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In a recent post, Leon Langleyben described a Team Foundation Source Control "feature" that is giving users a hard time. The "feature" is that the Check Out command in TFSC no longer performs a Get Latest on the file checked out, as we were accustomed to in VSS.

In the older Visual SourceSafe, when you checked out a file VSS would get the latest version of the file to your local machine and only then open the file for you to work on. This is critical when working in Exclusive Checkout Mode, which is the most popular work mode in VSS. It guarantees that whoever starts working on the file picks up from the point his predecessor finished and not from some undetermined version in the past.

Having removed the implicit Get Latest operation from the Check Out command Microsoft has yet again shot itself in the foot by shooting its users in the stomach. Teams migrating to TFSC from VSS are taken completely by surprise by the fact that when a team member checks a file out he is not guaranteed to work on the latest version.

Most programmers I've talked this over with describe this new "feature" as a bug. It completely breaks their faith in TFSC as a reliable source control system. When basic trust in it is shattered, TFSC has very little chance of being accepted as the better successor of VSS. My team won't even consider the transition in light of the difficulties one of our team leaders experienced with TFSC in a different company.

How could the TFSC development team make such a terrible mistake? - A harsh usability error that impacts drastically on the marketability of their product. I believe that this happened because the TFSC development team was focused on cutting edge source control strategies and neglected to remember that most of their users are still fixated on the traditional Exclusive Check Out strategy.

Leon describes this as "one of VSTS source control features that is hard to explain to clients". This implies clients are thick headed and I don't think this is the case. I think Microsoft broke the client's expectations without proper warning and needs to fix things ASAP.

I am thankful that the TFSC development team has taken measures to remedy the situation in the next version by adding a "Get Latest on Checkout" command to the system.

Posted on Thursday, November 23, 2006 2:54 PM development , team system , microsoft , source control , team foundation | Back to top


Comments on this post: Team Foundation Source Control won’t Get Latest when you Check Out

# re: Team Foundation Source Control won’t Get Latest when you Check Out
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We faced same problems when we migrated to VSTS, but now things are going smooth, as we take a latest before check out.
Left by Ram on Nov 24, 2006 7:19 AM

# re: Team Foundation Source Control won’t Get Latest when you Check Out
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Yeah, this was just such a major dissapointment. MS really kicked everyone in the nuts with this. Had their merge tool not been absolutely useless, this wouldn't be such a big deal but this, compiled with both workspace setup issues and "Get Latest" not actually getting the latest (forcing you to "Get Specific"), TS makes me wish we were still using VSS for source control.

Oh, not to mention, trying to view history at a project level and getting code by label are painful too.

The TFSC development team has built a feature rich application for sourc control, too bad the features weren't ones we were interested in.
Left by DK on Dec 05, 2006 6:30 PM

# Is the remedy ready now?
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Yes, I don't understand VSTS's logic either. Is the remedy "adding a "Get Latest on Checkout" command to the system" ready now?

BTW, I haven't found out how to "lable" a version in VSTS yet.
Left by Ben on Feb 27, 2007 4:57 PM

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