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Subject: Re: [chairs] need your comments on DocMgmt system requirements


Most solutions will not do what you want to do, because it would involve intimate knowledge of several versions of microsoft file formats. Perhaps we need to create - OLE-VS :-) CVS is not inefficient in storing binary documents, but it is inefficient as a Microsoft Office technology. :-)

I'd be resistant to spending significant time and money to support more efficient MS Word authoring, when what we need to do is come up with a better way to collaborate on documents. I'm not entirely certain of the solution here, but I have a feeling it needs to be based on a document standard that is not proprietary.


On Feb 18, 2004, at 5:09 PM, Rogers, Tony wrote:

Make a couple of changes in a Word document and store it in CVS (yeah, binary is probably how you'd do it) - it stores the entire file again, rather than the changes - that's what I'm calling inefficient, meaning "using more storage than is necessary to store the changes". I didn't say "bad". I didn't say "unusable". I said "inefficient", and I cordially disagree with your statement that "It is not.".
I have used CVS for over 10 years, and it's a useful place to store source code. It's a lot less useful when storing non-text files, however.
One of the features of CVS and ancilliary programs that I use frequently is a display of the differences between two versions of a file. I don't get that facility when CVS is storing Word documents - all I can do is retrieve the two Word documents and look at them (anyone got a good Diff for Word?). That's a big loss, especially in this environment, where we have multiple authors. To make matters worse, it encourages use of the "track changes" feature of Word, and that produces much larger Word documents...
So what I am asking is: is there a system which will give us this valuable feature for Word documents? (Ideally, also for PDF files) Something that will allow us to see things like "this paragraph was added by Mr Slowsteady on 13 July, and modified by Ms Quicksmart on 14 August". If the answer to that is an expensive document management system, then let's consider it. If it can work on top of CVS so we can use native CVS facilities for text and html files, then that's a bonus.
Tony Rogers
-----Original Message-----
From: Matthew MacKenzie [mailto:mattm@adobe.com]
Sent: Thu 19-Feb-04 7:34
To: Christopher B Ferris
Cc: Rogers, Tony; karl.best@oasis-open.org; Chairs OASIS
Subject: Re: [chairs] need your comments on DocMgmt system requirements

cvs -z9 add -kb mydoc.doc

You need to mark the document as "binary", and to not expand keywords. The -z flag tells the client the level of compression to use. I've been using CVS almost daily for 5 years, and there are several binary files in there (jars, zips, docs, pdfs, ps, exe, gz, ...).

Is CVS inefficient in storing and versioning MS Word, or other binary documents? No. It is not. Does CVS integrate with MS Word to make the cvs diff command and conflict resolution work? No. If we want that, OASIS will probably want to pony up big bucks for a high end content management system.

On Feb 18, 2004, at 4:23 PM, Christopher B Ferris wrote:

Right, but you can store word docs in CVS... it's just inefficient. As for
it works just fine.


Christopher Ferris
STSM, Emerging e-business Industry Architecture
email: chrisfer@us.ibm.com
blog: http://webpages.charter.net/chrisfer/blog.html
phone: +1 508 377 9295

"Rogers, Tony" <Tony.Rogers@ca.com> wrote on 02/18/2004 03:13:55 PM:

In my experience, CVS doesn't handle MS Word documents well. It is
designed for plain-text source
code, and MS Word's file format doesn't allow it to produce an
economical diff between one version
and the next. This means that it wastes considerable space when
versioning Word. I cannot comment
on its ability to version html, but I suspect it would do much better on
that. Perhaps we should
all be using TeX, because that can be versioned more readily (ah, that
was a joke...)

Is there a tool that would be able to version MS Word more effectively?
I certainly don't know.
Does that mean we shouldn't use Word? I hope not - our TC has found
Word's change tracking rather
useful when working collaboratively.

Tony Rogers
co-chair UDDI TC
-----Original Message-----
From: Karl F. Best [mailto:karl.best@oasis-open.org]
Sent: Thu 19-Feb-04 2:04
To: Norman Walsh
Cc: Chairs OASIS; Jeff Lomas
Subject: Re: [chairs] need your comments on DocMgmt system requirements

Norman Walsh wrote:
/ "Karl F. Best" <karl.best@oasis-open.org> was heard to say:
| I've put together a draft functional requirements document for this
| doc mgmt system and would like to get your feedback. It is very
| important that we have the requirements correct and complete before
| start development of the project -- many of you are developers so
| sure that you understand the importance of this.

