Visual Source Safe and Distributed Teams

Monday, November 10, 2008 – 5:00 AM

One of the questions I got at the p&p Summit after my distributed agile development talk was, how do you use Microsoft Visual Source Safe (VSS) with distributed teams?

This is an issue because VSS was never written with distribution in mind. The VSS client connects directly to the database file which needs to be on an accessible network share. Doing this over a less than 100% reliable network eventually results in database corruption. Bad news, and doubly bad news when you’re talking about the database that contains all your source code!

Turns out there’s a fix…

SourceOffSite (SOS) is the tool you’re looking for. It provides a new client that looks just like the VSS client you know and love but connects to a server that handles all the interaction with your VSS database. For locally connected clients you can still use the original VSS client and tools but remote users connect with SOS.

I used this extensively when I worked for a company that had developers in Syracuse, Seattle, Austin and London. Prior to adoption SOS we had significant VSS database corruption issues. With SOS these were a thing of the past.

  1. 2 Responses to “Visual Source Safe and Distributed Teams”

  2. My company also uses SourceSafe and SourceOffSite. We are trying to go to TFS, but are waiting until we get out the next major release.

    Have you considered using SourceSafe over HTTP. I forget what they call it but it was added a couple years ago as an option.

    I’m not sure if you know about this and SourceOffSite is better or what. I’m not holding my breath waiting for TFS because it involves spending money, so I’m interested in your response…

    By Jeff LeBert on Nov 10, 2008

  3. Jeff,

    I’ll be completely honest. I didn’t know they’re added this feature to SourceSafe. I’ve not used it but I’d imagine it gives you similar functionality to VSS and SOS.

    TFS is a much more fully featured solution that’s designed to scale to much larger projects.


    By Ade Miller on Nov 10, 2008

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