The [new] Future of Visual SourceSafe

With the recent announcement that Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team System (VSTS) will include a brand spankin’ new source control system, many customers down here at TechEd have been asking me how or if this announcement affects the future of Visual SourceSafe.

Will there be a new SourceSafe? Yes.
Will it be better than previous versions of SourceSafe? Oh yeah.
Will VSS be mothballed after _VSTS is released in 2005? Unknown.

[VSS Roadmap by Mike Pietraszak and Beny Rubinstein] “Microsoft is updating the version control technology of Visual SourceSafe. A new product release with a continued focus on version control, Visual SourceSafe 2005, will update and improve this popular system. For individual developers or small teams who need a lightweight, client-only, file server application for source code control only, Microsoft will continue to enhance and support Visual SourceSafe. We will ship Visual SourceSafe 2005, which will include enhancements such as remote web access over HTTP, LAN performance booster, Unicode and XML support, and regional time zones and languages.”

My Two Cents about VSS*
Since 1996, VSS has been one of, if not the most popular version control programs for software developers and other creative professionals. As such, it has many competitors and detractors. I have never endeavored to respond to these criticisms in my blog or elsewhere because frankly, that’s not my job and that's not my style.

While it’s true that VSS isn’t perfect--it doesn’t scale to the needs of the Windows development team, for example—day after day, it gets the job done for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of users and small teams. SourceSafe is feature rich, highly refined, extensible, has a great price point, is well-supported by a dedicated and knowledgeable Microsoft team, integrates cleanly into Visual Studio .NET and continues to be improved by some of Microsoft’s sharpest and most worthy developers.

For small teams of tightly integrated software developers, VSS is and will remain the most sensible choice for use as a standalone version control application. For larger teams and those who require integrated work item tracking and other software configuration management features, we've got a shiny, new Team Foundation server that we think you (AND the Microsoft Windows development team) will be using for many years to come.

Customer Perspectives (that seem balanced to me)
[Klaus Probst]“Finally! Wooo! Microsoft has written what looks like a decent client/server source code control tool, which will ship with Whidbey. Not that I had anything against VSS — it's always been maligned by people who are completely clueless as to what it can and cannot do [Boo-hoo, my 61.7GB VSS database with binary files just corrupted! What? No, I never ran Analize on it. Boo-hoo, VSS sux], but this is a Very Good Thing. Boy, I hope it has an API. That's the one thing I could never get over with VSS.”

[Forever Geek] “Don't get me wrong, Visual SourceSafe is a great little tool. I used it at home for personal projects for quite some time before switching over to Subversion. I still use it at work, and with my team of 20 or so developers, it just doesn't cut it. This new source control app looks to fix all of SourceSafe's faults, namely using the file system for storeage (the new app uses SQL Server), and there will actually be a server component (imagine that).”

Related Posts
The Future of Visual SourceSafe
The Future of Visual SourceSafe - Part II
Webcast: What's New in SCCI for Visual Studio "Whidbey"

*The opinions expressed in this blog post are mine and mine alone.

Comments (6)

  1. Andreas Häber says:

    Klaus Probst wrote ".. Boy, I hope it has an API. That’s the one thing I could never get over with VSS."

    AFAIK the new Visual Studio Team System will have lot’s of extensibility points (see info at

    But VSS DOES have an API! See the nice little DLL "Microsoft VSSwin32SSAPI.DLL" 😉 There are some articles about it at MSDN too. And it’s quite easy to use from .NET 🙂

  2. Einar says:

    you said: "and continues to be improved by some of Microsoft’s sharpest and most worthy developers".

    Well then they must be really slow on the keybaord, because I haven’t seen any improvements to speak of in vss for years.

  3. Yes, I forgot to add that to Klaus’ comments. Thanks!

  4. Frank Boyne says:

    From the VSS roadmap: "Increased Capacity. Data storage is increased to 4 GB"

    What does that mean? Is the new VSS going to impose some limit that previous versions didn’t?

  5. Here’s the word from the top: "VSS will not impose any new restrictions or limits on databases in this release.

    We will be increasing the upper bounds for both log files (2GB max today) and the size of a single file in the database (2GB max today) from 2GB to 4GB. These current limits are documented here at [1].

    In the best practices document [2], it is recommended that total database size be 3GB or less, with 5GB being the maximum recommended upper limit. The recommended size is being increased to 4GB (from 3GB), with the maximum upper recommended limit remaining at 5GB.

    Finally, the archive limit, which is currently documented as 2GB [3], is being increased to 4GB."





  6. Vadivel says:

    I guess VSS is not listing in Add/Remove programs .. so is it possible to remove VSS alone from VS.NET 2005 beta?

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