High level comments:

- I don't think these requirements adequately address the distinction
between a development system (where TCs actively revise documents,
schemas, etc.) and a publication system (where TCs post working
drafts, standards, and other "finished" work products).

Is the proposal to develop one or the other, or both. If it's one
the other, then I think some of these requirements are completely
inappropriate. If it's both, I think it might be useful to specify
them separately. (And whether you imagine having resources to do
them in sequence, or at the same time?)

I've previously thought of having a two-phase system, the first of which
would provide a "sandbox" for the TC members to collaborate in
developing a document. Then once the doc reached a certain stage it
would then go into a more controlled environment with e.g. versioning
and edited only by the TC. I've gotten the impression that most TCs
would only use the second phase, but I could be wrong.

Chairs: would you prefer having both of these phases built into the doc
mgmt system (open collaboration, followed by more rigourous control)? or
would you only use the second?

- There are several places where the requirements seem to be

Specifics? This is obviously a draft so needs polishing, so suggestions
are welcome.

- I think meeting all of the requirements listed below will be a
significant challenge. A more detailed roadmap, showing staged
progress with realistic time estimates would be very helpful.

Yeah. That's the next step. But right now I'm just gathering
requirements. I can't very well write a development schedule until I
know what it is that we're trying to build.

I'd also like suggestions on which parts of this are most important. I'm
debating whether we should try a phased development approach (i.e.
provide base functionality now then add a more functionality over time).
Looking through the requirements that I have now, though, I'm not sure
which ones we could put off until later.

Chairs: suggestions please.

- A number of the features that you describe would seem to be at least
partially addressed by open source efforts like G-Forge (an open
source version of SourceForge). Are you considering a system like
that, or are you expecting to "roll your own" from scratch.

I'm intending for us to build on top of an existing system. That's why I
said "probably CVS". We'd be silly to build something from scratch when
the engine already exists. We'll build some sort of customized web
interface on top of the engine. Once we have the requirements we'll know
what it is that we need to build. I'd also like suggestions for the
engine; is CVS the way to go, or do people recommend something else?

OASIS DocMgmt Functional Requirements

(17 February 2004)

General Description: A repository providing storage/management of
files created by TCs, SCs, and other OASIS groups

Technical committees need to be able to store and manage a collection
of resources. Principal among these resources are documents, but it's
reasonable to consider other, related resources as well, including
issue lists, archives, news items, and syndicated content.

The doc mgmt system would store any type of file. Not just specs, but
also the other doc types you mention.

Would some of these stored objects be links and not files?

o Probably based on CVS

The requirements for a "development tree" are likely to be somewhat
different than the requirements for a "publishing tree". In
particular, I would expect published standards to be more-or-less
immutable, to have persistent URIs, etc. In a development tree, those
constraints might be quite stifling.

CVS supports a development system very well. It's not immediately
clear to me if it supports a publication system equally well.

I'm certainly not a CVS expert, though I'm aware that it was built for
development rather than documents. So it may not be ideal for what we

Does anyone have suggestions for a better engine, better suited for doc
development and publishing, upon which to build our system?

o A separate area in the repository for each TC/SC/group; both
default and definable hierarchy within each TC area

Can you elaborate on what you mean by "both default and definable"?
What do you have in mind for "default"?

When we create a new TC we would define hierarchy branches for such
things as e.g. "drafts", "minutes", "contributions" etc. (TBD). Then the
TC chair could define additional branches as required. We'd want to keep
the hierarchy as flat as possible to keep the URLs short, and we'd want
some consistency, but I want to give the TCs some control over there

o All documents are permanently archived (only Admin has delete

In CVS terms, you can delete a document, but you can always recover
it. In a development tree, it's not uncommon to reorganize some code
or a document and want to remove modules from the current "head" of
the development tree. This goes back to my comment before that the
requirements for publication and development are somewhat different.

Maybe this is where the "sandbox" (above) comes in. I don't see the need
of permanently archiving early drafts, but once a doc is checked into
the permanent repository it should be permanent.

o All documents are publicly viewable, downloadable

o Repository has a web interface for uploading and tree browsing,
searching, and retrieval

+ Support for all major browsers

+ Listing of single files includes filename, title, description,
date, creator, and language; listing of packages includes the
list of single files in the package

+ Search by filename, title, date, creator, and language; and
full-text search of description and contents.

Does it have other interfaces? Are you describing a front-end for CVS
here, or something else? Does it support Web-DAV?

