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I'm working on a writing project with a friend, and we're looking for some kind of (preferably cloud-based) project management and version control software so each of us can see how far the other has gotten on tasks and can review each others' documents. Does anything like that exist? I would prefer free, but will pay for software that meets my needs exactly (I've got a free solution I don't like at the moment).

Edit: To be clearer, I'm looking for something where I can, say, assign a task to myself or my partner, set a due date, and keep tabs on the progress, with files being uploaded into the system upon completion of the task, to be kept in version control so if we make an edit we don't like we can roll back. We're doing a lot of world documentation, character references, and other non-chapter files we'll be working with frequently.

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Until your edit, I was fairly sure Google Docs fit your bill. Share documents, there is a built-in version control with ability to rollback, edit collectively etc. But software for assigning tasks, watching due dates etc? Well, most people set a document within the system aside and keep tabs in it, just writing everything down and it should be a plenty for 2-person team. But if you want a dedicated system... –  SF. Jan 23 '13 at 3:31
    
@SF Yeah, we're both programmers by day and want something like we're used to using at work to keep organized. –  Yamikuronue Jan 23 '13 at 10:21
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You're spoiled ;) –  SF. Jan 23 '13 at 15:28
    
A combination of Trello for management of project units and Google Docs for sharing and collaborating might be a good choice. (Trello lets you assign due dates, and Google Docs lets you upload and share Word files.) While in-line changes and notations under Word's Track Changes feature aren't visible when viewing a file online, a file shared via Google Drive will keep that data intact as long as the file format is kept as Word. –  Neil Fein Feb 4 '13 at 6:27
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@MonicaCellio - I think this isn't a dupe. The target question is more about communities, this one is about tools for small teams. I've edited the title to make this clearer. –  Neil Fein Feb 28 '13 at 16:51

8 Answers 8

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I use git for version control, and it's terrific for writing projects.

I've used GitHub to share work in progress while collaborating with a friend. We wrote plain text files in markdown format.

GitHub also has an Issues tracker that can easily be used to assign, accept, and track individual tasks. My friend and I didn't need that to collaborate, but I've used it for some of my open source software projects, and it can easily adapt to a writing project.

There is a small fee to use GitHub for private projects. Perhaps there are other open source hosting sites that offer free private projects or lower fees, and support other version control systems. BitBucket, for example, offers a free account with private projects and support for git and mercurial. I don't know whether they have a built-in issues tracker. You could always use a hosting site for versioning and sharing, and something like PivotalTracker for managing the work.

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Hackpad is nice. CGScholar can be interesting to look at. I bookmarked a few others as well, maybe worth checking out.

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Could you say more about the tools you're recommending? Why are they good? How do they address the problem described in this question? We're looking for answers that answer the question rather than just links. Thanks. –  Monica Cellio Jan 7 at 18:03

Check out booktype. You can read the review on forbes.com.

Booktype, according to the article, is an open source software designed for the purpose of collaborative book writing with features like native formatting, social capabilities (you can interact with other collaborators including chat for real time conversation) and other cool features.

Even though this is not as mature as version control systems used in software development, I think this is very promising.

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For me, as somebody said already, simple text files with markup languages (AKA Latex) with Github or Bitbucket is the best option not only because it will allow you to share your work with the people you need (editors and co-authors) but also because it will help you to safely backup your files and control every change.

Btw, both - Github and Bitbucket - are free for personal using. The second one allows private repositories

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I would recommend giving Google Docs a try. It's free, and allows each of you to see eachothers changes as they happen in realtime.

Quite useful. Allows commenting and reviewing too, and there's inbuilt revision control so that you can go back and see who did what, and when.

Using version control systems might be too complex. I suggest this simplified solution.

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Already suggested twice (in a comment and in an answer), and it doesn't fit all my criteria. I do use google docs regularly, but I'm looking for an integrated project management solution –  Yamikuronue May 4 '13 at 2:20
    
One of the times was in a comment, the other was badly linked and referred to "Google Drive". I thought I would just approve upon that. I apologize if it wasn't relevant. –  Mathias Lykkegaard Lorenzen May 4 '13 at 2:23

If you don't mind minimal manual labor, use DropBox. It's free, very user friendly, and you can use spreadsheets or just make new folders for version control. We do the same thing for collaborative story telling with 4 users across 3 countries and haven't had any issues yet. If more than one user edits the same document at the same time, it will even make separate copies so there's no risk of overwrite.

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You may try a google drive shared folder, which can contain both text, which you can co-edit, even simultaneously, and other genre files. And for tasks you can use a spreadsheet with the discussion system...

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If you are programmers, then why not use the same tools you use in your day job?

Trello may meet your needs.

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Because our company uses an enterprisey system we can't afford. Trello looks significantly more polished than the previous tools I'd looked at, though, so that might be worth experimenting with :D –  Yamikuronue Jan 23 '13 at 12:36

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