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Source Control Basics

Visual Studio .NET 2003

The term source control describes a system in which a central piece of server software stores and tracks file versions and controls access to source-controlled files.

A typical source control system includes a source control provider and two or more source control clients.

A source control provider provides archiving, versioning, and control facilities for a dynamically defined set of files. For each file version, it uses reverse delta technology to store the difference between the file version and the version that precedes it. The source control provider also stores crucial information about the version: when it was created, when it was modified, and by whom.

To avoid conflicting file versions, a source control provider controls file access, enforcing a protocol by which users who want to modify a file must check out the file. If a file is checked out exclusively, only the user who checked it out can modify it. When the file is checked in, that file becomes the latest available version.

File checkouts, checkins, and other source control operations are accomplished through a source control client, such as Visual Studio. The client is designed to interact with the provider to make the provider's capabilities available to a distributed group of users. Using a source control client, users can browse the files stored by the provider; add and delete files; check files in and out, and retrieve copies of local files.

Note   This documentation assumes that you are using Visual SourceSafe as your source control provider. If you are using a different source control provider, you might see differences between this documentation and the software you are running. If you see differences, consult the documentation for your source control provider.

In This Section

Source Control Benefits
Explains why placing your assets under source control can be beneficial to your organization.
Adding Source Control File Extensions
Provides instructions on how to add the necessary file extensions to ensure that source control integration functions work correctly.
Setting Source Control Options
Explains how to define roles to work in varying development settings.
Changing Connections
Explains how to change the source control project folder that a local solution or project is connected to.
Excluding Files from Source Control
Explains how to exclude files that do not require source control services.
Changing Source Control Providers
Explains how to notify Visual Studio .NET that you have installed a different source control provider.

Related Sections

Adding Solutions and Projects to Source Control
Provides instructions on how to add solutions, projects, and FrontPage Web applications to source control.
Opening Solutions and Projects from Source Control
Provides instructions on how to open solutions, file share Web solutions, and projects from source control.
Managing Checkouts
Explains how to check out a file from source control so you can modify it.
Managing Checkins
Explains how to check a file into source control to make it available to other users.
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