Source control required with shared network folder?

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Source control required with shared network folder?

Postby techpubs_patti on Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:51 am

Flare Newbie here, so apologies if this is a dumb question ...

We have 3 writers and 1 Flare project on a file server that we are all pointing to. Do we need to use source control for this scenario? Can we turn something on in Flare so we don't inadvertently save changes over someone else?

Thanks much for your insights!
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Re: Source control required with shared network folder?

Postby Nita Beck on Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:07 am

Hi newbie! Welcome to the forums. :)

Yes, yes, yes, a resounding yes, you should be using source control when there are multiple authors working on the same Flare project. Although I personally have success using Flare's integrated source control features (both Subversion and Git), many other Flare authors prefer to not use Flare's integrated features but instead to use a third-party source control client.

I suggest that you study up on source control, starting here: http://help.madcapsoftware.com/flare2017r2/Content/Source-Control/Flare/About-Source-Control.htm.

If you work/in for a software company/department, find out what source control system is already being used for code. A best practice is to use the same source control platform, as you'd have someone in-house to help you learn how to use source control effectively.

MadCap does not recommend putting a Flare project on a shared network drive. Performance will be degraded, plus you don't have any of the protections of source control (e.g., being able to roll back to a prior version of a file, being able to merge changes from multiple authors).

HTH
Nita
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Re: Source control required with shared network folder?

Postby techpubs_patti on Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:37 am

Thanks Nita -- Just to clarify, if we use source control for local work, it's ok to keep our committed files on a shared network drive, and use that shared network drive as the location for checking the files into, correct? Or am I hopelessly confused?

Thanks, Patti
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Re: Source control required with shared network folder?

Postby techpubs_patti on Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:53 am

Thanks Nita. Can you give me the simplest option for source control? I don't see us needing to branch, etc. Also, if we decide to use Git from Flare, then later decide to use it outside of Flare, is that a difficult transition?

Thanks again, Patti
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Re: Source control required with shared network folder?

Postby Nita Beck on Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:40 pm

techpubs_patti wrote:Thanks Nita -- Just to clarify, if we use source control for local work, it's ok to keep our committed files on a shared network drive, and use that shared network drive as the location for checking the files into, correct? Or am I hopelessly confused?

Thanks, Patti

The exact solution will depend on which source control platform you go with, but in any case, generally, yes, each author would work in a local copy of the project and then commit (or, in the case of Git, commit and push) changes to a repository. The repository needs to be on a server, not simply in a shared folder. Someone will need to set up a network-accessible server for you, or, if you go with a cloud solution such as MadCap Central, BitBucket, GitHub, or others, that service will set up the server for you.
Nita
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Re: Source control required with shared network folder?

Postby Nita Beck on Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:47 pm

techpubs_patti wrote:Thanks Nita. Can you give me the simplest option for source control? I don't see us needing to branch, etc. Also, if we decide to use Git from Flare, then later decide to use it outside of Flare, is that a difficult transition?

Thanks again, Patti


There is no simple one-size-fits-all option. If you don't need branching, then you can likely do most of your source control operations using Flare. That said, I find that I sometimes still need to use a third-party source control client to do an operation that Flare just doesn't do internally. And you probably do need, at some point, to use tagging. Source control tagging is nothing like tags of any sort in Flare. A source control tag is a named copy of a project at a specific point in time. My clients' staff writers and I always make a tag at the point when we have completed a revision.

If you have a source-controlled Flare project, you can easily use a third-party client on the project. Just do so with Flare CLOSED. Otherwise, between Flare and the third-party client, you're likely to get yourself in a tangle in terms of the commit status of your files and folders.

If you have never done source control before, study up on it conceptually. A good, basic introduction to source control (examples are for Subversion, in this case, but the concepts are general) is here: https://betterexplained.com/articles/a-visual-guide-to-version-control/.
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Re: Source control required with shared network folder?

Postby techpubs_patti on Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:08 pm

We got a Git repository configured for our Flare project. We were unable to bind from Flare to the repository, but we were about to use TortoiseGit to connect our repository with our local environments. Then when we opened Flare, it recognized that source control was implemented and automatically pulled in changes.

Yesterday, we were able to use Synchronize to push/pull files and see merge conflicts through Flare, and everything worked beautifully!

Today, it doesn't seem like the Flare source control integration works at all. I don't know how to explain when we're doing, but somehow Flare doesn't seem to connect to the remote repository and I don't know what to look for.

Thanks in advance for your insights!

Patti
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