The Future of Visual SourceSafe – Part II

You asked for screenshots of the next version of Visual SourceSafe.  I pleaded for the privilege to provide them. Here's your first installment:

Screenshot #1 - Resizable VSS Share Dialog Box

Dialog boxes in the next version of Visual SourceSafe will be a little more attractive and a lot more resizable.  For more information about planned feature additions and enhancements (big and small) for the next version of VSS, see The Future of Visual SourceSafe.  Stay tuned for more announcements and if you haven't done so in awhile, run Analyze on your favorite VSS database.

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Comments (30)
  1. Nice…and long overdue!

  2. Can you give us more details about the backend of the new VSS? will it run as a service? be sql based? The new UI is a HUGE improvement!

  3. Bug: Typo in "List files of type:", it says "fles" instead of "files"!


  4. Andreas Häber says:

    Hope you’re allowed to answer this:

    Will there be a shell namespace-extension for VSS vNext?

  5. Resizable is good. Actually, it’s pretty standard, but it’s a start. What else is VSS doing to catch up to the 1990’s?

  6. Please don’t tell me this is the best (or a good one at least) screenshot to show; it looks *really* standard to me…

    C’mon share some real dirt 😉

  7. Frans Bouma says:

    Not to nag, but isn’t this conceptually wrong:


    and then, you’ve added solutions (which is logical, VS.NET thinks in solutions). Now, why o why is the folder in VSS still called ‘project’ ? It isn’t a project! It’s a folder!

    Shouldn’t it be better if VSS uses the same terminology that does? You can’t load a project into without a solution, therefore ‘solution’ is a ‘bucket’ for files under sourcecontrol. VSS should offer that too, not the dreaded ‘projects’. A subfolder in my sources is seen as a subproject, which is not the case.

    This can then be expanded to allow different ‘views’ on the files under sourcecontrol: browse by solution (excludes files without a solution), browse by folder (shows raw folders with files) and perhaps other ways of grouping the files together. To me this is more logical and it is more logical to explain to developers who are new to sourcesafe: they see the SAME things in sourcesafe as they see in’s solution explorer OR they see in windows’ explorer.

  8. No, this isn’t the best screenshot I could have shown you. I figured I’d wait to see if I survived this small indiscretion before posting something sexier. My feature team is dreadfully anxious about "over-promising and under-delivering". Personally, I prefer to live on the wild side but that probably explains why I’m infinitely more wealthy than I am rich. 😉

    Frans, dude, I agree with you completely. The word ‘project’ is way overloaded*. I’ve been thinking about how and scheming to transition ‘project’ to ‘folder’ for the last year, or so. Alas, it’s a work in progress. If my feature team doesn’t exile me for leaking snapshots of their unreleased dialog boxes to the Web, they could very well do so for bugging them death about this confusing words-on-play. In the short term, all VSS-specific help topics that appear in the next version of Visual Studio will contain the fully qualified "VSS project folders" rather than "projects". In addition, as I continue to review and rework existing VSS Explorer and VSS Administrator topics, I am changing ‘project’ to ‘project folder’, whenever possible. If fate finds me in my current position for another year or two or if I am succeeded by a writer with half a brain and hearing in at least one ear, the word ‘project’ will probably disappear in the help files for the release after next of VSS. Probably.

    Obviously, I’m a lot more comfortable talking about future versions of the VSS help files than future features. I know that’s not as glamorous but if you have ideas like Frans’, please let me know. I aim to write.

    Thank you all for the constructive criticism. Keep it coming.

    *Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t Visual SourceSafe using the word ‘Project’ long before Visual Studio ever existed?

  9. doubter says:

    when microsoft starts using VSS for their own development – i’ll begin to believe in the product.

  10. Mike Dimmick says:

    doubter: someone claimed a while ago that the MFC and ATL teams use SourceSafe.

    Microsoft don’t use SourceSafe to manage Windows, but then very few products scale to that size of product (30 million lines was quoted recently, IIRC) and that number of concurrent users.

    Personally I’ve started using SourceGear Vault for my own development; I have a problem with any source control solution that requires a regular scan to fix corruption. The corruption shouldn’t happen, period.

