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Managing multiple authors on one project

PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 8:23 pm
by Psider
Hi all,

I'm just wondering how people manage multiple authors working on a single project at the same time using source control?

Many years ago I was at a company that tried this, and it wasn't a good experience, partly because the merge tool didn't seem to handle the html very well, and partly because the merge tool was pretty confusing for the tech writers.

Have the tools improved or become more user friendly?

Oh, and I seem to remember there was something about files that are marked as changes that are completely irrelevant, i.e. they seemed to change just by looking at a file? (I'm not sure, it was ages ago, but I remember it being super frustrating.

I'd welcome any thoughts you have about multiple authors working on a single project.

Thanks in advance! :)

Re: Managing multiple authors on one project

PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 12:46 pm
by doc_guy
We have four authors that work in the same project. We use GIT for source control, but we don't bind our Flare project to GIT. We just use SmartGit as our source control tool outside of Flare.

It works really well for us. You do have to worry about merge conflicts occasionally, but as the four of us typically work in different parts of a medium-large project, we don't run into each other very often. In a smaller project, that might be more of an issue. It did take some training on the merge tool, but that is a skill that most tech writers need to learn at some point anyway.

As for your question regarding irrelevant changes, Flare 2017 and older had a tendency to track some irrelevant data in the source files. This has changed in Flare 2018. If the irrelevant code exists in a topic, Flare 2018 will strip it out when you save the file the first time. When you create a new topic, the irrelevant code is not ever included in the topic. So this is a new feature that will greatly reduce merge conflicts in Flare!

Re: Managing multiple authors on one project

PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 6:04 pm
by Psider
Cool, thanks for that info. Knowing that every change/view doesn't count as a conflict is awesome. :)

Re: Managing multiple authors on one project

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2018 12:08 am
by Dave Lee
I've not had any real problems with multiple authors using TFS.
It can also be configured to lock files that other people have checked-out, so that would prevent conflicts, or would at least make you aware that someone else is making changes.

I don't think the merge tool has changed, but I rarely had to use it.

One tip I can give you is not to use a single TOC file, but split it into multiple smaller TOCs (and link them together). Then people can work on separate parts of the TOC without conflicts.