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Implementing Source-Code Control with Visual SourceSafe

Version control is a term that describes the actions that software developers must take to keep track of the physical files that go into various versions of a software product. Version control is basically concerned with two types of control:

  • Keeping track of changes to files over time and matching the various versions of a file with versions of a software product.

  • Managing concurrent changes made by multiple developers to a project's files and keeping their changes from conflicting with each other.

Visual SourceSafe has three basic components that you need to know about to understand how it works to implement version control:

  • The Visual SourceSafe database. This is the repository for the various versions of source code and other files that Visual SourceSafe administers. The Visual SourceSafe database stores the files in a compressed, proprietary format. It must be visible to all developers and administrators who need to use Visual SourceSafe.
  • Visual SourceSafe Administrator. This application enables one or more administrators to manage the Visual SourceSafe database, to manage users of Visual SourceSafe, and to define the users' rights in general and also for particular projects.
  • Visual SourceSafe Explorer. This application resides on each developer's workstation. It is the main vehicle that developers use to manage the source code stored in the Visual SourceSafe database.

Visual SourceSafe is typically installed as an option with VB or Visual Studio. You should make sure that the Visual SourceSafe database is installed in a location visible to all who will need to use it (probably on a network drive). The default name for the installed folder is VSS. The exact location of this folder will depend on the choices you make during Visual SourceSafe installation.

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