  11. doubter says:

    to Mike Dimmick:

    neither MFC or ATL have what I would call "real world" problems to solve with VSS – face it until VSS does better branching and merging in a "modern" way it’s just not worth it.

    PS – look at SubVersion

  12. Munish Gupta says:

    It seems that MS uses their own home grown solution internally rather than SourceSafe which goes against their own principle of "dog-fooding". That also may explain rather slow pace of improvements in VSS.

    Read this:

    Having said that, inspite of all its shortcomings I must admit I like VSS over many other solutions that I have tried. So ANY enhancements are more than welcome 🙂

  13. Paul says:

    Personally, I’d like to see a marriage of VSS and Perforce features in one product. I like VSS’s sharing/linking and pinning mechanisms. But I also like P4’s concepts of ClientSpecs, Changelists, and keeping client state on the server (esp. for deleting files). Current verions of both products have interface issues, IMO.

  14. Don M says:


    The company I work for (and I’m sure many others) is in an awkward situation. We are using Source Safe and hitting its limits.

    We are trying to decide if we should go and buy a more robust SCM, or wait for the next version of VSS or go open source Perforce.

    The branching/sharing aspects of VSS simply do not meet our needs for managing concurrent versions of code or merging changes. I really think the whole idea needs to be readressed — the current implementation seems to be more of an afterthought.

    So, back to the point… will the new version of VSS have a new/modern approach to branch management, or is it just going to be making windows resizeable and the diff tool unicode compliant?

    (both of which I consider to be bug fixes and not features.)

    By the way, the last two companies I worked at were having the exact same problem with source safe. It just doesn’t work well for anything other than a hobby project. I’m sure you already know this. I’m going to stop venting now.


    (now trying to submit on, sorry if it dups.)

  15. Ken Brubaker says:

    Whidbey VSS Secrets?

  16. Chris leslie says:

    With the Microsoft open information policy (Whidbey/Longhorn etc), why is Microsoft avoiding the subject of the future Version of VSS.

    Let us know now, and maybe we won’t switch to something else. I have seen so many blog entries about people switching.

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, We need a list of features and timelines.

    Maybe you can’t/won’t because the next version still won’t meet enterprise development standards.

  17. Camillo Ferraris says:

    Should be possible (or is it possible already?) to connect to VSS server/db by TCPIP?

    (without paying more money than VSS cd)


  18. Kevin Greiner says:


    Yes, there is a free product by Arthur Nesterovsky that allow connecting over HTTP. And it’s quite a bit faster than the standard VSS communication since it uses compression.

    It can be a little difficult to install but you’ll be fine if you follow the instructions at the bottom of the page.

  19. Shannon Barber says:

    I know you just trying to share the upcoming improvements, but I hope to god I speak for the community at large when I say we don’t care about resizable dialogs.

    VSS doesn’t work. It’s not reliable, any other source tool had a better track record.

    It doesn’t have good merging so you can’t have parallel development like you can with cvs.

    It doesn’t have secure network access (encrypted via TCP/IP) like cvs does.

    It doesn’t have a ‘live-view’ like Clear Case does.

    It doesn’t handle binary files well like Subversion does.

    And it doesn’t hold a candle to a good product like Perforce.

    I feel bad for you working on such a disappointing product. Tell them we don’t give a rat’s @$$ about pretty dialogs. We need a source control tool. I don’t even care if it has a GUI.

  20. dhdiez says:

    Visual Source Safe has been working because many MS tools only integrate with VSS. Otherwise everybody inside a medium-large project would have used another versioning tool.

    Why doesn’t MS focus a little bit in that subject, stop doing that small VSS revisions 6a … 6d and make a VSS.NET with a solid project merging functionality

  21. Announcing Visual Studio 2005 Team System

  22. Korby Parnell writes:

    Microsoft’s New Source Code Control Application

    WoooHooo! I can finally…

  23. You asked for screenshots of the next version of Visual SourceSafe. I pleaded for the privilege to provide them. Here’s your first installment: Screenshot #1 – Resizable VSS Share Dialog Box Dialog boxes in the next version of Visual SourceSafe will b

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