Karyn Hunt wrote:  

>    So I'm wondering, how many of you out there use branching 
> when checking your Frame files in to a source code control 
> system and how many of you just overwrite in one place?

And Laura Sponhour wrote: 

> Harvest can't compare FM files, so, like you, we don't have 
> branches to go back to for versions from previous releases.  

We don't check our FM files into our source control system (Subversion,
but it used to be CVS), only the Help and PDF files that go into the
software build. So I'm not exactly an expert on this stuff. But, I don't
understand what you mean by "overwrite" and not being able to go back to
previous versions. 

The whole point of a source control system is to never "overwrite"
anything and to keep every version. Whether you check files into a
branch or into the head is irrelevant. You should be able to go back and
get any FM file that you committed to the repository. 

Committing a new version will never "overwrite" a previous version; the
only way a previous version disappears from the repository is if someone
consciously and deliberately removes it. Which, I suppose, someone could
do (but it would be wrong!) because of the space problem binary files

You see, source control systems are primarily intended to store text
files, and can do that very space-efficiently: they can compare two
versions of a text file and only store the deltas -- the differences
between the previous version and the new one. Each new commit of the
file adds only a small set of deltas to the repository, which can
reconstruct any commit version by assembling the correct deltas. 

When you store binary files (like FM files), most source control systems
can't compare/diff those, so they have to store a complete new copy of
the file each time it changes. That's why a lot of source control system
admins don't want you checking in your docs -- you eat up massive
amounts of disk space, compared to the programmers' source code (text)

If earlier versions of your docs are deliberately being removed from the
repository because of space problems -- well, that pretty much defeats
the whole purpose, so you need to rethink your process completely. But
unless that's happening, every version of every doc you checked in
should still be in the repository. 


Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Polycom, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom

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