version control

Glen Starrett glen.starrett at march-hare.com
Fri Feb 9 15:46:37 GMT 2007

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Tim Chippington Derrick wrote:
> I do 
> know that CVSNT can do diffs on binary files too - it's just that I 
> never yet found them to be very much use. 

Just to clarify for those who might get confused reading this thread, I 
sense some conflicting uses of the term 'diff':

The diffs on binary files that the server does using -kB (binary deltas) 
is not the same as a "cvs diff" operation.

You can _not_ do a "cvs diff" against binary files to see the 
differences (but see below...).

You _can_ use the -kB keyword to store the binary files more 
efficiently, and therefore reduce the size of your RCS files (binary 
ones anyway) within your repository.

> I am really only interested in the text itself and what it means, 
> and the format and layout are almost irrelevant other than to make it 
> easier for humans to read. But the doc formats are such that the text 
> changes often get swamped and hidden by the foggy mush of binary 
> formatting stuff, fonts, images etc. that is mixed in and around it.

With CVS Suite, you _can_ view the textual differences between two 
version of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files.

CVS Suite contains WinMerge, which also has some add-in diff DLLs to do 
just that -- it shows the textual differences between Word, Excel, and 
Powerpoint documents.  This is what I was describing above.

>> > file formats that effectively cripple virtually any serious attempt 
>> to do
>> > proper version management.
>> Again, not true. It's a proprietary format, that's true, and complex 
>> enough
>> to allow for merging without its own editor. You would not be able to 
>> merge
>> a complex document even if it was in a open XML standard, without 
>> something
>> that can understand the format. Source code is far easier to manage.

For merging, you absolutely do need to use the native Word merge 
functions.  The XML MS outputs is .... ummm .... "undesirable" for merging.


Glen Starrett
Technical Account Manager, North America
March Hare Software, LLC


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