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Thread: Can TortoiseSVN do this?...

  1. #1

    Can TortoiseSVN do this?...

    Hi guys,

    I'm looking for a version control system to fit this book editing use case:

    Step 1: An author checks in her manuscript.

    Step 2: An editor edits the author's manuscript (with Word's "Track Changes" feature on).

    Step 3: The author looks at the editor's changes (thanks to the "Track Changes" feature), rejecting some and also adding new text.

    Step 4: We want to compare the author's new version (resulting from Step 3) to the author's original manuscript (in Step 1). We want a report of *only* the author's changes and # of words changed (none of the editor's changes in Step 2), since we bill for the new words she adds in Step 3.


    If this is possible with TortoiseSVN, how can I do it? If not, what other system(s) can I use?


    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    "Track Changes" is kind of redundant when you're using Subversion. And in the scenario you outline, combining the two may actually make steps 1-3 a lot messier.

    TortoiseSVN (and just about any other tool) can't do direct comparisons of versions of Word documents because they're binary files and no one except Microsoft has a perfect Word document reader. When you invoke Diff in TortoiseSVN for a Word document, it's actually telling Word to open 2 files using Word's built-in Compare Documents feature.

    Because of this, step 4 becomes a major effort each time you want to do it - to automate it (which you'd want to do, else you'll be spending considerable time doing the accounting on each cycle), you'd need to do some custom scripting/automation of Word itself.

    I strongly recommend you look at completely different tool. It may be something that can be wedged into Sharepoint with some custom development work.
    I am neither an employee nor customer of WANDisco.

  3. #3
    Ahh okay, thanks so much Andy. I'll consider how to simplify and will look into other tools (can't afford Sharepoint).

  4. #4
    If your company qualifies for BizSpark, you can get it a lot cheaper.
    I am neither an employee nor customer of WANDisco.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Site ModeratorSite Admin
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    On the other hand, Subversion is very good at diff-ing plain text based formats. Have you considered preparing your manuscripts with DocBook or LaTeX instead of Word?
    Mat Booth
    Software Engineer
    WANdisco, Inc.

    I joined the blog-o-web-o-sphere! Linux and Coding Blog

    How To Ask Smart Questions

  6. #6
    @andyl I just read Microsoft's BizSpark website, and it sounds like one needs to be a tech startup to qualify. Or is it broader than that?

    @Mat By preparing, do you mean running the Word docs through DocBook or LaTeX, and *then* comparing them? I've not used those tools before, but I'm open to it!

    Thank you again guys.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Site ModeratorSite Admin
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    Quote Originally Posted by bookeditor View Post
    @Mat By preparing, do you mean running the Word docs through DocBook or LaTeX, and *then* comparing them? I've not used those tools before, but I'm open to it!

    Thank you again guys.
    I mean not using Word at all
    Mat Booth
    Software Engineer
    WANdisco, Inc.

    I joined the blog-o-web-o-sphere! Linux and Coding Blog

    How To Ask Smart Questions

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by bookeditor View Post
    @andyl I just read Microsoft's BizSpark website, and it sounds like one needs to be a tech startup to qualify. Or is it broader than that?
    I honestly don't know what the BizSpark details are. I've seen it mentioned in discussions about small companies & how they get an MS-heavy environment off the ground with limited funds.
    I am neither an employee nor customer of WANDisco.

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