On Thu, 14 May 2015 18:39:41 +0100
"Steve (Gadget) Barnes" <gadgetst...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> > Is it possible to use git to manage microsoft documents?
> > We have so many files and we need to manage the version, change, 
> > languages, etc management.
> >
> > Can we use git?
> At the risk of getting flamed for mentioning a differnt dVCS, the 
> Mercurial, (hg), project has a very sneaky extension called zipdoc
> that stores the content of the zip files, (docx are actually zips
> containing XML), and the fact that they belong in a specific .docx,
> (or whatever), file.  On committing such a file it is actually
> unzipped and the constituents either stored, or for an update, diffed
> and then on a pull they are pulled as constituent parts and then
> zipped to reconstitute the original file.
> You could either consider using Mercurial or trying to find or
> develop a similar extension.

I wonder what this actually buys: you'll end up with a bunch of XML
files (and picture files, if any, and the Manifest file, and so on),
and the problem is that that XML file representing "the content" is as
readable as the original .docx.  As they say, “XML combines the
efficiency of text files with the readability of binary files” [1].
I mean, diffing a machine-produced XML files, where a tiny
logical change in a document could result in hefty parts of that XML
swath rewritten is just marginally better than the original problem.

To put it differently, IMO the only way to properly diff MSO documents
is to use tools deriving on MSO libs to actually extract content
sensible to humans from these containers, and somehow use it for
diffing.  I don't know how TortoiseSVN et al manage to use MSO-shipped
COM objects to carry out this task, but they do.

On the other hand, good tools for diffing XML *should* exist given the
ubiquity of this crap in the enterprise sector.  I don't know of any,
but it worth googling or someone might chime in with a solution. ;-)

In either case, I'm afraid both people who asked questions in this
thread are looking for a document management system, not a VCS.
And I'm afraid, setting up diff tools in Git wouldn't be an easily
solvable task for them (please take no offence, guys!).

1. http://harmful.cat-v.org/software/xml/

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