Tuesday, July 15, 2003 6:47 PM
It's all Hype.
There's been a lot of talk lately of SourceGear's Vault as the savior of Source Control repositories. Lotsa Hype (with a capital H) from Robert Hurlbut , Matthew Reynolds, and Marc LaFleur , amongst others. Heck, with all this buzz, my company's Super Secret Weapon (and illustrious Software Architect) Paul Wilson was sitting up and taking notice. I heard him muttering something about wanting to take a look (and possibly review) Vault. (Are you listening, Eric? ) This is after several years of my preaching to our team about how much Source Safe sucks, and we need to lay out a few bucks to purchase a _real_ solution.
Why is it that all of a sudden the microsoft developer community is sitting up and taking notice how bad VSS is, after us config manager types have been preaching it for years?
Well, one of the answers was always that VSS is "free". It was included with an MSDN subscription, and with certain versions of visual studio 6. Really, though, if you purchase the client separately, it runs about $400 . I know, 'cause we have to buy it for our BA's, QA, etc. That's right, $400 per user for this piece of junk.
Does Microsoft use VSS? Not on most product teams, from what I can gather. In fact, Windows 2000 is rumored to have used a modified version of Perforce.
Ok, I'll admit it - I am very fond of Perforce - It's everything that VSS is not, and it is more mature that Vault. It does WAN / internet depots in its sleep (I currently host a depot over my paltry ADSL link), it's multi-platform (for all you multi-OS shops), it's got atomic commits, change sets, easy branching, the list goes on. Oh, and did I mention that it doesn't require that expensive SQL Server licence? Also, it's absolutely FREE for open source projects. I've obtained a free copy through the open source offer, and I strongly encourage all other open source projects to consider this as well. This product is also head and shoulders above CVS (or Subversion, the soon to be CVS-killa.)
So, back to the issue of Vault - why so much hype over this product? Personally, I think it's because it's a major commercial product written on the .NET platform, something that is still rare. Most of us interested in seeing .NET succeed are very interested in promoting products that leverage this technology, even if they aren't necessarily best of breed.
I'm a little more pragmatic. While C# has brought me a love for programming that I haven't experienced in several years, I'm hesitant to promote a .NET product just because I like the framework it's built upon. Perhaps Eric wants to send me a copy of Vault to change my mind?