Clarifying SourceSafe support on Vista

Amid all the furor over Whidbey SP1 and the forthcoming Vista GDR, there hasn't been any statement on what it all means for SourceSafe users.  Rest assured we have some official KB articles in the works.  But I think it's important to share this info with the community as soon as possible -- if anything I'm a few months late to the party -- so here goes.

Bad news first.  You cannot host the SourceSafe 2005 web service on Vista.  Unfortunately, this limitation is beyond our control.  Unlike previous versions of IIS, the one found in Vista does not include a WebDAV component.  The IIS 7.0 team only began work on this feature near the end of Vista's ship cycle, planning to target the 'Longhorn server' release instead. 

WebDAV is an extension to the HTTP protocol that allows you to treat a webserver like a remote store.  The VSS HTTP service uses the PUT method to upload files.  Rearchitecting that is way outside the scope of what we can do in servicing, regrettably.  All hope is not lost, though: it's possible that a 3rd-party DAV plugin could fill the gap, and/or that the LH Server pieces will find their way into a Vista service pack.  I'll keep you updated as we investigate these options.

Meanwhile, let's explore exactly what this news implies for users.

  • You can still host a VSS database on Vista.  The ordinary fileshare-based VSS protocol works fine.  In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are no workarounds, hotfixes, UAC hacks, or anything of the sort required; the setup steps are identical to XP or 2003, modulo some redesigned shell dialogs.
  • If your VSS database is on a Vista machine, you can still use HTTP!  You just need to put the HTTP service on a different box (or a VM).  Again, this scenario is 100% supported with no extra work.
  • The "official" best practices story has not changed.  It has never been recommended to host a VSS database on a client OS.  Even XP and 2000 Pro had some serious limitations in their implementation of IIS, most notably a 10-connection cap.  (In practice, of course, lots of people do it anyway.  After all, the main selling point for SourceSafe is getting small teams up & running instantly.)

I saved the good news for last.  We remain committed to supporting the VSS clients on Vista & all future client OSes, and likewise the VSS server pieces on server OSes, for the duration of their support lifecycle.  As you can see from the chart, VSS 6.0 has extended support thru 2008; VSS 2005 has mainstream support thru 2010 and extended thru 2015.  Like I said, I haven't come across any problems yet...if you find one, you only have about 9 years to report it, so don't delay ;)