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Articles → How to work with personal and collaborative documents

This article briefly describes the differences between Personal and Collaborative projects and documents in MagnetSVN and how to work with them to avoid editing conflicts.

Index

Personal and Collaborative Projects

Working with collaborative documents.

Changing document's Mode

Special Cases in editing collaborative documents

Personal and Collaborative Projects

MagnetSVN can be used as for local and personal as for remote and shared with other users documents. Local documents and their changes' history are usually stored on user's local computer in Personal projects. Such documents don't need any special action for their editing.
Remote and collaborative (shared with other users) documents and their history are usually stored on server in Collaborative projects. To avoid editing conflicts for such documents it is important to edit them in turns (not simultaneously). That is why the documents from collaborative projects open in read-only mode. You cannot save changes in the document with its current name or commit them until you get lock.
Read Only
Cannot Save

Working with collaborative documents.

Before working with collaborative document it is a good practice to update its working copy stored on your computer to its current version stored on server (Update document).

Update Button

Then press Begin Editing (Take lock in Subversion) button either on the MagnetSVN ribbon or in the sidebar's Document tab. This will let all the other users know that the document is currently in work and shouldn't be editing by anyone else. If anyone is already working with the document you will receive the warning message (see more in Special Cases part of this article. You can make as many commits as you need during the time you keep it for editing. After you've finished press End Editing button to release the document and enable other users making their changes.

Begin Editing and End Editing Buttons

Changing document's Mode

All the documents which belong to a particular project by default are in this project's mode, e.g. Personal Mode for local (Personal) projects and Collaborative Mode for remote and shared with others (Collaborative) ones. But you can change this for every single document if you are going to work with it differently. If you are going to share a local document between different users you can put it in Collaborative Mode to avoid simultaneous editing. And, similarly, if you are the only person who is going to work with a document from a Collaborative project you can change this document's mode to Personal. It is a good practice to set Collaborative Mode for every document that can be edited by two or more people. By default Microsoft Office will open such document as read-only. This will prevent a document from accidental modifications and you will not make useless changes anymore.
Ghange Document's Mode

Special Cases in editing collaborative documents

There are special cases when you work with Collaborative documents.
If you try to begin editing the document already taken by somebody else, you will receive a warning. You may choose whether to interrupt other's work and steal their lock or not.
Steal Lock
Stealing locks is not a good practice. Do it only if you are sure other user doesn't need it anymore. Otherwise ask you colleague to commit their changes and release lock for you.
After you've stolen the lock you may modify and commit the document while the previous lock owner may not.

Another case is when you need to release the document taken for editing by someone else without taking it by yourself. It can be done by pressing End Editing button and confirming that you want to break lock.
Break Lock

If you don't use locks, every concurrent edit will lead to conflict for Microsoft Office documents and you will have to choose using either your or other's changes only. By the way, if you get a modification conflict in Word documents you can merge them while resolving conflicts but it is rather complicated.

Remember that these rules don't guarantee you will never get a conflict. This is a communication mechanism aimed to decrease number of modification conflicts.

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