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I need to work with several teams and need to be able to share requirements and design documents. Most people won't be too technical, so I want to avoid source code tools. The main requirements are:

  1. Easy sharing via links. I don't want people to have to install multple tools just to see a file or learn anything about svn checkout.
  2. Permissions - I want to allow view only access to most people, with some having add/edit permissions. I don't want anyone to be able to permanently delete anything.
  3. Revision History - I want to see who has added and edited files and be able to revert to previous versions.

I've tried Dropbox and SkyDrive, but they each have faults. Dropbox allows users to permanently delete files, and it will even delete the file from your local machine when it is synced. SkyDrive doesn't allow enough fine grained permissions or revision history. Do I need a CMS system like Drupal]? Would Sharepoint be the proper tool? I don't necessarily need an open source solution. The easier it is to set up and administer, the better.

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If a document is deleted in Dropbox you can still recover it rather easily. Just show undeleted files and undelete the file from the web interface. – alex Oct 6 '09 at 17:24
I did some tests on Dropbox with another person and we were able to permanently delete files, which then deleted them from the local machines. Even if the other person originally added the file, the other person was able to delete it. If you do a "delete" through the web site, you can restore it, but then there is a permanent delete option that completely removes it. – George Oct 6 '09 at 17:41
You're right about that and, unfortunately, there's no workaround for that. – alex Oct 6 '09 at 17:44
Regarding Google - it seems to me that Google Wave is made for this sort of collaboration. – Xavierjazz Oct 6 '09 at 19:13

Use Google Sites - it's easy to maintain and administer, and if done right, it can perform remarkably well as a simple intranet.

You can even create multiple sites, with one site catering for one project, and restricting team members to just that.

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How does this relate to document sharing and revisioning? I'm not saying your idea is bad, I just don't understand it :) – alex Oct 6 '09 at 17:33
@Alex : Google sites allow file uploading and versioning. – caliban Oct 6 '09 at 17:57
@Alex : Google Sites is a very versatile platform, through the management of pages that an administrator can customize to make it suit close to almost any purpose he/she wants. – caliban Oct 6 '09 at 17:57
Now I get it. Thanks for the information! – alex Oct 6 '09 at 17:58
What I like about Sites is it follows the KISS concept - Keep It Simple, Stupid. That does not mean it is not powerful though, I wish I could demo some intranet sites we have done for companies with about 60 employees - management love it! – caliban Oct 6 '09 at 17:59

If you looking for free and easy to set up...

Apache + svn allows you to share http: urls for documents and allows authorized persons (with a client installed) to upload changes.

If you can afford some setup/cost a CMS like Zope or SharePoint will do what you want.

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I am with TrueShare,, and would like to make a couple points about our service.

You can:

  1. Set up versioning on any folder and access archive versions
  2. Restrict upload and delete permissions
  3. Control permissions differently from folder to folder using the work group feature
  4. Share files via Send-a-Link or direct link
  5. Utilize transaction reports to review all types of transactions
  6. Create a Forum and assign it to a folder
  7. Auto sync creates a copy in another directory of the file being synced if desired.
  8. Set up unlimited users with a single account for as little as $25 per month.

You can not:

  1. Edit files on the web/server. A user must have download and upload permission to edit a document and introduce it back into TrueShare
  2. Assign "read only" permission unless you restrict upload capability to that Folder/Work Group

Check out the free trial and see if it works for you. Our email address is support (at) if you want to reach us for more questions.


Mitch Matt

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For me this look like a job for a wiki like DokuWiki or MediaWiki.

  • Online document editing
  • Various level of permission
  • Automatic version tracking;
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I have to suggest SharePoint for it's brilliant integration with the Office 2007 tools. If you happen to be using those, SharePoint provides a lot of advantages. While I am using the enterprise version at work, the free version sounds like it would more than suit your needs.

SharePoint works great with non-Office 2007 docs too though.

Of course SharePoint's free version is only free if you already have a Windows 2k3 server running.

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Have you tried Alfresco?

  • Easily share documents via links.
  • Tune permissions among roles.
  • The "records management" module prevents any deletion (may be overkill though).
  • Easy versions management.

Open source. Running your own server is really easy, but you can also use Alfresco Cloud, 10GB for free.

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