The other day, a reader emailed me some questions regarding the functional differences between Microsoft Visual SourceSafe and SourceGear Vault. I'd rather talk about the awesome sailing I enjoyed this weekend on a friend's boat in the lovely San Juan Islands but the corporate Sirens are singing and I am now back on the clock.

Vault is a new source control application from SourceGear, the company that produces SourceOffsite, the most popular remote access solution for Visual SourceSafe databases.

Question: Do you know of some major differences between vault and sourceSafe that would lean me towards using VSS?
Answer: I have not had an opportunity to evaluate Vault personally.  However, I have seen it discussed in the following newsgroups and listservs: microsoft.public.vstudio.sourcesafe, microsoft.public.vsnet.vssand’s

Question: I work remotely and access to source safe code depositories via VSS are excrutiatingly slow.  I tried SourceOffSite and the access time was much better.  Will the VSS improve responsiveness when accessing files remotely?
Answer: You can probably improve your performance somewhat by tweaking a few VSS settings. For details, see (don't skip the last paragraph...from what I understand, shadowing can be especially expensive.) Second, SourceOffsite is often recommended as a good third party solution for this situation. Finally, I often work remotely and have observed that the fastest method by far is to connect to my VSS client workstation on the corporate LAN via Remote Desktop Connection (Start->Run->MSTSC) in Windows over a VPN. When connecting via MSTSC, all of the heavy SourceSafe network traffic occurs on the high speed LAN with only the screens being passed to me over my [relatively] slow home connection.

Question: What is the history of VSS?  Was it developed at MS or did MS buy the product from another vendor?
SourceSafe was acquired by Microsoft in 1994 from OneTree Software. Ted Roche discusses the history of SourceSafe in his book, "Essential SourceSafe."

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