Using Visual SourceSafe – Integrating VSS with PowerBuilder

This article is a part of SourceSafe / VSS Tutorial

PowerBuilder was a popular tool for database front end development. I used PowerBuilder 6 about 10 years ago to develop a MIS (Management Information System) application. The tool was powerful but in the past 5 years, PowerBuilder lost its ground to Java, .NET and other web development languages (like PHP). Recent market surveys show that PowerBuilder is not in the top 5 anymore.


The source code control interface of PowerBuilder is compatible with Microsoft’s MSSCCI, so we can use Microsoft Visual SourceSafe (VSS) or other compatible software as the version control tool.

To integrate Visual SourceSafe (VSS) with PowerBuilder, we can follow the steps below:

1. Right-click the selected workspace, and select Properties, as seen in the following screen shot:

Properties of Workspace
(Properties of Workspace)


2. In Source Control tab, configure source control settings.

  • In the Source Control System dropdown list, select Microsoft Visual SourceSafe.
  • In User ID edit box, input the name of our VSS account.
  • In Project edit box, input the VSS project in which we want put the selected local project. We can click the browse button next to choose the VSS project. When we click the browse button, the Log On to Visual SourceSafe Database window will prompt, as seen in the following screen shot:

Log on to Visual SourceSafe Database
(Log on to Visual SourceSafe Database)


  • Log into the VSS database, and select a project to store the selected local project in the following screen shot.

Add to SourceSafe
(Add to SourceSafe)


  • Click OK to finish the workspace binding.

3. In PowerBuilder System Tree, right-click the selected workspace, and select Add to Source Control to bring up the Add to Source Control window.

Add to Source Control
(Add to Source Control)


4. Click OK to add the selected items to the VSS database.

5. Now the target project is source controlled by VSS. We can perform the basic source control operations, such as Get Latest Version, Check Out, Check In, Undo Check Out, Add to Source Control, Show Differences, Show History and so on.

Basic Source Control Operations
(Basic Source Control Operations)


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7 thoughts on “Using Visual SourceSafe – Integrating VSS with PowerBuilder

  1. Hi,

    I am running 11.5 pb and cannot find a right click to access the properties menu that you see. All I get is the ability to make things read only. Can you please describe in idiot speak how to set a workspace to use source control?


  2. Just added VSS to PowerBuilder v12 Classic. right click on an object in any view and the source control items are there, but disabled. You have to go to open the Library painter, select the item, then go to the Entry menu to perform any action.

    Is there a way/setting to have the pop-up menu work? 🙂


  3. Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for the guide, I found it very useful.

    However VSS documentation states that unrelated projects should be put into diffrent VSS databases for better administration.

    So I have tried to set up a new project in a diffrent database.

    After creating a new workspace and trying to set its Source Control System propery to VSS it automaticly connects me to the database I set up for the previous project I added to VSS through powerbuilder.

    I guess that it stores the connection information in the registry.

    I can’t work out how to connect diffrent workspaces to diffrent databases or if this is even possible.

    Any thoughts would be appricated.

    Many thanks.

  4. I used Powerbuilder 10. I’m not sure if Powerbuilder 6 can work with SourceSafe. I advise you to upgrade to a newer version of Powerbuilder.


  5. Hi, Kevin. What version of Powerbuilder are you using? I’m trying this with Powerbuilder 6 but the IDE looks different from the screenshots, and I also haven’t got the VSS option in the Source Control panels even though I have VSS 6 installed in my machine.

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