I would expect that most people would want to use a web interface, but I
suppose that power users may want to deal more directly with the engine.
But there's also certain safeguards (permissions, restrictions on
naming, etc.) that may require that we use an interface. I don't know
yet; this may depend on the engine.

What are the benefits of Web-DAV? (I'm not an expert on this.)

I think it would make sense to address searching as its own top-level
item. In particular, the description above suggests that every item
will have a set of metadata that can be searched. Where/when is this
metadata created? Can I add my own? Is it expressed in an open format,
an XML vocabulary or RDF or a topic map, or is it proprietary? How
does this metadata evolve as documents change in CVS?

I see the metadata as comprised of the fields listed above. TBD. I don't
know yet how this would be expressed because we havne't selected an
engine yet.

How does this matter? Yes, we should use XML on principle, but I don't
see it as a requirement.

As for searching the content, that's clearly going to depend on the
type of content. What types will the system support?

Obviously not all content will be searchable. If somebody uploads a blob
there's not much we'll be able to do with it besides just store it.

We will store whatever types of files the TCs need to store.

Persistent URLs

o At file creation the document is assigned a URL according to the
OASIS file naming scheme. The URL will always resolve to the latest
version of the document, regardless of the documents (versioned)
filename; a URL will identify a specification throughout its entire
lifetime from working draft to OASIS Standard. Previous versions of
the document will be accessible via a variant of the URL containing
the version number.

This is fine for storing standards but it's in conflict with the use
of CVS and the reference above to a "definable hierarchy".

Again, I'm not an expert on what you can and can't do with CVS.
Suggestions welcome.

I think this should apply to published standards and work products,
but I don't think it can practically be applied to a development

If we have a "sandbox" phase then we wouldn't expect a persistent URL
for those items. Only once a doc is checked into the permanent
repository would we do this.

This suggests that the interface to the published standards space
might require more constraints. I hope that these constraints can be
imposed without requiring me to interact with the system only through
a web interface.

As above, power users like yourself may wish to talk directly to the
engine, but there will be some constraints for security and consistency.
If it is practical to enforce those constraints via both a web interface
as well as a native interface then we will. But if it's not practical
then we'll have to do everything through a browser.

Multiple file types supported

o TCs will store both source (e.g. MSWord or HTML) and compiled (e.g.
PDF) versions of each file; i.e. the repository should not allow a
PDF to be checked in without a matching .doc or .html file

Uhm, what about documents that have a source which is neither a
proprietary tool or HTML?

The above is not an exhaustive list. I'm just suggesting that both
source and compiled versions should be in the repository. Any
responsible developer should agree with this philosophy.

Imposing the requirement that the system check for classes of
dependencies between files of different types is going to be tricky,
especially as the specs evolve. Suppose I rebuild the PDF, can I check
it in without checking in a new source document? What if I only
corrected a formatting bug? If I check in a new source, what happens
to the PDF?

Yeah, we'll have to figure this out. How do you do it when you write

I think a lot more detail is required in this part of the

That's why I'm asking for input.

o HTML files may include graphics which will be stored with the file
(use relative URLs?)

What about other cross-document links? What about XML files that refer
to both HTML and PDF presentations? What about document trees that
consist of multiple chapters in a hierarchy with a common set of

More detail, please.

More input, please.

o use MIME types


o A specification may be composed of multiple documents. The entire
package may be uploaded or downloaded in a single operation.
Individual documents in the package may also be uploaded or

I don't understand what you mean here. Are you suggesting that I might
upload a package (as a ZIP file? as a MIME multi-part related stream?)
and then several days later upload a new version of one component in
that package. Having done so, what "version" does the package have?
Can I still download the original? Can I download the revised version?

Probably the package will just be an HTML file with links to all of the
components. In that case the package is updated by editing the links in
the package file. Each of the components are maintained by editing them
individually. Each component, as well as the package file, could have
its own version number or date, but the entire set would collectively
have to be versioned. Would this work?

o Support for chapters or parts of a multi-part document (with links
between parts); a package could have a ToC with links to the
individual files

I think any attempt to describe the size and shape of a package ("it
will have
a ToC and chapters" or "it will have a starting page and parts") will
problematic. Best just to accept that a multi-part document is a
graph (a web).

Would my description (above) of a package work for this? The TC can
decide how it wants to structure the multi-part spec.

o Support for modular DTDs (e.g. DocBook)

What does this requirement mean? Do you also mean modular W3C XML
Schemas and RELAX NG grammars? Does this requirement differ from the
preceding one in a particular way?

