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Visual SourceSafe

This material on VSS is an archive from fall 1998, about two decades ago. First I changed jobs so I no longer had any association with VSS. Then after a couple more years I changed careers completely so I wasn't associated with high tech at all. Then after even more years I retired altogether. I've left the VSS material on this site for use by others, even though I no longer remember exactly what it's about, or even understand some of it.

VSS continues to be used and to provide integration with other products, even though the VSS software product itself has been retired. Almost all VSS consulting services have disappeared. Microsoft Mainstream Support is no longer available for any version of VSS. And the end is near even for Microsoft Extended Support for VSS2005. As a result, roll your own support may become more important, and the experience with VSS related by these pages may turn out to be quite useful to some despite its great age.

This material reflects experience with VSS5. The user interfaces and the feature set in VSS6 were virtually identical, so almost all of this material continued to apply for several years. But I never had any detailed knowledge of the user interfaces or feature set of VSS2005, and so simply assumed most parts of this material still applied.

Microsoft's Visual SourceSafe product, which was included in their Enterprise Developer bundle when this was written, is source control software. It's inexpensive compared to some of its competitors, it has a real nice GUI, it's very Windows-like, and can be tightly integrated with other Microsoft development tools.

Back when I was using VSS, my experiences included:

If you wanted a one-liner (sounds clever and has a grain of truth, but is vastly over-simplified) about VSS, you could say that it's "great for developers, not so great for administrators". Another one-liner about VSS is it's "a piece of 80/20 software, it works for 80% of the customers with only 20% of the features".

A source of additional VSS training, VSS-related utilities, and VSS training was Case Extensions.

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