>Why not just use a groupware tool like <tool name> to
To be honest with you, I have not looked at <tool name> for that purpose
as I don't believe any tool designed for some other purpose would have
the required capabilities. If it actually does work for this, please
let me know and I will look closer at it.
First, when you open an Excel spreadsheet and do any action within the
spreadsheet (even move the cursor one cell), the user will be provided
the opportunity to save the spreadsheet when you close it. (Excel is
trying to store the environment so it can restore it when the tool opens
the file again.) It is that easy to accidentally alter the date stamp.
Will a groupware tool identify two files as equal if the date stamp is
altered? I doubt it, that is how a general groupware tool would attempt
to identify two files that are different which happen to have the same
name. (Another example, when a spreadsheet is printed, the spreadsheet
changes to reflect the settings and identification of the last printer
that it was printed on - you don't even have to move the cursor to
change a spreadsheet.)
Second, if two people create the identical same spreadsheet, a groupware
tool has no way to identify they are identical.
Third, it is possible to modify a spreadsheet in an insignificant way,
save the spreadsheet and alter the size of the spreadsheet (along with
the date stamp). Will a groupware tool identify two files are equal if
the the file size is different?
Forth, if a file is renamed why would you not want to still consider it
equal. Again, a general groupware tool would consider the renamed file
to be a different file.
Fifth, even if you the groupware tool had the capability to compare two
files and see that they really match, there would be problems. The
internal file structure of Excel includes some defined random bytes, so
they never will match at those positions. Also, it is a non-trivial
problem to list which files are identical when the files have been
spread across a network.
Sixth, Abater for Excel is designed to identify files which are similiar
in certain respects, but not exact in others. For example, a
spreadsheet which contains monthly sales statistics would change every
month in the dates and quantities, but would maintain the same formulas,
formats and occupied cells. No groupware tool is going to be designed
to identify similar (but not identical) spreadsheets.
Is that enough reasons or shall I continue?
Thanks for the question. If I can answer any others, let me know.