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MS Access and MS Visual Source Safe

Hi All,

I recall trying to use the Visual Source Safe with MS Access (via the add-in) quite some years ago (~2000) and decided to give up after a bad experience.  I think it scrambled some of our objects, but I really can't remember the specifics.

Since that, at another place I worked, the developers said they had previously tried VSS with Access and gave up as well due to a bad experience and swore they would not use VSS again with MS Access.

Has anyone also had this experience?  Does anyone successfully use it?

Your thoughts are much appreciated.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
>> Does anyone successfully use it?

I don't think anyone 'successfully' uses SourceSafe - whether it's with Access or not...

(sorry for the flippant reply, but I've been burned by SourceSafe several times.)
RocketJeff Send private email
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Ditch sourcesafe and use subversion. You will be have a lot more integration options and a more stable system. Oh and it is free.

For example you can modify subversion to display a text box where you can type in a case number. Then a script is run that updates subversion and the Fogbugz case so they cross-link to each other.

The interface in subversion that allows this is documented and a wide variety of technologies (SQL, Access, etc) can be used with it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006
We gave up on Source Safe as well, and switched over to SourceGear's Vault. Since then we've had no issues at all. It also integrates with FogBugz rather nicely.
Tim Send private email
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
"Ditch sourcesafe and use subversion."

Are you saying that subversion supports MS Access?  The only reference to MS Access I found on the Subversion site was a couple of irrelevant forum posts.

I'm not sure whether you are familiar with MS Access.  All its objects (forms, queries, code modules, etc) are stored within the one (.mdb) file.  They are not natively stored as text files like many programming languages.

This question is pitched at developers who use MS Access with Sourcesafe.  I dislike SourceSafe myself, but I am yet to hear of another product that actually operates with MS Access at the object level.  If you know for sure of a product that does, please let me know...
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Well Subversion doesn't really do that much for the versioning of objects within an access database.  Using Subversion would make things alot harder than they would be with SourceSafe integration in MSAccess.

VSS 2005 is much better than 6.0.

I've used the integration in Access (2000) and didn't have any problems with it, at least none worth mentioning.

- Nate.
Nate Send private email
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Tim, thanks for your response.  Does Vault work with MS Access at the object level?  That is, can you check out individual form objects, for example?
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Thanks also Nate.  I haven't dared to try VSS 2005 yet!  But I am glad that they have actually made some improvements.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
VSS2005 is no longer distributed with Visual Studio Professional Edition.  You need an MSDN subscription or Visual Studio Team System/Suite to use it.

It's very expensive outside of MSDN/Team System also (something like 500+ USD).

However, it's less draconian and deals with large database sizes alot better than version 6.0.  I believe MS is trying to phase it out in an attempt to get developers to move to the [extremely expensive] Team Foundation Server (which also requires a Windows Server Machine to run, unlike VSS, so more money for M$).

- Nate.
Nate Send private email
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I use VSS 2005 and MS Access 2003 in a group of 5 on-site developers and 2 off-site consultants. There have been some problems since moving to the new version of VSS, but only one has been beyond the momentary panic and "hey, what the heck does this annoying error message mean" variety.

I can't imagine working on Access with multiple developers without it.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
edress included, in case you want to chat off-list.
JeremyNYC Send private email
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Cyrus, I tried to respond but got:
"Technical details of permanent failure:
PERM_FAILURE: DNS Error: Domain name not found"

So I'll post your message here and my response...

Cyrus's Message:
Thanks very much for you info on VSS with MS Access.  I am interested that you actually got it working ok.

Did you end up buying VSS2005 separately just for your MS Access development?  I ask this because a previous poster indicated that it now only comes with MSDN subscriptions or the $$$ .NET team edition.

From 2003-2005 I worked as a contractor with a company that used MS Access with 6 developers to support 5 large database projects.  Some of these projects had a SQL Server backend, some a MS Access backend.  These systems were constantly subjected to bug fixes and feature enhancements.

Predictably, they had a lot of trouble with overwriting each others work!  They had previously tried VSS 6.0 but with bad results and so weren't using any form of source control.  To solve the problem, I originally developed my own simple source code control system (itself written in Access).  Believe it or not, this worked remarkably well.

I have been wondering how other multi-developer MS Access teams get along.

My Response:

Yeah, it definitely works. We ran into some road bumps, and lost a couple of small changes, but overall, it's worked out incredibly well. We also use VSS for a few websites and one Excel spreadsheet that gets packaged with our Access/SQL Server application, and for the VB installers, and for a helper application we've built.

I've heard of other folks building source control widgets in Access, and the principle seems reasonably sound, but it's already built with VSS, and since we get the software as part of a package, that made the most sense to us.

We have a subscription similar to the MSDN subscription; MS has a program for independent software vendors, and we get our software that way. It's only available to any organization for two years, but it's everything MS offers for $350 a year or something insane like that.
JeremyNYC Send private email
Thursday, November 16, 2006
I can't believe that anyone still uses Access in 2006!
Nameless Send private email
Thursday, November 16, 2006

Not sure what happened with the email reply...but thanks for responding.  I'm glad that VSS seems to be working for you.

I have used the partner program in the past and it was quite a good way to obtain cheap MS software.  I'm probably paranoid, but the current 'Empower' program seems too much like a deal with the Devil...I'm not quite ready to give up my soul just yet...

Anyway, thanks to everyone for their replies.  Everyone, that is, except that one person who will remain Nameless.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
I have used VSS with ms-access.

I not tried this with the new vss2005…..

I been using VSS. 6 with the access 2003 add in.

>Tim, thanks for your response.  Does Vault work with MS Access at the object level?  That is, can you check out individual form objects, for example?

I don’t know if vault works..but, it sounds like something interesting to try (it should in theory - I would love to try a web based interface to this).

As for checking out objects…yes, each form, query, or whatever can be individual checked in/out. In fact it is kind of neat that you can check in/out your sql quires!!!!

The only issue I seen come up is the use of me.ContorlName and me!FieldName.  VSS has complained when using me.FieldName on forms that are unbound, and then bound at runtime. (but, to be fair, ms-access also complains)

(best to use me!Fieldname when referencing a underlying field, and me.ContorlName when referring a control on a form in these cases).

Since the interface is much the same for most IDE’s, then I would have to assume that the source code add-in for a2003 could/should work with other products (just never tried it).

Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Albert D. Kallal Send private email
Friday, November 17, 2006

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