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SEWcreative
May 4, 2010, 03:15 PM
Hey all!

First time here (and new to servers in general) and I come with a pretty hefty question (I've been to the Mac store, spoken with their business IT professionals, etc. and still have yet to receive an answer), with hopes that someone on here will have a solution!

I work at a small boutique creative marketing agency and am looking for an efficient way for document collaboration. There are 6 of us, all on macs (2009 Macbook Pros), and we'd like to integrate some form of server into our daily workflow.

What is most important is that we can access a single file from multiple locations and be able to edit it and save it in its native form (ie: edit a Word document in .doc form and save it as .doc back on the server). We are currently using GoogleDocs which we hate in that once we need to transfer it to a better editing/presenting platform (.doc) a lot of the formatting is lost.

We'd also need the permissions to allow someone to check in/check out the document. Or at least allow one person to open the file on the server and have it only be able to be accessed as "View Only" or "Read Only" by others when another user is editing it. I know this takes place on many other server types but according to the Business Solution folks at Apple, this does not happen on Mac OS X server. They said that multiple people can open the same document on the server and edit it at the same time (which leads to problems in that overwriting/loss of information can occur...two people editing at the same time and then saving with different edits...only the last saved version will be saved)

Options I've looked into:
MS Document Collaboration w/ Sharepoint
-Sharepoint currently doesn't work with Mac (supposedly it will with MS Office 2010)
-Can we run a Sharepoint server from a Mac Mini w/ OS X server?

Final Cut Server (don't know much about this)

Ideally we'd like to run a Mac Mini with OS X Server and be able to benefit from the it's other advantages in addition to document collaboration...but that's our main sticky point at the moment.

Any information/direction would be tremendously appreciated.

We'd be running this through an Airport Extreme for wireless access.

Thanks!

-Steve



hakuryuu
May 4, 2010, 04:45 PM
You can use the Wiki server to allow users to upload a version of a document and then as newer versions are uploaded assign version numbers to each one. I've not tried this yet but this is part of why apple included the wiki server. I have seen others use wiki servers for project collaboration before, but nothing really approaches Sharepoint. However look at the cost of sharepoint vs a Mac Mini server.

SEWcreative
May 4, 2010, 05:52 PM
Hey hakuryuu,

We'd like to get rid of versions all together. We'd like one version of a document which exists on the server, so that when a user opens it, it becomes "Read Only" for all other users until it is saved/closed by the initial user. In order for other users to make edits, they would have to reopen/open the document when it has "Read/Write" permissions...in that, it is not opened by another user.

hakuryuu
May 4, 2010, 06:29 PM
hmm, i'll play with my server to see what happens with uploads.

edit: Yeah no luck on check-in/out features as I see it.

My company uses central desktop (http://www.centraldesktop.com) for pretty much everything you are looking for I believe.

A quick search shows http://www.activecollab.com/forums/topic/5576/

Cameron Nabeel
Feb 3, 2011, 01:29 PM
HI there, though it seems you have a small business set up, but if you want to collaborate a particular document with other people/employees, if you want to make control on the visibility on the documents, if you want to track complete record of who saw which document and who made what changes, and if you want a highly secure environment, then you must consider having a
"Globalkap Document Collaborations Software". Three are a lot of other benefits of such software as well depending upon your needs. Find out more at www.globalkap.com

belvdr
Feb 3, 2011, 01:46 PM
Why not just run a file share and simplify it? When someone attempts to open a document that someone else already has open, Office (assuming you are using MS Office) warns them that it is open.

MattInOz
Feb 3, 2011, 04:45 PM
To me it sounds like a job webDAV was designed to handle.
It might be a matter of finding a decent client to hook up to the a xServe hosted webDAV share to allow easier access to all the goodness.

Does Adobe still include their take on webDAV with Creative suite?
Adobe Bridge, although it ties you in to using there products but I figure with your company description that you'd have a few copies of that lying around already.

assembled
Feb 3, 2011, 06:55 PM
Hey hakuryuu,

We'd like to get rid of versions all together. We'd like one version of a document which exists on the server, so that when a user opens it, it becomes "Read Only" for all other users until it is saved/closed by the initial user. In order for other users to make edits, they would have to reopen/open the document when it has "Read/Write" permissions...in that, it is not opened by another user.

if you just want it to be read only, then just keep them on a file server, the server "see's" that the file is already open, and creates a "lock" that prevents somebody else from writing to it. At this level you could use a mac mini server. The next level up means moving to a source control system which unless you were to go down the open source route you're instantly into high 4 figures.

