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I'm working in a technology startup which employs both 3D artists, programmers and content creators. We're searching for something to organize our projects, workflow and keep all our assets.

The two guidelines regarding what the software should do are:

  • Document and code versioning (but I might just use GIT for source code alongside such a software). We have several projects that need to be documented and their project files (and assets) have to be versioned as well. We have too many technologies and project files to list them all (.psd, .ai, .pdf, .max, etc.). Also multimedia assets (e.g. mp4 videos) or other hard-to-versionize-for-text-diffs things can be present.

  • Should keep a lock on files when someone is using them

We do have a server available.

Any suggestions on what we should use?

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I would suggest taking a look at Mercurial:

  • Open Sourced & Gratis
  • Cross Platform
  • Fast
  • Distributed VCS like git
  • User friendly compared to git in my personal opinion especially for users less familiar with version control systems.
  • GUIs available including TortoiseHg
  • Largefiles Extension enables handling things like media files via a server included from V2.0 on
  • ZipDoc Extension allows the content of zip archive formats, such as docx, my silently unzipping & managing the content on commit and rezipping on checkout. Not included by default
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I would advise you to store source code in Git (or another tool dedicated to source code) and manage your digital assets using real digital asset management (DAM) software like Alfresco or NemakiWare (both are free and open source).

DAM software will give you:

  • Lock a document so that only you can edit it (if you desire so).
  • Full-text search, including inside files with binary formats like .DOC or .PDF
  • Web interface with preview, thumbnails. Very useful to navigate and manage voluminous assets without having to actually download them.
  • Workflows: Define workflows with as many steps as you want, select each step's actors or have them selected automatically, make workflows start automatically upon content rules.
  • If you don't have infinite disk space for every minor version, define lifecycles so that the system knows what to keep and what to throw away.

Disclaimer: I wrote part of NemakiWare
Note: Modern source code versionning systems have a rebase feature which is like locking but better in the context of manually-edited text files (example for Git).

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