EOL for Microsoft's Visual SourceSafe

Microsoft's Visual SourceSafe will be replaced by a low-end version of Team Foundation Server. As far as many shops are concerned, it's about time

I don't know about you, but I haven't used a shared installation of Visual SourceSafe for years -- well, except for that cranky 10-year-old staging Web site I'd rather not think about. So when Microsoft announced Visual SourceSafe is on an "end of life" track in favor of TFS Basic, a new, low-end version of Team Foundation Server, I wasn't particularly surprised.

Of course, I still use Visual SourceSafe as a personal sandbox version control system, but only because it installs by default with Visual Studio and integrates well. But for group development, I look elsewhere, opting typically for something free as well as better: Subversion and TortoiseSVN, for example. And I never depend completely on VSS, even for personal projects.

[ For a preview of Visual Studio 2010, see "First look: Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1 shows some leg," as well as screenshots of Visual Studio 2010 beta highlights. ]

With all the really good collaboration systems out there, whether free or paid, open source or proprietary, why would anyone still run a development shop on something as rickety and unreliable as Visual SourceSafe? Of course, perhaps your shop still relies on VSS. If so, I'd like to hear your thoughts on the EOL of VSS, and why you've stuck with it all this time. After all, as far as I'm concerned, friends don't let friends depend on VSS.

Visual Studio 2010 is on its way, and those who have thus far relied on VSS may need to reassess their source control plans going forward. Team Foundation Server has, until now, been too pricey and hard to install for smaller shops. But the introduction of the low-end TFS Basic could prove to provide an adequate enough solution. According to Jason Zander, GM for Visual Studio:

  • You can use SQL Server Express as the database
  • The install runs in about 20 minutes and configures everything for you automatically
  • It can run on your client machine

Brian Harry says Microsoft is "not quite ready to announce the pricing and licensing for 2010 yet but I can tell you that it will be at least as easy and cost effective to get as SourceSafe has been. Stay tuned for more info on this."

That actually sounds promising, if Microsoft means to preserve the "free with Visual Studio" part of the pricing.

Version control and, to a certain extent, application lifecycle management are often overlooked when it comes to discussing development strategies, yet confident collaboration is an essential for any development shop. So, in the spirit of collaboration, I'd like to open the floor: What do you use for version control? What about ticketing, workflow, and bug tracking? Do you have a unified ALM system? Do you host your own system, or use servers in the cloud?

Let me know by commenting here or by sending e-mail to martin_heller@infoworld.com.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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