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i'm electronic engineer and i have to handle a huge amount of datasheets from several electronic parts. Most of the datasheets have a dedicated revision number mentioned inside the document, so i name the document xyz_RevA.pdf or something like that.

The .pdf document is linked in several drawings and other documents after i use that part in production.

After some time, there's an datasheet update with important information, the datasheet is labeled as revision B and i can save the document as xyz_RevB.pdf. When someone is looking in the old documents and opens the link, revision A will be opened without the knowledge, that there's a new document.

I am not allowed to delete/overwrite old documents, because sometimes some important chapters falling out of the document in newer revisions.

Is there a software, which can handle some versions of my document totally inside, so i want to name the datasheet xyz.pdf and the software handles the revisions. Some kind of diff would be nice too, but i know this isn't really easy with binary data.

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  • I would guess that in the ideal world the link from the drawing would open the version that was linked from the drawing but with a visible flag if there are one or more later versions of the datasheet - ideally with a quick way to open the later version(s). Which OS(s) and what price range. – Steve Barnes Sep 1 '16 at 6:29
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    OS is an important point here. On Linux, my first idea would be using symbolic links – so first, xyz.pdf would point to xyz_RevA.pdf, and with the update point it to the newer version (always to the latest). People could still access the older documents by using their "real names" which, given a consistent naming scheme, would even be easy to guess. – Izzy Sep 1 '16 at 6:58
  • Most of the users have windows installed, however the server is based on linux. Maybe we should check the symbolic link solution with a simple UI for windows users. Price: a few hundred euro would be acceptable, if the software can handle my requirements. – Franz Forstmayr Sep 1 '16 at 9:38
  • Windows also has links, both hard and soft. – Mawg says reinstate Monica Mar 31 '17 at 7:57
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    "I am not allowed to delete/overwrite old documents" - but you can move them, right? Why not just move the old documents to somewhere that normal users cannot access, leaving only the newest version visible? – Mawg says reinstate Monica Mar 31 '17 at 7:59
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One possibility is to organise your pdf datasheets as follows:

datasheets/
    |- XYZ
    |   |- index.html
    |   |- XYZ_RevA.pdf
    |   |- XYZ_RevB.pdf

And in index.html have a description of the part, manufacturer, etc. followed by a table of the Revs that you have with each revision line containing a link to that actual document and possibly the release date, etc. - you will need to know some html/css formatting and link some java into your index.html but you can tag the lines for highlighting.

You can then reference, from your drawings, etc., the datasheets/XYZ/index.html?Rev=A and with your links will always open the browser with a list of available data sheets and with the actual version referenced highlighted.

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I'm finally posting the way i've implemented the solution for my problem. I ended up making a git repository, which i check in daily with a cronjob. So i save my datasheets like xyz.pdf and simply overwrite with a newer revision. The daily commit saves the changes. When i ran into a problem with an electronic part, i just use git log xyz.pdf and see all changes. Sometimes the git diff works nice, even in pdf data. With git i can open the old revision, if necessary. The links stay active and there's hardly an overhead when saving the files.

It's probably not the most beautiful solution, but it is robust and works!

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