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Microsoft SourceSafe 6.0 General Q & A


What exactly is Visual SourceSafe and why might someone want to use it?

Version control is a critical facet of team software and Web site development, preventing users from accidental file loss, allowing back-tracking to previous versions, branching, merging and the managing of releases. Visual SourceSafe provides this robust versioning and configuration management functionality along with security and audit trail capabilities.

Visual SourceSafe, simply put, is a source control system. Source control is highly desirable when developing software, web sites, or anywhere you may want to compare two versions of a file or return to a previous version. See the Visual SourceSafe Data Sheet for more information.

How do I license Visual SourceSafe for my team?

Each member of the team needs their own licensed copy of Visual SourceSafe. Team members can install their copy on either their client workstation or access their own copy from a server machine, as long as each end-user has their own individual licensed copy of Visual SourceSafe. If a team member uses multiple machines (for example, a team member that might work on a different machine from home) they may install their single licensed copy of Visual SourceSafe on more than one machine, provided that they are the only end-user for the particular copy of Visual SourceSafe.

There is no "server license" for Visual SourceSafe. Each team member only needs a licensed copy of the Visual SourceSafe client application. These applications access a shared database.

What are the Visual SourceSafe System Requirements?

Computer/Processor: PC with 486DX/66 MHz or higher processor; Pentium or higher processor recommended.

Memory: 16 MB RAM for Windows 95 or later (32 MB recommended); 24 MB for Windows NT 4.0 (32 MB recommended).

Hard Disk: Client: Typical Install: 59MB; Max. Install: 72 MB; During Installation: 66 MB

Server: Typical Install: 128 MB; Max. Install: 141 MB;

Additional hard disk space required for: Internet Explorer: 43 MB typical, 59 MB max; MSDN: 57 MB typical, 59 MB max

Drive: CD ROM Drive

Display: VGA or higher-resolution monitor; Super VGA recommended.

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 95 or later operating system or Microsoft Windows NT operating system version 4.0 with Service Pack 3 or later (Service Pack 3 included).

Peripheral/Miscellaneous: Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 Service Pack 1 (included).

Can I run Visual SourceSafe on the Macintosh or UNIX?

Both UNIX and Macintosh versions of Visual SourceSafe are available through Microsoft partners. MainSoft offers Visual SourceSafe for UNIX and Metrowerks offers a source code control product that is fully compatible with Visual SourceSafe for the Macintosh. In addition, DynamSoft SourceAnyWhere provides a Java client which can run on any platform where Java Virtual Machine can run.

How can I access Visual SourceSafe over the Internet?

Solutions exist from third-party software developers to enable access to Visual SourceSafe over the Internet, such as SourceGear SourceOffSite and DynamSoft SourceAnyWhere.

Which development and authoring tools will Visual SourceSafe work with today?

Microsoft Visual SourceSafe is an extremely flexible tool capable of managing virtually any type of file produced by any development, productivity, or authoring tool. Most development tools can integrate directly with Visual SourceSafe in the same way that Visual Studio does.

These products are often described as "SCC-compliant" or "SourceSafe compliant." This means that these products can integrate with Visual SourceSafe in the same way as Visual Studio, because they use the same interface (the Microsoft Source Code Control Interface.)

What new and enhanced features are included in Visual SourceSafe 6.0?

With Visual SourceSafe 6.0, files can be checked out up to 10 times faster using RAS, and up to twice as fast over a LAN. Visual SourceSafe 6.0's new Graphical Archiving Wizard makes it easy to safely back up infrequently used files. Year 2000 date formats are now supported in all reports and dialog boxes. Visual SourceSafe 6.0 now includes site maps, internal and external link checking and Web site deployment. Project Promotion Labeling can be used to designate changes in project status.

Can a network password be used to log onto Microsoft Visual SourceSafe 6.0 automatically?

Yes, the passwords are controlled by the SourceSafe Administrator and the utility allows for using network passwords to be used to log onto SourceSafe.

I understand that Microsoft Visual SourceSafe 6.0 integrates with several Microsoft development tools. Which tools are these and what advantage does this integration offer over use with other tools?

Visual SourceSafe 6.0c integrates with the Professional, Enterprise Developer, and Enterprise Architect versions of Visual Studio .NET, as well as Visual Basic 6.0, Visual C++ 6.0, Visual J++ 6.0, Visual InterDev 6.0, Visual FoxPro 6.0, Visual FoxPro 7.0, and the latest versions of Access and FrontPage. This means that if you use any of the products mentioned above in coordination with Visual SourceSafe, you will be able to access Visual SourceSafe functionality from within the menus of your development environment. And since this integration can be leveraged by third-party development tools vendors via OLE Automation Interfaces, you should look for this same level of integration in other tools as well.

How do I use Visual SourceSafe to manage my Web site?

Visual SourceSafe works with any file type including html, scripts, .gif, .jpg etc. Visual SourceSafe 6.0 provides Web features that enable you to check your Web page hyperlinks for bad links, publish your content to a live Web server, and even create Site Maps based on a collection of Web pages.

How does Visual SourceSafe support component reuse?

Visual SourceSafe contains a command called "Share," which allows multiple projects to "use" the same component. The benefit is that only one instance of the component exists, and changes made to the component automatically propagate to any other project that shares the component.

Does Visual SourceSafe support parallel development?

Visual SourceSafe provides the branching and merging features necessary to support parallel development. Drag and drop file sharing and branching makes it even easier to create parallel development environments.

Does Visual SourceSafe support any type of security system to protect my project contents?

Visual SourceSafe ships with a powerful administrative program that allows the user to customize access rights on a per project and user basis.

What are sharing, branching, and merging in Microsoft Visual SourceSafe?

Sharing is a unique feature of SourceSafe that allows you to access the same file from multiple projects. This feature is very beneficial for users who have several different projects that share common components.

All actions that take place on the file can be viewed from all projects the file is currently in. Therefore, a change made in one project will be reflected in all projects.

Branching, takes a shared file and "separates" it or breaks the link with it and the other projects it currently is in. At this point, changes made to the file will not be reflected in the other file(s). This feature is often used when there is a need for specializing a common file, often for language differences or customizing an application.

The Merge command allows you to merge any changes between separated files. This is often useful when a fix made to a branched file needs to be updated with the original project(s).

For additional information, please see the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

Q132923 - Sharing SourceSafe Projects
Q132971 - Merging SourceSafe Files
Q132922 - Sharing SourceSafe Files
Q132921 - Branching or Separating SourceSafe Files and Projects

Can I use OLE Automation to bundle up Microsoft Visual SourceSafe 6.0 in a custom application for distribution?

Yes, OLE Automation gives developers an excellent way to customize the way they use Microsoft Visual SourceSafe. However, this does not mean the Visual SourceSafe components are freely distributable. A developer using this new customized application will require a licensed copy of Microsoft Visual SourceSafe 6.0.

Can a network password be used to log onto Microsoft Visual SourceSafe 6.0 automatically?

Yes, the passwords are controlled by the SourceSafe Administrator and the utility allows for using network passwords to be used to log onto SourceSafe.


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