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Re:2 things i like in to see in Writer

Posted by: Anonymous Coward on June 24, 2005 07:04 AM

I'm not the grandparent but I think you misunderstand. It's not DRM. He's referring to a simple shared editing facility that MSWord has.

When several people are working on the same document in a shared folder MSWord will allow the first person to access it to edit as usual.

Subsequent people attempting to edit the document get a readonly copy and put in a queue. When the the first person stops editing (closes the file) the next person in the queue gets notified, given the updated copy and given read-write access.

MSWord implements this by having a temporary work file saved in the same folder as the document being worked on. The queued MSWord instances appear to poll this file to see when editing is complete and move to the next person in the queue. The ownership of the temporary file can be used to identify the editor of the document. It can also cause document lockout if MSWord dies unexpectedly leaving the temporary file undeleted, the reason why I know about it.

I've no idea whether Writer does anything similar. It is a useful facility in an office where several people may be simultaneously updating the same document, though perhaps it could be better implemented. In MSWord queued editors are not notified of the identity of the active editor and there is no mechanism for override or true shared editing, at least in the versions of MSWord I've seen. I think the reason MSWord did it this way was to avoid the "multiple inconsistent copies of the one document bouncing around in email" syndrome.

One way to do shared editing would be for the queued editors to be optionally given read/write access to a copy of the document with the different copies being automatically 3-way merged when each editor completes. Typically different editors will be working in different sections of the one document so merging could be relatively painless. This would be very convenient in a group setting. I'm sure you could think of other ways of organising simultaneous editing.


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