Painless document sharing/collaboration with change control

We’ve offered the ISS Subversion Service for some time now, allowing groups of people to share and collaborate on groups of files whilst maintaining full change control. The only downside to this service is that it generally requires the users to have at least some idea of the concepts behind version control systems.

I’ve recently discovered an interesting open-source software project called SparkleShare which provides the same functionality to groups of people working on the same set of files but manages the change control work in the background, using a client similar to the Dropbox client. Changes to files get automatically committed into the repository and synced to all users. The SparkleShare client is available for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux and uses a git repository as the backend store. As git is available on “aldred”, our Linux public time sharing server, you can use an ISS Unix account as a git repository for a group using SparkleShare.

After installing the client, simply paste the contents of the key file in your SparkleShare main folder into your Unix ‘.ssh/authorized_keys’ file. Then create a new git repository in your Unix home directory (eg: git init --bare ~/myfirstrepo) and then in the SparkleShare client add a new project with address ssh:// and remote path ~/myfirstrepo. Done!

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