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Re: Total Heresy: CVS & Windows MS Office Docs

From: Arthur Barrett
Subject: Re: Total Heresy: CVS & Windows MS Office Docs
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 2004 22:47:41 GMT

(I sent this to your e-mail address - but it bounced...)

Yes CVS certainly can version office documents...

As Doug mentioned - it cannot do any merging.

CVSNT which is a multi-platform, open source (free) replacement for
traditional CVS has some additional features which may help you, in
particular the efficient storage of binary files (based on binary deltas).

You can download CVSNT Server and Client here:

You can combine this with a "GUI" like TortoiseCVS (CVSNT client comes with
Tortoise) to even show diff's between word documents (may require some
additional software). GUI's like Tortoise do this by getting the two copies
that you want to see the differences between from CVSNT and then calling a
"3rd program" to display the differences. This can be Word (called by COM)
or any other tool.

Many people do not like the versioning built into Word because it stores all
the previous revisions in the same document - so if you "lost" the one
document you "lose" all the documents. Also anyone who has access to the
document also has access to all the previous information which the document


Arthur Barrett

"Tennis Smith" <address@hidden> wrote in message
> Thanks, Doug.
> I was afraid that would pretty much be the answer.
> -T
> "Doug Lee" <address@hidden> wrote in message
> news:address@hidden
> > Re: managing Office files in CVS:
> >
> > The short answer is yes, but the long answer is no. <grin>  If I
> > understand your interest correctly, the answer is definitely no.
> > Details follow.
> >
> > Yes, you can store Office files in CVS and get them back out, but you
> > must tell CVS that they are binary files (-kb on add).  You can not
> > merge versions, get diffs, or pretty much do anything else except
> > checkin and checkout.  Furthermore, CVS will consume vast quantities
> > of space storing many versions of an Office file because it has no
> > efficient way of generating deltas between them, and Office files tend
> > to change dramatically throughout for even small changes in content,
> > in my experience.
> >
> > If you just want to version documents, check out the built-in ability
> > of Office applications to maintain revisions within a single file.  If
> > you're just trying to include Office documents alongside another
> > project that fits better with CVS, you may find CVS's support
> > sufficient (I do that much myself).  But if you want true version
> > control of Office files outside of Office's own support, CVS won't fit
> > the bill.
> >
> > On Mon, Aug 30, 2004 at 01:56:03PM -0700, Tennis Smith wrote:
> > > Can cvs be used for change management on Windows  Office (e.g.
> Word/Excel)
> > > documents?  Put another way, can these documents deal with having cvs
> > > updating them in the repository?
> > >
> > > --
> > > Remove "-remove-to-reply" to respond to my  email address directly.
> > >
> > >
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Info-cvs mailing list
> > > address@hidden
> > >
> >
> > --
> > Doug Lee           address@hidden
> > Bartimaeus Group   address@hidden
> > "Our chief want in life is somebody who will make us do what
> > we can. {Ralph Waldo Emerson}
> >
> >

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