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Visual Studio 2005

Visual SourceSafe consists of server, client, and database components. The following figure reflects the architecture of a Visual SourceSafe network.

Visual SourceSafe Architecture Image

Visual SourceSafe Server

The Visual SourceSafe server software is responsible for managing databases and running server-side modules, for example, the LAN booster service optionally used by the SourceSafe LAN plug-in for Visual Studio. The current version of the server supports as many databases as your team needs, depending on the capacity of the server computer. For more information, see Requirements for Installing Visual SourceSafe.

To establish and maintain database security, a person designated as the database administrator should be responsible for your server. This person will primarily use the Visual SourceSafe Administrator program to configure the services required for user access to the team database(s), set up the database user list, assign sharing permissions and project rights, and maintain the databases.

Visual SourceSafe Database

Your database administrator can create a Visual SourceSafe database on the server computer or on a remote computer that communicates with the server. Alternatively, you can create your own database on a client computer for personal use. For more information about a typical Visual SourceSafe database, see Database Design.


Although the server supports multiple databases, you can only work with the files of one database at a time on the client computer.

Visual SourceSafe Clients

Visual SourceSafe clients can be any one of the installed programs, for example, Visual SourceSafe Explorer. Alternatively, a client might be a third-party application that integrates Visual SourceSafe functionality. A third type of client for Visual SourceSafe is an application that extends basic Visual SourceSafe functionality using the Visual SourceSafe automation interfaces.

Basic Installed Clients

The installed clients for Visual SourceSafe are Visual SourceSafe Explorer, Visual SourceSafe Administrator, the Visual SourceSafe command line utility SS, and the maintenance tools. Each installed client communicates with the database by direct file access. These clients are described in Client Programs and Tools.

Third-Party Clients

Visual SourceSafe functionality can be integrated into several third-party programs as a source control package. For example, two different Visual SourceSafe plug-ins are available in the Visual Studio IDE. Database access varies for these types of clients, depending on the method used for integrating Visual SourceSafe. For more information, see Using Visual SourceSafe with Other Products.

Clients that Extend Visual SourceSafe Functionality

Visual SourceSafe supports a set of automation interfaces that let you write your own applications, for example, a customized application that you use instead of Visual SourceSafe Explorer. A client of this type generally communicates with the database using direct file access. For more information, see Visual SourceSafe Automation.

See Also

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