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Tip of the Day
Language: Visual Basic
Expertise: Beginner
Oct 1, 1996

Source Control Tools

Question:
We are developing a decent sized application in VB with a couple of programmers. We are looking for a way to have all of the programmers work on the program at the same time. At a minimum, each programmer could work on only the forms assigned to them. Any ideas, suggestions, comments?

Answer:
You are basically talking about a source or version control system. There are several available products. You could do it manually by keeping track of who had what file available, but then you have to deal with version conflicts and the inevitable forgetfulness of programmers busy doing work on multiple forms.

Intersolv has a product called PVCS which can be used to perform source control. I've used it myself, and it works ok. The interface is awful, though. Microsoft also has their SourceSafe product which is included with the Enterprise edition. It is a limited version, but it is tightly integrated with Visual Basic. I'd try that product before buying anything else. There is also a more complete version of SourceSafe that you can probably upgrade to, since you bought the Enterprise edition. It includes many more complex features that you may or may not need.

Both of these products enforce a "check-in/check-out" procedure, where before someone can edit a file, it has to be checked out. That prevents other people from editing the same file and voiding changes made by someone else. That feature is the primary one you want to use. Other features include creating builds of an application by specifying which version of a file should be used to make the build; multiple check-outs for testing, etc.

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