Integrating with VSS

Visual SourceSafe® (VSS) from Microsoft® is a Software Configuration Management (SCM) system that enables users to work on code simultaneously while preserving previous versions by avoiding collisions in code edits. This plug-in will allow users of SpiraPlan or SpiraTeam (hereafter referred to as SpiraTeam) to be able to browse a VSS database and view revisions linked to SpiraTeam artifacts.

While users working on the code will usually have a complete copy of the repository on their local systems, this plug-in will access the VSS database remotely.The rest of this section outlines how to install and use the plug-in with SpiraTeam.

Note: The plug-in will allow users to download and view different revisions of files and view revision logs, but no changes to the repository are allowed through the plug-in.

Installing the VSS Plug-In To install the VSS Version Control plug-in, follow these steps:

  • Install a copy of Visual SourceSafe on the same server that is running SpiraTeam (if it is already installed on the server, you can disregard this step).

  • Copy the following files from the plug-in zip-archive into the "VersionControl" sub-folder of the SpiraTeam installation:

  • VssProvider.dll

  • SourceSafe.Interop.dll

  • Log in as the Administrator and go into SpiraTeam main Administration page and click on the "Version Control" link under System.

  • Click the "Add" button to enter the Plug-in details page. The fields required are as follows:

  • Name: The name must be "VssProvider".

  • Description: The description is for your use only, and does not affect operation of the plug-in.

  • Active: If checked, the plug-in is active and able to be used for any project.

  • Connection Info: This field points to the filepath where the srcsafe.ini file is located (which contains the VSS database information).

  • For example: C:\VssDatabases\Project1\srcsafe.ini

  • Login / Password: The user id and the password of the user to use while accessing and retrieving information from the VSS database. If the repository doesn't require a password, just use "anonymous" as the password.

  • Domain: is not used by the VSS plug-in and can be ignored

  • Custom01 -- 05: are not used by the VSS plug-in and can be ignored

  • When finished, click the "Insert" button and you will be taken back to the Version Control integration list page, with VssProvider listed as an available plug-in.

  • Verify that you are in the correct project using the drop-down at top, and click on the "Project Settings" link for the VssProvider. You will get a screen listing all the same configuration settings:

  • Be sure to change the Active field to Yes, or the repository will not be available for the current project.

  • Any other settings entered on this page will override - and have the same use as - the general settings that you created above. You would use these settings if you will have more than one project access different code repositories.

  • Initial setup is complete, click on the "Source Code" menu under the Tracking tab to navigate and browse the source code database.

Using VSS with SpiraTeam

While being able to browse the source code repository can be useful in itself, the real strength comes from linking artifacts in SpiraTeam - including Incidents, Requirements, and Tasks - to revisions checked into the VSS database.

Viewing the Repository Tree

View the source code tree by selecting the "Source Code" link under the Tracking tab. You will get a screen similar to:

The folder tree of the repository is on the left, and files in the current selected directory will be listed in the right table. Note that this view will always show the most recent revision of the database. The file view will display the filename, the current revision number of the file and the date of the last check-in. You can filter and sort on any of the columns, as well.

Viewing File Details

To view the file details, click on a file in the right-hand side of the repository. The file details page displays the details on the selected revision. By default, it will be the most recent revision, unless you clicked to view the file details from a revision. By clicking on the file name, you can download the specified revision of the file to your local machine. This does not do a VSS checkout; you are merely downloading the file to your local machine.

Underneath the file details is a list of all the revisions made to this file, who performed the revision, and the log message for the action performed. Throughout SpiraTeam, revisions are indicated by the Revision


Revision Details

By clicking on a revision in SpiraTeam, you will be taken to the revision details page.

The revision details screen shows the log for the action performed, the date and author. At the bottom of the page are two tabs, Files and Associations. The Files tab lists all files that were a part of this revision, with their full path, latest revision and date of edit.

The Associations tab shows any artifact (Incident, Requirement, Test Case, Test Set) that the log message references. See Requirements Management > Overview - Scenario for information on how to link a revision with a VSS check-in or other action:

Linking Artifacts

Linking an artifact is quite simple. To maintain the readability of VSS check-in messages, we adopted a square bracket token. The token is in the format of:

[<artifact identifier>:<artifact id>]

The first half, the Artifact Identifier, is a two-letter code that is used throughout SpiraTeam, and is visible on almost every page in the application. For example, a requirement's identifier is "RQ". Incidents are "IN", and test cases are "TC". The artifact ID is the number of the artifact. So by creating a commit message that reads:

SpiraTeam will automatically detect tokens and will include links to them under the Associations tab for a revision detail.


While integration with VSS is rather complex behind the scenes, as a user you will only receive a couple of errors that will prevent the integration from working:

  • SpiraTeam will not display the login page, and there is an error

    (either on the page or in the Application Event Log) that says "Could not load file or assembly.". If this error occurs, it is most likely that the VssProvider.dll or some of its dependent assemblies were not correctly placed in the VersionControl folder of the SpiraTeam installation.

  • SpiraTeam reports that the login information is incorrect. In this

    case, double check the Version Control settings, both for the Project (which overrides the general settings) and the general settings. Project settings will over-ride the general settings. Be sure to use a user that has access to all nodes in the tree starting from the root repository location.

  • If you are taken back to the repository screen and given a message

    saying that the requested file was deleted from the system, this means that an attempt was made to view details on a file that was deleted or destroyed in VSS. This is a normal condition in the code repository, not necessarily an error with VSS or SpiraTeam.

  • If you have the VSS database located on a remote file-share on a

    separate server to SpiraTeam, you will need to modify the identify used by the IIS Application Pool running SpiraTeam. By default the IIS Application Pool will run as the special Windows user "NETWORK SERVICE". Whilst this is a secure account with low privileges for normal use of the system, it may not have sufficient permissions to access the VSS repository over your Local Area Network (LAN). We recommend changing the IIS Application Pool to instead run as a Windows Domain user that has permissions to access the remote file-share containing the VSS database.