Product Reviews

SourceGear Vault

Keep source code under control with this VSS replacement.

Microsoft Visual SourceSafe is the source code control system that people love to hate. While many of us use it (hey, it comes for free with Visual Studio!) it's certainly showing its age; the only new feature in the last several versions has been a more stable database (well, more stable arrangement of a bazillion tiny files on your hard drive, actually). Now SourceGear (makers of the VSS remoting program SourceOffSite) are out with SourceGear Vault, a drop-in replacement for VSS.

I think Vault is the source code control system that Microsoft might have come up with, if they weren't apparently bored with the whole product category. It stores your code repository in a SQL Server database which (at least if you have the skills to set up a maintenance plan) does tend to add a lot of security to the data. It comes with an implementation of the relevant APIs so you can use it from any IDE that uses VSS. It also includes server and client administration pieces that will look pretty familiar to any VSS user. There's also an import facility that will move all of your data and most of its history (Microsoft doesn't store everything) to the new database, so you don't lose anything making the transition. As an added bonus, my migrated SQL Server database was just about half the size of the disk files that it replaced.

Vault was built in C#, so it should have some staying power. There's also a Web Services API for talking to the Vault engine; implementing custom clients should be a piece of cake. Vault implements most of the familiar VSS features, and some of its implementations are more powerful. For example, you can take advantage of the database underpinnings to slice data out of history based on users or dates or a bunch of other things.

I worked with Vault on one of my projects for a while, and it didn't give me any trouble. Provided you don't mind paying a little more (and remember, you've got to license SQL Server somehow as well), it's a definite step forward from VSS. You can download the server and client bits for a 30-day trial from the SourceGear Web site.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.

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