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Article Version Control

Have you ever updated an article in your knowledge base only to realize later that you accidentally removed an important paragraph? PHPKB Knowledge Base Software stores a version history of all your articles. This really helps you get protection from accidental changes to an article and roll back to one of the previous versions of an article whenever required.

Some knowledge base documents go through a number of revisions before they become the final document and it is often important to retain these different versions so as to ascertain the development of the final document. Since release 6.0, PHPKB provides the document versioning feature. Typically when you save a document in other software, e.g. in a word processor, the previous version is overwritten - unless you save it with a new name every time. In PHPKB Knowledge Base Software, all knowledgebase articles (documents) are versioned, meaning that whenever you save the document, it is automatically saved as a new version.

Document VersioningArticle versioning is enabled by default in all editions of PHPKB 6.0. It can be turned off/on for all articles from the 'Manage Settings' page of the admin control panel. It is advised to use article versioning to know what changes have been made to an article over time however it is entirely your choice if you'd like to use versioning or not.

A version has seven major attributes:

  1. Version Number: This keeps track of the order of versions. A higher number means a later version. Every time you save a new version it is signed a version number that is one decimal point higher than the previous version (e.g., a change from 1.1 to 1.2).
  2. Author: The person who modified the article/document to create a version is always recorded.
  3. Version Date: The date the version was created.
  4. Article Title: Each version will record the title the article had when that version was created.
  5. Article Content: Each version will also record the content the article had when that version was created.
  6. Meta Keywords: The meta keywords the article had when that version was created.
  7. Meta Description: The meta description the article had when that version was created.

Version Comparison

We are also planning to add basic support of knowing the difference between the revisions of an article so that you can easily compare current article version and one of the previous versions and rollback at any time.

Viewing a Document's History

A history of the various versions of an article/document in the knowledge base can always be viewed under the Revisions column of the 'Manage Articles' page. An example of such a Version History is provided in image below.

Document history showing version numbering, descriptions, and publication status.

Reverting to a Previous Version

It may happen that the latest version of the article is not the best version, for example if a wrong version was restored by mistake, or if it is decided that all recent changes should be undone. Or it may be that you need to republish an article with the details of a previously saved version. In such cases you can revert to a previous version.

To revert to a previous version

  • From the 'Manage Articles' page, click on the version count of an article under 'Revisions' column.
  • On the 'Article Revisions' page, click the 'Restore' link for the version to revert to (i.e. the version you now want as the latest version)
  • On the Edit Article page, make any changes (if required) and click on 'Update' button to confirm changes and restore the selected version.

Deleting Versions

Generally, you should not worry about deleting article versions, as there is usually enough room on the server for storing lots of versions of each article. For now, rather than risking deleting a version you later realise you did need, simply retain all versions. But if there is a version of a document that you feel it is important to delete, you can do so.

To delete a version, simple click on the 'Delete Icon' of the version to be deleted.

Benefits of Article Versioning

Versions of your articles will automatically be saved as you edit articles. This allows you to view past versions and revert to older versions if needed. If an article is edited it is automatically saved as a new version. The version control contributes to collaborative editing so many people can work together to create and refine a knowledge base entry. When you store a version of your article (document) using the versions feature, you can access previous versions/revisions, delete any of the revisions stored with your article.

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