[cvsnt] cvsnt for word doc version control

Tim Chippington Derrick tim at chippingtonderrick.co.uk
Sat Feb 10 12:31:08 GMT 2007

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I hate to keep going on about this, but it is a real issue for me. 
Nobody has to convince me of anything about CVSNT - I've been using 
it for years and don't see myself changing to anything else anytime 
soon. I'd love to use word doc generated from ASCII text sources tc, 
but virtually nobody else around me sees this as a problem. If you'll 
bear with me I'll relate a recent classic example:

We started another project recently (last autumn). We had a big 
meeting at the start of the project about version and configuration 
management. I argued strongly for CVSNT and a text-based 
documentation system, or even using VSS (the agreed project standard 
:-(  Yuk) for the project documentation, but was over-ruled. What was 
mandated by the project team was keeping using MS Word, Excel, Visio 
etc documents and using the (manually decided) version number as part 
of the file name on our own desktop PCs; the master version is 
supposed to be on Sharepoint, but only the PM has write access (to 
keep control of the versioning). [Note: I' m sure you can see where 
this is going...]. Anyway, the meeting minutes were written up by the 
PM and called version 1.0 ad circulated to the project team. Several 
of the team duly read the notes, and added their own comments and 
corrections and submitted their own changes, some labelled as version 
1.0 and some as v1.1 - so we now had several different v1.0 and v1.1 
files. The PM diligently merged the differences by hand in MS Word. 
This was placed in Sharepoint as the official v1.1 doc. Later, some 
more changes were made by various people on their v1.1 documents 
(comments about other's comments etc...) - but unfortunately not all 
on the same v1.1 document. When these got merged, the job wasn't 
perfect either. So we ended up with a right mess, with multiple 
different versions of the document being labelled v1.1 and v1.2. And 
don't forget that this was the document that was supposed to be 
defining how document version control was to be managed!

Somebody please give me the strength to carry on living with this...


At 04:49 10/02/2007, Gabriel Genellina wrote:
>At Friday 9/2/2007 08:07, Tim Chippington Derrick wrote:
>>Of course I agree with all these points - I am only used to using the
>>free version of CVSNT, and have never had any support to help me in
>>its setup and use (I'm self-taught, as I guess are most people here).
>>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. In the word
>>documents that I use, 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.
>Just *don't* use Word as the source document.
>Write the documents on another format, and *generate* Word, HTML, 
>PDF, etc. from there.
>We use reStructuredText (a bit biased, because we do a lot of work 
>in Python): http://docutils.sourceforge.net/rst.html
>Gabriel Genellina
>Softlab SRL

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