Thursday, June 01, 2006

Tip: Search file/project history in Visual SourceSafe

Microsoft's Visual SourceSafe (VSS) version control utility does not offer a built-in way to search the history of a file or project/folder. For example, you can't directly search on the check-in comments of a particular file for a bug number to find the file version where that bug was fixed.

However, it is possible to generate a report of all changes to a file or project, open that report in a text editor (such as Word or Notepad), and then perform the search in the text editor application.

To generate the report, first bring up the History dialog for the file or project to search (specifying date and user constraints if desired). Then, click the Report button on the History dialog to bring up the History Report dialog. (It doesn't matter what file(s) are selected in the left pane of the History dialog; the report will be generated based on all items present in the dialog.) On the History Report dialog, you can select the items you want to appear in the report. I typically choose only "Include details", since the "Include differences" option can make the report take a long time to generate (even for a fairly small file/project history). I also typically use the "Clipboard" output option to make the output easy to paste into my text editor.

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