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 aspalliance.com’s product-vsnet@aspadvice.com.

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 http://support.microsoft.com:80/support/kb/articles/Q123/4/73.asp (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?
Answer:
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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