RE: Visual SourceSafe/other doc control apps

Subject: RE: Visual SourceSafe/other doc control apps
From: "Lydia Wong" <lydiaw -at- fpoint -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2003 10:04:54 -0400

Beth asked:

> Have any of you used MS Visual SourceSafe for document version control? Do
> you recommend it? Any problems?

We've used it for years now. I haven't used another system, so I can't
recommend another. However, we've checked in all sorts of files: PDFs, Frame
files, Word files, HTML pages, artwork (.PNG, .BMP, .JPG)--you name it.

What others have said about how SourceSafe saves binary files is correct.
However, what's a 120GB drive cost now? $120 or so? Compare that to hours of
re-creating work if something is lost or accidentally overwritten. Besides,
older material can be archived on CD or another inexpensive medium, so you
needn't keep everything in SourceSafe forever. Used wisely, and maintained
periodically, it might suit your needs just fine (as it has ours).

We've encountered very few problems (partly due to a knowledgeable and
helpful administrator). The few we've seen are:

- A person checks out a file while another is checking in (not sure how this
happened, and it only happened once). We were able to go back to the last
good version of the file.

- We tried to do multiple check outs on a text file that we writers work on,
but our help tool also "works" on the file (part of automagically
documenting APIs). Multiple check outs ended up messing up the file, so we
fell back to only one check out allowed at a time (similar to binary files,
such as Frame files) and all has been fine.

- People have to be trained and be careful. You can circumvent SourceSafe if
you mess with your file attributes and don't watch what you're doing. But
the good news is, as happened recently, when this happens you have a
history/archive to fall back on. Without version control, if a file gets
overwritten, and you haven't backed it up, it's gone.

That's my two cents. As others have mentioned in past discussions, if your
developers are using SourceSafe for their code already, your company already
has it, so why not use it?

Lydia Wong
Technical Writer
FarPoint Technologies, Inc.

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Visual SourceSafe/other doc control apps: From: Kane, Beth

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