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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Broken by design » Visual Source Safe: Holy Mother of Lost Work and Wasted Time

The number of ways this piece of shit is broken could well be conventionally incalculable using modern day desktop technology... As I think of it, VSS is the only tool that has repeatedly earned my distrust, yet I continue to use it.

But everything starts somewhere, so I think I'll go for low-hanging fruit.

When VSS encounters a file that's writable but not checked out (or any other sort of version mismatch, for that matter) wouldn't it be nice if it offered a way to compare the two, *before* making a decision about which to keep? How hard could that possibly be to implement -- given that it already has a difference comparison facility [albeit lame] built into it?

Some of the dialogs shown in case of those mismatches have 5 different options -- yes, 5! And some of their labels are anything but clear, and some are practically guaranteed to completely screw you over! So as long as we're living large here in "wish it worked land" what if -- just suppose for a moment if you will -- it did something wild and exotic like comparing the contents of the apparently conflicting versions, to make sure they are actually different, before frivolously troubling the user with a bunch of no-win choices!

Oh wait, I forgot the VSS built-in comparison facility is utterly useless -- it seems inordinately sad and pathetic that it's "ignore white space" option fails to deliver, particularly when it sometimes injects BS whitespace as part of the check-in cycle.

Case in point, I can generate a set of SQL scripts using DMO, check them in, check them out again and regenerate them identically (without changing the database objects at all) -- VSS compare will tell me every single one is different from the checked-in version, but the only differences are white space that it injected.

I'm not even going to touch on shared files, that's such a cluster-fuck it gives me a headache to even think about it.

But I will mention, to the company that's been forcing Unicode down our throats for years... is VSS *ever* going to support Unicode text as anything other than binary?

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