Tugger the SLUGger!SLUG Mailing List Archives

Re: [SLUG] Document Management Systems

Rick Moen wrote:
> I would think that the proper way to do version control on documents is
> in a proper upstream format such as TeX or Docbook.

I wasn't suggesting otherwise.

> Otherwise, you're at best restricted to awful kludges using very
> overhead-heavy, corruption-prone contraptions such as DeltaV, or
> Subversion with custom diff code.

Not so, let's take your DocBook example as to why you'd want
an SGML-aware diff.  I check out fred.sgml and edit it, but my
editor reformats each of the lines as it writes them.  The
editor has done nothing wrong as the SGML spec allows whitespace
to be mangled.  The *content* of fred.sgml is the same, the line
breaks are merely in a different place, the attributes within
tags might be in a different order.

A diff using CVS/RCS/SCCS will report each line as altered.  DeltaV
with an SGML-aware client will report the substantive content changes.

DeltaV was also handles revision control of multimedia content.
Here the source may well be binary (eg: a sound sample).  The
output of diff in this case may be a differing content-type
than the stored content-type.  The user may also want to choose
from a range of "diff"s.  These requirements pretty much imply a
client-side handling of actions that require inspection of the

> 'Course, that means that the contents would have to be maintained in
> the upstream system, and the poor little executives might run screaming
> in terror from LyX.  Awwww.

The point of using a standard version control protocol
is that the executives won't notice.  They'll simply
check the tickbox "maintain document history" in their
word processor.

It's the current lack of a standard protocol that implies
the seperation of editing and version control.

> Subversion rocks.  I've finally started using it (cautiously), now that
> it's passed the self-hosting milestone.  And boy will I be glad to ditch
> CVS.

Ironically we'll probably need a cvs/DeltaV gateway before
we can finally put CVS to rest at the crossroads at midnight
with a stake through its black, black heart.  Programmers are
a conservative bunch, although they don't like to think of
themselves as such, and will want to continue to use their
burned-in "cvs" commands.

Best wishes,

 Glen Turner                                 Network Engineer
 (08) 8303 3936      Australian Academic and Research Network
 glen.turner@xxxxxxxxxxxxx          http://www.aarnet.edu.au/
 The revolution will not be televised, it will be digitised