Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How to Migrate a Visual SourceSafe Database to Subversion

The software tools involved in this migration are:

  • Collabnet Subversion Edge 1.2 – the subversion server
  • TortoiseSVN 1.6.10 – a subversion client
  • VSS2SVN 0.2.0  - the Visual SourceSafe to Subversion conversion tool
  • Visual SourceSafe 2005 – the VSS software

    I used Collabnet Subversion Edge 1.2 as my subversion server.  It is easy to install and configure and it is free.  This post assumes you can handle the server setup yourself. First we must create a subversion repository to hold the converted VSS database. Open the web interface to Collabnet Subversion (http://your-server-here:3343) and click the Repositories tab.  Click the ‘New Repository’ link.  This will ask you to provide a name for the repository and if you would like to use the standard trunk/branches/tags structure.


    We need to set up a pre-revision hook in the new repository for the conversion tool to successfully save your source code history.  To do this, go to your repository folder in the file system and find the hooks directory.  It is a sub-folder of your newly created repository folder.  In the hooks directory and several tmpl files. These are hook templates.  To get a hook to execute you must place an executable file (exe, script, batch file, etc…) in the hooks folder with the exact name of the hook.  For our purposes, create a file named pre-revprop-change.bat and in this file place the line: exit /b 0.


    We are done on the server. 

    You most likely have Visual SourceSafe installed on your client computer.  After all this is what you have been using for source control.  If not, you must install and configure Visual SourceSafe 2005 on your client computer.  Next, Install TortoiseSVN on your client computer.  Using TortoiseSVN pull down your empty subversion repository that we created earlier.  Any temp folder will do.  We just need to have TortoiseSVN to have a connection to the subversion server so that the VSS2SVN tool will work properly.

    You may want to copy your entire VSS database to your local computer for the migration.  First make sure that no user has any checked out items in the VSS database.  Next copy the entire VSS database to your local computer.  The conversion tool may take several hours if you have a large database.  The nice thing is that the VSS2SVN tool will allow you to convert one project at a time.

    Download and run the VSS2SVN tool.  If you are on a 64 bit verison of Windows you will need to download the source code for VSS2SVN.  Open the solution in Visual Studio 2008, add an x86 configuration to the project and rebuild.  By default it is built for any CPU, but VSS only provides x86 versions of its automation DLL.  VSS2SVN uses this automation DLL so we must have a 32 bit (x86) build of the VSS2SVN tool.

    The VSS2SVN tool is under-documented.  First you need to set the VSS Parameters.  This includes: Path to Scrsafe.ini, User name, Password, and VSS project to use.  Browse to your copy of your VSS databases srcsafe.ini folder, enter your VSS user name and password, enter the path to the project to be converted and then click the ‘Find file in source safe’ button.



    Click ‘OK’ to dismiss this dialog and then the General and SVN parameters become available to be edited.  Set the working directory to something like %TEMP% and check the ‘Delete temporary files when done’ button.  Fill out the ‘SVN path to use’ with the path to the trunk of the repository that you created at the beginning of this blog post and click the ‘Migrate to subversion’ button.  This may take a long time!  It depends on the size of the project and the number of revisions that is has.  Your SourceSafe history will be converted to subversion revisions.

    When this is done you can open the web interface to Collabnet Subversion and browse through your source repository.  Collabnet also provides Windows command line subversion tools, as well as Visual Studio and Eclipse plug-ins.

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