What's New in Visual SourceSafe

The latest version of Visual SourceSafe has several new and enhanced features that simplify basic functionality and improve database reliability, performance, and access.

Enhanced Performance and Stability

In support of database performance, Visual SourceSafe has increased data storage to 4 GB, and has enlarged archive limits. The file retrieval operation is two times faster than in older versions.

Visual SourceSafe reduces the need to analyze, administer, and repair databases. It is compatible and interoperable with version 4.0, 5.0, and 6.0 databases.

Visual SourceSafe database format was not changed between Visual SourceSafe 6.0 and Visual SourceSafe 2005. There is no need for conversion tools.

Support for Larger Projects and Distributed Teams

Team efforts are becoming increasingly global cross time zones, domains, and even continents. Visual SourceSafe has changed in several ways to address the needs of global teams:

  • Regional Time Zones.   Visual SourceSafe now manages change histories adjusted to your local regional time zone while maintaining a separate audit log of changes synchronized to the server reference clock. Minimal configuration is required for existing databases.

  • Multiple Languages.   Dynamic updates are now available for any installed language compatible with the Windows code page.

  • Unicode.   In past versions, you could store Unicode files in a Visual SourceSafe database, but they were treated as binary files on which Visual SourceSafe could not perform database operations. Now Visual SourceSafe recognizes your Unicode files as text, which allows all supported editor programs to work with Unicode content.

Programming and Customization Support

Your programming team can take advantage of new automation and extensibility features to automate processes and extend the functionality of Visual SourceSafe. Developers can use events, such as OnBeforeCheckout or OnAfterCheckIn, to automate processes. Visual SourceSafe allows you to create custom tasks that retrieve and download source code files before building them with an automated build.

In support of your managed code projects, Visual SourceSafe has become fully extensible. Your team can create new Visual Basic or Visual C# functionality using the IVSS automation model and the .NET Programmable Interop Assemblies (PIA).

When you developed XML Web services created using ASP.NET with previous versions of Visual SourceSafe, all XML files, such as Web.config, *.wsdl, *.disco, and *.map files, were stored in a binary format. Thus only one developer at a time could modify or check out these files, limiting the possibilities for parallel development tasks. Also, Visual SourceSafe could not be used to compare or merge these files, because they were stored as binary. The latest version of Visual SourceSafe treats Unicode-encoded file content, including XML files, as text, allowing your developers to store, compare, and merge these files just like any other text files.

File Merge Improvements

In support of parallel operations, Visual SourceSafe features a new Copy-Modify-Merge workstyle for multiple checkouts from a database. Selectable upon database creation as an alternative to the traditional Lock-Modify-Unlock workstyle, this workstyle allows team members to share files while ensuring that no team member's changes will be lost or overwritten.

The merge engine for Visual SourceSafe has been reworked to accommodate multiple checkouts and simplify merge operations. You can now set merging at a database level, and then use the feature through dialog boxes with built-in Help. You can use a third-party editor program for merging if desired, or choose to use significantly improved internal mechanisms to view and reconcile file differences.

Updated Look for Client Programs

The traditional Visual SourceSafe Explorer and Visual SourceSafe Administrator user interfaces have been updated to provide menus and toolbars that are compatible with the user interface elements of Visual Studio or Microsoft Office. Other enhanced user interface elements include several wizards to help guide you through such database operations as archiving and restoring projects. A redesigned Add SourceSafe Database wizard significantly simplifies database creation.

Changes in the SourceSafe Plug-ins for Visual Studio

Remote Internet Access.   This release of Visual SourceSafe introduces a new SourceSafe Internet plug-in for Visual Studio source control. The plug-in and its associated Web service enable remote Internet access to Visual SourceSafe databases over HTTP or HTTPS. The SourceSafe Internet plug-in supports the basic operations of database open, database add, check-in, checkout, and get, but does not provide rename, delete, get by time or by label, history, labeling, or share/branch functions. This plug-in is particularly helpful when you need to access your Visual SourceSafe databases when you are on the road.

Improved LAN Access.   This release of Visual SourceSafe enhances the existing SourceSafe plug-in for Visual Studio. Now called the SourceSafe LAN plug-in, this source control package can either operate as it has in previous releases or optionally work with a LAN booster service that enhances performance. The functionality provided by the plug-in is basically the same, whether or not use the LAN booster.


For more about using the SourceSafe plug-ins, see Using Visual SourceSafe in Visual Studio.

See Also

Other Resources

Introducing Visual SourceSafe