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openoffice and svn

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Joined: 29 Oct 2005
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Location: berlin kreuzberg

PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 9:01 am    Post subject: openoffice and svn Reply with quote

as a preamble of this manifest: OpenOffice is a great tool to work with. thanks to all contributers.

this post is about how to use svn with openoffice documents or more precise with the underlying xml files directly. if you already know what I am talking about, you can scroll down to my questions. to avoid misunderstandings about what I want to do and what I already tried to achieve it, a lengthy explanatory part follows.

(this thread describes the same problem but it is much older then OO2.0 and ends without a definite solution. this might well be different today)

the problem I will present should be a standard one for many people working with office software, but regardless of intensive research I found no solotion so far:

the situation: In our project we are about five people working together on one single document, an EU proposal. Sending around constantly changing copies will inevitably end up in a mess of thousands of conflcting versions.

LaTeX and svn? If the proposal were a text file or even better a collection of text files (LaTeX!) there would be no problem: we could use svn to keep track of changes. svn would automatically integrate Mrs. A's changes in Mr. B's working copy without destroying B's own changes. Let alone the possibility of automated mails with detailed information about changes to all people interested in an specific document.

but the people I work with speak no LaTeX and there are no LaTeX stylefiles for the programm we want to apply to.

raw text and svn? Working with raw text files is highly insatisfying since there are tables and other non text structures. And again, my people are used to work with word and it will a problem to sell them the idea of using a normal text editor (no time for this, you know).

.odt files directly into svn? putting the .odt files produced by OpenOffice directly into svn would be of no much help since the automated incorporation of A's changes into B's document without destroying B's changes does not work with binary files as are .odt files.

.odt are zippe xml files: on closer examination .odt files are in fact collections of several plain text .xml files (open document format). These files are simply zipped into one single file.

using these xml files with svn? So we could zip and unzip these files whenever we use svn to update our working copy. put aside that this would mean more effort for my non computer people, it would not work: there are files in the collection which are changed every time the .odt document is changed: these files contain information about the owner of the document and its history. these files would always provoke a conflict recognized by svn, since this non content information is always placed at the same place in the file. (I tried this possibility and it in fact did not work)

windows 2003 xml and svn? for the same reason it does not work to save the file as 'windows 2003 xml'. additionally this format is produced by openoffice with just a few very long lines. unfortunately svn works linewise (by default? see my question below).

OpenBook xml and svn: the also offered 'OpenBook' xml does (!) work. There seem to be no edit history data and every paragraph and every cell is a line of its own. But this format has the disadvantage of beeing a bit too restrictive. the document looks ok, but not good and by far not good enough.

question 1: does anybody know how to convince svn better to work with any other "line separator" instead of the newline (a closing tag would be appropriate for xml)

question 2:does anybody know if it is possible to keep OpenOffice from zipping and unzipping its xml files and to work with the plain xml files instead? any kind of hack is welcome.

question 3:it is possible to write its own xml filter to output to any conceivable format. Is anybody aware of some import/export filter to the open document xml format open office is using directly? or to any other xml-format which keeps exactly the stylistic information for open office documents to look the same?

question 4: did anybody of you solve my (not very uncommon I guess) problem in this way or the other?
student fees? what the hell is this?
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Joined: 22 Nov 2005
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

-bump- I was wondering the same, and am hoping someone found a solution to this

(Other than the file->version system, which also works)
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