Visual SourceSafe

Microsoft's Version Control System offering

  • acquired creating-company in 1994

< Safe>



  • [never]( Safe#In-house_use) used much within Microsoft

  • designed to be used over LAN; people working offsite need to access via VPN, which is slow and complicated

  • some risk of repository corruption

    • Michael Bolton (2003): Many problems in Source Safe are described as "database corruption" in the Microsoft Developer Network Library. However, these are not all cases of corruption (which I would define as a good database gone bad); instead, my belief is that Source Safe fails to track the data properly from the outset.

    • [should]( Safe#Overview) be much better under VSS-2005 client-server mode.

      • though that version still [has]( Safe_2005_Internet_Provider) issues

      • Richard Donner notes (2009) It sat at version 6.0 from around the late 90s until 2005 (with a few service packs along the way.) Visual Source Safe 2005 then arrived, which fixed some of its limitations but without making fundamental changes. So you can still get Source Safe today and it will have most of the problems and limitations described in the articles above.

  • MsWindows-only, though some partners offer non-Windows versions

    • [There's]( Safe) a Unix implementation by Mainsoft, which I've charitably heard described as "a disaster". (Its locking scheme is incompatible with the Windows version, for example.)
  • Jeff Atwood says it encourages bad developer behavior: avoid branching, exclusive locks, easy permanent deletions.

  • Eric Sink [gives]( Safe_to_Vault.html) (in 2003) reasons to switch to his Vault offering.

  • with Microsoft pushing larger teams towards its newer Team Foundation Server, some fear VisualSource Safe will get even less updating in the future, and may even be discontinued.

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