6 Replies Latest reply on Jan 1, 2008 5:36 PM by bproven1

    Version lock (check-in/check-out) functionality?

      I am curious about how others handle collaboration in their environment especially concerning preventing people from overwriting each other's versions - especially when uploading documents (e.g. Word, PDF) to the community.  Clearspace supports versioning, but it does not support the ability to "check out" or lock a file for revision to prevent "stepping" on other's work.  For example, I have user1 and user2 both collaborating on a document.

      User1 downloads version1 makes changes, user2 downloads version1 and also makes changes. User2 then uploads the new version to clearspace and then User2 does the same - we have just lost the changes that User1 submitted. Well, not totally lost, but we would have to manually merge or something.  A source of confusion for sure.  Until Clearspace supports this (which I am not sure if it is even on the roadmap) how do other's handle this?  This is my biggest concern as I start deploying the product at our company.  This is especially true since one of CS's competitors <cough> MS Sharepoint <cough> does support this.  Our users are currently used to this sort of process since we use a source control product to handle document revisions (check-in/out the document as you revise it).  Any strategies?  Thanks to anyone who can offer some guidelines..

        • Re: Version lock (check-in/check-out) functionality?
          davidallen

          I am working on a Subversion extension that would provide this functionality, though it would require an external SVN repository to actually manage the documents. You reference Sharepoint, but in my experience it is lightweight to say the least.

           

          How detailed is your understanding of the intended behavior of this feature? Perhaps a macro that would notate a document as "checked - out" would suffice?

            • Re: Version lock (check-in/check-out) functionality?

              Well that sounds interesting and could work although outside the product of course since it requires SVN.  The macro you suggest could work as well - maybe in conjunction with a warning of some sort(?)  This workflow sounds reasonable:  if user1 checked something out (downloaded the document to revise it) and then when user1 went to check it back in (reupload in CS) the system would be able to warn them (before the upload was applied)  that user2 had already uploaded a newer version.  That might work along with the checked-out label you mention.   What it comes down to is that I think the biggest fear would be collaborators would step on each other's work and wouldnt realize it which would lead to confusion.  This is one of the reasons why I was asking the community if they came across this issue yet and/or how they handled it     Maybe its an unfounded fear, but I can see that scenario occurring unfortunately. 

               

               

               

               

              It could be I am trying to make CS do too much, but I hope it would give us an "intranet", document management, and a knowledgebase (internal) all in one rather than glue all these things together like some sort of franken-suite (to steal a term from Jive execs )

                • Re: Version lock (check-in/check-out) functionality?
                  davidallen

                  I would think that at least rudimentary revision control - something more than just the ability to retrieve previous versions of a document - would be a nice addition I would just caution the Clearspace product team that this is a slippery slope. What starts out as simple document revision management becomes a full blown version control system with automated reconciliation and such...

                   

                  They have done a great job navigating this type of terrain and I am confident they will do so again...

                    • Re: Version lock (check-in/check-out) functionality?

                       

                      davidallen wrote:

                      I would think that at least rudimentary revision control - something more than just the ability to retrieve previous versions of a document - would be a nice addition I would just caution the Clearspace product team that this is a slippery slope. What starts out as simple document revision management becomes a full blown version control system with automated reconciliation and such...

                       

                      They have done a great job navigating this type of terrain and I am confident they will do so again...

                      I agree - something that is a bit more than storing previous versions would be great, but becoming a full out source control system is too much and should be discouraged.  Still curious if other CS customers have run across this scenario in practice and if so how they manage it - hopefully others can chime in as well.  Thanks for your comments David.

                  • Re: Version lock (check-in/check-out) functionality?
                    Magpie

                     

                    I think an integration with Subversion would be a smart way to go i.e. leverage vs. build.

                     

                     

                    We use subversion to master all our non-source code artifacts, typically documentation and software project deliverables. There has in fact been a dilemma about what should be kept in Subversion and what in CS. The rub is that CS provides the promise of the best authoring and collaborative interface, but Subversion provides a stronger underlying version control capability.

                     

                     

                    On particular aspect of using subversion is attractive, you can replicate and sync local repository instances. This makes you data much more portable i.e. offline. I think this would also help with overcoming objections with placing your faith in CS's ability to provide all your document management capability needs.

                     

                     

                    The objection I have with sub-version is that it is still too techy for business users to use. The opportunity for CS is to provide a better interface and make it an in-line process to store artifacts in a proper version control system. The problem with using both is that people have to know 'how to' and bother to action using both tools.

                     

                     

                    Integration holds the promise of utilizing preferred approaches at the point of need.

                     

                     

                      • Re: Version lock (check-in/check-out) functionality?

                         

                        Magpie wrote:

                        I think an integration with Subversion would be a smart way to go i.e. leverage vs. build.

                         

                        We use subversion to master all our non-source code artifacts, typically documentation and software project deliverables. There has in fact been a dilemma about what should be kept in Subversion and what in CS. The rub is that CS provides the promise of the best authoring and collaborative interface, but Subversion provides a stronger underlying version control capability.

                         

                         

                         

                        On particular aspect of using subversion is attractive, you can replicate and sync local repository instances. This makes you data much more portable i.e. offline. I think this would also help with overcoming objections with placing your faith in CS's ability to provide all your document management capability needs.

                         

                         

                         

                        The objection I have with sub-version is that it is still too techy for business users to use. The opportunity for CS is to provide a better interface and make it an in-line process to store artifacts in a proper version control system. The problem with using both is that people have to know 'how to' and bother to action using both tools.

                         

                         

                         

                        Integration holds the promise of utilizing preferred approaches at the point of need.

                         

                         

                        I agree that integration would be nice, but the only thing I don't like about having to rely on subversion is that it is just one more system to install/manage/support/backup etc in addition to CS.  For us the best solution seems to be just making sure that the user knows that the document they are uploading as the new version has been touched by someone else already.  The previously suggested "checked out" label on a document and/or a warning would be a nice feature to get CS halfway to a full version control tool without the extras that may not be really needed.    However, having the merge and other true version control features would be nice too   Of course that is just my thoughts - others might really want/need full blown features that integration would provide. 

                         

                         

                         

                         

                         

                        This is an interesting discussion to say the least that is for sure...  Hope to hear form others using CS as a doc mgnt tool.  Thanks all for commenting so far...