I promised I would return to the Force_Dir initialization variable (aka 'Assume Working Folder Based on Current Project') and now, at last, I can.  Unless you have a ton of existing VSS scripts, I encourage you to change the inexplicable default value for this variable. Here's why:

One of the least noticeable and most confusing differences between the VSS command line environment and SourceSafe Explorer is the default way in which their underlying programs (ss.exe and ssexp.exe, respectively) copy the database version of a file from the database to a local folder during Get operations. When you use SourceSafe Explorer to checkout a file, your local copy is retrieved to the project’s working folder, by default. When working from the command line however, the default is quite the opposite: a checked out file is instead retrieved to the current folder , which is the working folder for the current project. Normally, the path to a file’s working folder differs from the path to the current project.  Confusing, huh?  That's why you should change the default.

I have been unable to determine why the command line defaults to retrieving files to the current project. The VSS product team is understandably reticent to change the default setting since doing so could break many customers' existing scripts. 

If you're just getting started, I recommend you override the command line’s default behavior using one of the following methods.

To change the default local path selection logic for GET operations (ss get, ss checkout, etc) when using VSS commands in a batch file or from the command line:

  1. In Visual SourceSafe Explorer, click Tools, and then click Options.
  2. In the Options dialog box, select the Command Line Options tab, and then click Assume Working Folder Based on Current Project to turn the option on.

Alternatively, you can set the Force_Dir initialization variable, my favorite initialization variable, to yes in either SS.INI or SRCSAFE.INI file.

Finally, if you don't want to or cannot change this option for your database or a particular user, you can override the default behavior for any VSS command involving a Get operation (Get, Checkout, Share, Deploy, Undo Checkout...) by appending the -GL parameter to the command.

Until next time, take care of your favorite database.  Run Analyze today!

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