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Microsoft Visual SourceSafe. “(VSS) does not eliminate the need for discipline and coordination. It only makes discipline and coordination easier to live with.” -- Loukides & Oram.

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Microsoft Visual SourceSafe

“(VSS) does not eliminate the need for discipline and coordination. It only makes discipline and coordination easier to live with.”

-- Loukides & Oram


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A working folder is a private directory used by a single user to store local working copies of files. Each user must set up a working folder before (s)he can use VSS.


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When accessing a project for the first time, a user should request the latest version of all files in the project. This is done immediately after selecting a working folder.


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Make sure that the files that you want to add to your project are in your working folder. Click the “Add Files” button on the toolbar and select file(s) to be added to your project.


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Make sure to enter the file(s) description/purpose for each file being added. This becomes part of the documentation for your project. Uncheck the box for “Apply same comment for all” if you want to give each file a different description (recommended).


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When you wish to modify one of your project files, you must check it out from the repository. To do this, right click on the desired file and select “Check Out”.


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Enter a brief comment describing to your teammates what you are intending to change in the file. This is an important notice that your team can use in determining what action to take when they need the file while it is presently checked out.


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When finished modifying the checked out file, you must check it back in so that your teammates can be able to make additional modifications and update version numbers.


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Enter a comment describing, in detail, what modifications you have made to the file. Be very specific. This becomes an important part of your project documentation. If making several modifications, consider clicking the “Keep checked out” box so that you can tailor comments for each modification individually, as they are made.


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When everyone uses VSS properly, beneficial information can be gleaned from the VSS user interface.


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Other useful features be gleaned from the VSS user interface.

  • Undo a checkout

  • Show revision history

  • Show difference between a file in the repository and one in the working folder

  • Pinning down a version of a file

  • Labeling a version of a file


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