Sharing TAN files

TAN files have been designed to be shared. Although individual TAN files are likely to be valuable on their own, even when removed from their context (e.g., via an email attachment), they may be critically crippled without their dependencies. As a result, TAN files are most likely to be distributed or published in groups, as collections.

One way to distribute a collection is by making it available as a repository via Git or some other version control software (VCS). This approach has many advantages. The files become available to whomever wants them, and the editorial history is preserved, so that a change one person makes to TAN files used by another need not necessarily be written in stone. VCS features and tools are extremely fast and useful.

Collections may also be distributed through shared syncing services (e.g., Drive, Box, or Dropbox). Or put on a server. In the latter case, it may be difficult for users to browse a collection. In that case, you may wish to expose the collection as a compressed ZIP archive. This saves on your own bandwidth, and it still exposes the files for XML processing. But a ZIP archive is not suitable for linking from one TAN file to another, nor is it appropriate as a <master-location>. Unpacking a compressed file requires writing to the disk, which is a security risk, and so is disallowed during validation. Such zipped archives are excellent ways to distribute collections, but they should not substitute for a primary repository.