Team Authoring. Remote and Offline

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Team Authoring. Remote and Offline

Unread postby Dale Aceron » Mon Apr 01, 2019 11:07 pm

We have H&M7 Pro and was wondering how to set it up so that Writer 1 can be working in our office, and Writer 2 is working remotely, BUT, since connection is weak where they are, how do they download a copy of the project file, make some changes, and then upload after a day or when their section is complete?

Thanks in advance!
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Dale Aceron
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Re: Team Authoring. Remote and Offline

Unread postby Tim Green » Tue Apr 02, 2019 1:22 pm

Hi Dale,

Trying to work on copies of projects back and forth isn't a good idea; it will go badly wrong quickly. The only way to do this efficiently and reliably is via version control:

If you wish to do multi-user editing remotely and offline (users in different locations, also needing to edit without a network connection), or if your network is too slow for acceptable performance when working on projects in the network directly, you need to store a copy of your project in a Subversion (SVN) or Team Foundation Server (TFS) version control system, which is actively supported by Help & Manual Pro and Server editions. Then each user works on a linked copy of the project on their own computers, which they synchronize via the SVN or TFS server. This provides all the advantages of direct remote editing, but each author is still working on their own local (but linked) copy rather than directly via an Internet connection.

Note that the remote authors will need their own copies of Help & Manual Professional on their own computers to do this, because the server version is for LAN only. Alternatively they could be using the server version on the LAN in their own office but working on a shared SVN project with that.

If you have not already deployed TFS in your company we strongly recommend using SVN rather than TFS. SVN is more flexible, easier to manage and configure and interfaces better with tools like Help & Manual. It is an open-source system and all the components you need for it are completely free.

Working with a version control system gives you the advantage that your remote authors can work on their projects offline. They only need to connect to the copy on your server to synchronize their work with the master copy. Before starting work they open the project and select "Synchronize SVN/TFS" in the Help & Manual toolbar to update their local copy with any new changes that other authors have made in the meantime. Then when they have finished their session they select Synchronize SVN/TFS again to merge their own changes with your master copy.

This works even if two people have worked on the same topics. If they have edited different parts of the topics the changes are just merged silently, because there are no conflicts. If they have both edited the same text you get a dialog asking you which versions of each change you want to keep ("mine" or "theirs"). Agreements between team members on which topics to work on can keep these conflicts to a minimum.

Once you have stored your project in your version control repository, which can also be made available online, each author downloads a local working copy of the project from the repository. This working copy is what they edit, but it remains linked to the "master" copy in the repository. Only changes need to be transferred in either direction, which means that once each author has their own local copy of the project only very small amounts of data need to be transferred when they synchronize their work with the master copy. This makes the solution extremely efficient and also very robust -- you have none of the data integrity and speed nightmares involved in live editing via an open connection.

For information on setting up and using Help & Manual with version control systems please see this chapter in the HM help: ... ed_vcs.htm
Tim (EC Software Documentation & User Support)

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Re: Team Authoring. Remote and Offline

Unread postby Dale Aceron » Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:17 pm

Thanks so much for the help! I will look into that!
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