Service Partners Finds the Modern VSS-Like Replacement It Needed in Dynamsoft's SourceAnywhere Version Control Software


Distribution, Manufacturing


I was tasked with finding a replacement solution for VSS, but with modern features and expanded capabilities required for our corporate office personnel. We found all of that and more in Dynamsoft's SourceAnywhere version control software. Most of the source-code control solutions I investigated during this process were either too complex to use, too difficult to manage, or fell outside my requirements in some other way. Not SourceAnywhere. It was simple to install, easy to use, and had a minimal learning curve for me – it's so much like VSS. Under the hood, it has the modern security, database and versioning features we required, without a slew of capabilities we just didn't need. For our situation, it's a great fit."

- Bobby Armstrong, Programmer/Analyst, Service Partners


Service Partners is a leading specialty building products distribution company. It's based in Glen Allen, VA, and employs roughly 775 people nationwide. To improve support of the corporate employee staff, Service Partners desired an easy to use system to keep track of the many and varied types of essential documents (and revisions) internally. This was to be a 'source-document' control system in addition to a source-code control system. Files would include various Microsoft Excel, Access, and Word documents, graphics images, etc., in addition to web page files, .NET solutions, Formscape branches, dcLink scripts, etc. For document versioning, the IT department was looking for a replacement to the dated VSS software and wanted the replacement to have a more reliable backend database. There was also a requirement that the replacement software allow non-technical users to easily track differing versions of documents. A simple web search yielded two candidates, one of which was Microsoft's TFS. After having a live demo, TFS was shown to be too unwieldy for the non-technical users as well as too costly in man-hours to install and manage. The other candidate was Dynamsoft's SourceAnywhere solution, and after a brief inspection, it was shown that it likely would meet their requirements. It was essentially the modern "VSS-like" replacement the team was after. It promised better peace of mind with essential documents being more secure, in addition to making project workflow more efficient.


Service Partners

Service Partners is a leading specialty building products distribution company. It's the largest distributor in the US of residential insulation products and related accessories and one of the largest manufacturers in the US of cellulose insulation. The company is also one of the largest fabricators in the US of gutters and rain-ware products and one of the largest laminators in the continental US of metal building insulation. Service Partners is based in Glen Allen, VA, and employs roughly 775 people nationwide.

To properly support employees and customers, Service Partners uses technical infrastructure that includes software, a database, file backup systems and more to keep track of important documents.


The development staff at Service Partners is quite lean, and so members routinely perform tasks in many varied specialized roles: DBA, Developer, Software configuration Specialist. The main ERP system used is J.D. Edwards with a SQL Server back end. The team had used VSS software to keep track of the source-code from various in-house and third-party supporting products. Other important documents that included spreadsheets, Access DBS and more, were being stored (and occasionally 'versioned' with multiple copies) only in the network shared disk storage. Here multiple document versions were in ad hoc named-folder structures within the file system.

The IT staff managing this system was looking for a document storage system that would be a replacement for the out of date VSS software. It also needed to be robust enough to provide storage and versioning for the non-technical staff's documents. They too wanted the replacement to have a more reliable backend using a SQL Server database, and be easy to install, use, and maintain.

Service Partners started with a set of requirements and searched for a suitable product. These requirements included that the software:

  • Have A Centralized SQL Server Repository
  • Be Completely Safe And Secure
  • Keep Individual Departments' Documents Isolated From Others
  • Be Easy To Use – Especially For Non-Technical Users (Accountants, Business Analysts, Etc.)
  • Be Easy To Maintain
  • Be Able To Import Existing VSS Database(s)

Among the candidate software packages they had demonstrated for them was Microsoft's TFS and Dynamsoft's SourceAnywhere. They found TFS to be too complex for the non-technical users who were to use it, too costly in man-hours to install and manage, and the demo mostly emphasized features not needed at Service Partners. So, the attention centered on Dynamsoft's SourceAnywhere solution. The team was given a thorough and informative demo during which many of their questions were answered.


After deliberations, the team really found it was no contest and chose SourceAnywhere unanimously. This was because it's relatively easy to use, easy to install, has a minimal learning curve, and doesn't focus on capabilities unneeded at Service Partners. It was essentially the modern "VSS-like" replacement the team needed, but better.

Dynamsoft developed its SourceAnywhere solution to deliver several code, file and project management advantages for its customers. The latest on-premise version is SourceAnywhere 6.2. Some new features include project branch and merge capabilities to enable better parallel code development and management amongst teams. Programmers can create project branches to work on different development paths and merge the changes when ready. The branching can be done by latest version, a specified historical version, or a labelled version. There is also a wizard-based merge feature. It lets users merge code changes from a source branch to target branch. The changes can be auto-merged or resolved manually if any conflicts happen. Before a merge, users can compare the source/target branch version to the base version and also compare a source to target to see the differences.

Other updates have since expanded upon this. Folder-level branch and merge have been improved with a type of merge, recover and edit mode. Merge results can also be exported. The interface for the project and file branches was also improved.

SourceAnywhere also provides 64-bit server support, which allows the software to handle 500+ concurrent worldwide connections. This also improves memory availability and parallel processing performance compared to a 32-bit environment. The software can be used within various integrated development environments (IDE). These include Visual Studio®, Eclipse™, Dreamweaver® and other IDEs compatible with Microsoft® Source Code Control Interface (MSSCCI). SourceAnywhere provides a simple and cost-effective source control solution, and a replacement for VSS users, for small businesses or large enterprises.

The team has not yet fully implemented SourceAnywhere. It will be an ongoing thing for several months.