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This question comes from a question asked yesterday here, the comments of which lead me to believe this separate question might be appropriate.

To explain again: a small group of individuals have been given a .xlsx file (newer excel) which they will, over the course of the school semester, work on individually. Said file contains numerous workbooks, with each members of the group being assigned n number of workbooks to work on.

As of now, said file is stored in an svn repository whose host allows a web-interface which adds the slight convenience of allowing members to see comments/updates/communicate its web page.

From my last question I gathered that SVN may not be the best solution to this given that it doesn't handle binary files well. From that source, and form my own research thereafter I've a few ideas on we can accomplish the Title of this question:

  • Split said .xlsx file into its various workbooks by number of group members. When assignment is due the workbooks (I assume) could be merged into a single .xlsx file. This will allow group to have the storage features of svn, allow other members the ability to view member m's work, and allow members to view comments.

  • Explore the use of msofficesvn

This question then can be restated in more detail as: How can/should we keep up with this file? Assuming the features of SVN would be useful for the group (merging, seeing differences, comments, etc.) which of these could achieve by other means and what are those means?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

You may want to check out the new live/collaboration features in Office 2010+:

With Excel Web App one of the goals we set out to achieve was to improve how multiple people work with and share spreadsheets. We wanted to build an experience where people could edit their spreadsheets without having to worry about the file being locked by someone else (unless exclusive access is what you desire, more on that in a moment). Authors can come and go as they please, multiple authors can be editing the same spreadsheet at the same time, and the Excel Web App manages all the changes.

With collaborative editing, it is now possible for two or more people to edit a spreadsheet at the same time. So what happens if these authors are trying to edit the same cell or range of data? Generally speaking, Excel Web App takes a last-person-wins approach. This means that if John and Jane both type a value into cell A1 at roughly the same time, the submission that came in last, from the point of view of the Excel Web App server, is the value that both users will see.

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I will definitely agree that SVN is not the best option. It would seem like it has all the features you are probably looking for but it really isn't meant for that so you would still need to do quite a bit of customization.

Their is a plethora of open source project management and collaboration software out there. From the sounds of it the best option for your situation would be something like what was formerly known as Google Docs(It is now a part of Google Drive.) So for this I would recommend an open source collaboration project called Feng Office. http://sourceforge.net/projects/opengoo/

I was going to use it for one of my projects when it was called OpenGoo although I didn't end up needing it. If it doesn't suit your needs then like I said their is alot more out their that fit the boat alot better than using SVN.

Open source collaboration software

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