Apple "genius bars" really don't know much about business computing, and they are limited to Apple products, I'd suggest that you spoke with companies that provide IT services to larger agencies. I'd also suggest that although you have an idea of how you want it to work, you try to describe what you want to achieve as they may well have an alternative idea that uses a different workflow than the one you thinking of.

cookieme
Feb 4, 2011, 07:31 AM
Hi Steve,

You should take a look at Zimbra Collaboration Suite (zimbra.com)! I think that this would be an excellent solution for your needs. In short it will provide an email server (don't know if you are using Google Mail or already have an email server), it will allow you to share and edit documents, calender sharing, PUSH to iPhones, excellent Mac integration with Mail.app, iCal etc. It even offers a Web Client that you can access with say Safari or any other browser, so that you don't need to use an other applications.

If you're interested maybe I could help you out ;)

calimedic911
Feb 12, 2011, 07:56 AM
Zimbra looks promising. however another option is to go with MS small business server 2011 (or even 2008) it has sharepoint, exchange and all that other stuff. it is compatible with office 2011 for mac, you can set up a webdav server on it for dev stuff. you get all of the enterprise level applications and features without the huge cost.
if you want, shoot me an email off list and I can assist with more info.

Sean

ps. I am not a MS fanboy. just recognize the need for something other than open source when it is called for.

cookieme
Feb 12, 2011, 08:15 AM
ps. I am not a MS fanboy. just recognize the need for something other than open source when it is called for.

Zimbra might be open source, but they offer a paid version also (i.e. Network Edition). Oh and by the way the NE version is free for 10 users which would be perfect for the OP.

Maybe you should have a closer look at Zimbra and you'll see that it open source is a good thing ;)

kingdonk
Feb 12, 2011, 11:28 PM
Am i wrong in thinking that MS Office 2011 does this with document connection, it has check-in and check-out options?

neko girl
Feb 12, 2011, 11:32 PM
What about a source control solution, instead?
http://developer.apple.com/internet/opensource/cvsoverview.html

funkahdafi
Feb 13, 2011, 05:34 PM
all you need is this: www.box.net. it's perfect and does all you need without the hassle of maintaining your own server.

i deployed it in my own small business and i wouln't be able to look back.

mainstay
Feb 15, 2011, 11:34 AM
that box.net looks like a solution for a customer of mine that just asked after this sort of thing... thanks for the lead!

I was also reading this post and thinking Dropbox (don't groan) as it works fantastic for small groups collaborating.

Plus:

If two people both open and edit a file in a shared folder at the same time, Dropbox will save both of their changes, but in separate files. It does not try to automatically combine or merge changes. Read our help article on conflicting changes to learn more about how this works.

funkahdafi
Feb 15, 2011, 11:42 AM
that box.net looks like a solution for a customer of mine that just asked after this sort of thing... thanks for the lead!

I was also reading this post and thinking Dropbox (don't groan) as it works fantastic for small groups collaborating.

Plus:

If two people both open and edit a file in a shared folder at the same time, Dropbox will save both of their changes, but in separate files. It does not try to automatically combine or merge changes. Read our help article on conflicting changes to learn more about how this works.

Yes, Dropbox is very good indeed. But it's just file sharing / syncing, not real collaboration.

Think of box.net as Dropbox on steroids. They do the same thing as Dropbox (although their sync client for Mac is not yet released), but they add a feature rich web interface that surrounds your documents. You can add comments (like on facebook), you can have separate discussions (like a forum), you can assign tasks, you get an updates stream (like facebook), and tons more.

Plus, it does integrate very nicely with a lot of other web apps like Google Apps (mail, calendar etc.), Salesforce and many more.

Also, you should consider that when using Dropbox, Dropbox does not really have any check in/out feature, so files are not being locked when someone else is editing the file. In the worst case two people are editing the same file at the same time and you'll end up with a sync conflict. Box.net takes good care about this and actually prevents something from this from happening.

Dropbox is good for a single user who syncs stuff across multiple computers.

Box.net is a true multi-user collaboration platform in terms of document management.

H.isidorius
Feb 16, 2011, 04:13 PM
Hey all!

What is most important is that we can access a single file from multiple locations and be able to edit it and save it in its native form (ie: edit a Word document in .doc form and save it as .doc back on the server). We are currently using GoogleDocs which we hate in that once we need to transfer it to a better editing/presenting platform (.doc) a lot of the formatting is lost.
-Steve

Microsoft has a solution which exactly offers this kind of functionality. It was originally called Groove (latest release was 2007). I understood it is nowadays called Sharepoint Workspace 2010. However, i doubt it will run natively on a Mac, you probably need Office for Windows and hence something like Parallels.

Have a look here... (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint-workspace/sharepoint-workspace-2010-features-and-benefits-HA101807659.aspx)