Pretty much the same, I think, but I'd be happy to hear other
requirements not met by the above.

o The entire package is addressable via a single URL, as are the
individual documents. The package URL will link to an HTML page
listing the package contents.

Is that an HTML page constructed by the author of the package, or
automatically from the content of the package? If it's the latter,
what constraints, if any, does that impose on the contents of the


o Check-in/out based on Kavi user authentication; different
permissions for public, TC members, chair/secretary, etc.

o TC members have ??? rights (TBD)

o TC Chair and Secretary have create, edit rights for folders and
checkin/out rights for documents in their respective TC area

o Admin has admin rights (create, checkin/out, delete of all folders
and files)

o Public has read rights for all documents

How does "admin" differ from chair/secretary?

"Admin" is the OASIS staff administrator of the dc mgmt system.

Kavi integration

o Kavi user acct/pswd used for authentication in doc mgmt system

o Notification to the Kavi group when a document is uploaded (same as
current Kavi notification)

o The current Kavi doc repository is disabled; links within Kavi will
go to this doc mgmt system instead (i.e. Kavi doc repository is
hidden, this one drops in to replace it).

o Docs currently in the Kavi repository will continue to be
addressable and viewable by their Kavi URL (allow for migration

This requirement and the previous requirement seem to be in conflict.
Can you explain how "the links within Kavi will go to this doc mgmt
system instead" supports the goal that "the Kavi repository will
continue to be addressable and viewable by their Kavi URL (allow for
migration over time)"?

Right now when you're in Kavi you can click on a link for "doc
repository" and it will take you to that page in Kavi. I'd like it to go
to the new doc mgmt system instead. But we should allow current docs in
the Kavi repository to stay where they're at until the TC wants to move
them, so these docs need to remain addressable by the current URLs.
We'll have to keep the Kavi search/browse accessible, but the default
would go to the new doc mgmt system.

o When new Kavi group (TC/SC) is created, a doc mgmt area for that
group and default folders are automatically created

This goes back to the question of defaults before. What hierarchy do
you have in mind, and what are your motivations for creating it? I
think it'll be easier in the long run to simply create an empty
hierarchy and let the TCs populate it.

If you have in mind that minutes should go in /minutes and press
clippings should go in /press, etc., then I think a detailed
description of the default hierarchy is required.

See above. Still TBD, but we need both consistency as well as

File naming (automation of this done in a later phase; just do this
manually at first?)

o Naming and versioning of documents follows OASIS file naming scheme

o When a new document is created it will be named according to the
scheme; automated helps to create/assign a name

This seems to duplicate the requirements expressed under "Persistent
URLs". Is it intended to be different? I believe my comments there
apply here as well.

Th eintent is to provide (eventually, maybe a bit later) a GUI to help
name new files conformant with the OASIS doc naming scheme. I envision
pull-downs to select each of the components of the name. But this will
probably be later; the file creator would have to manually name the file
for now.

Localizable interface, with localization to occur in a later phase

Later phase: Count/traffic report of downloads (how many people have
downloaded a particular doc?)

Other later phase items?

- Issue tracking?

Sounds like a separate tool. Yes, we need this. Suggestions?

- automatic generation of PDF/HTML from source formats?

Yeah, we could add this, but is there a need? Can't people do this

- validation?

Ditto. Can't you do this already?

But, yes, I see the utility of having validation on checkin, and
publishing, as part of a doc mgmt system.

- interactive forms (e.g., the ability to support an interface that
asks a number of questions and then builds an appropriate schema
customization layer)?

That's the sort of interface I had in mind for the file naming (above).
But I see this as a separate tool for later.

- Syndication of announcements
- An informal "journal" space (or blog, if you will) for TC members
to outline their thoughts and ideas?

Both of those are separate tools. Not sure how those would be part of a
doc mgmt system.

Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated.


Be seeing you,

P.S. I'm happy to report that your requirements document can be nicely
presented in an open format (plain text, in this case) instead of a
proprietary format. I hope that its greater accessibility in this
format (and the fact that it's six times smaller) can be used to
demonstrate once again the value of open standards.

(For even more thoughts on this topic, see

Karl F. Best
Vice President, OASIS
office +1 978.667.5115 x206 mobile +1 978.761.1648
karl.best@oasis-open.org http://www.oasis-open.org


Matthew MacKenzie
Senior Architect

Intelligent Documents Business Unit
Adobe Systems Canada Inc.
506 869.0949

Matthew MacKenzie
Senior Architect
Intelligent Documents Business Unit
Adobe Systems Canada Inc.
506 869.0949

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