Why shouldn’t you use folder synchronizers instead of source control providers

I was coding a project with my best friend who lives far away from my home. We have created the solution however the need for a source controlling system emerged. First we tried to use MS Visual SourceSafe 2005 over VPN, that was working but it was so slow that you cannot get latest version of the entire solution in a reasonable amount of time.

We thought that using a folder synchronizer will satisfy the need. First a few days it worked perfectly, we haven’t needed to “get latest” at all, since the system was sync.ing itself. We were aware of the danger that working on the same file will cause problems. Since folder sync.ers does not have file diff utilities and they overwrite each file in order to sync them! That was not a problem it we were coding in different files in the same project, that would have been solved with a good communication. However in bin and obj folders there exist pdb (symbol) files. These files are used in debugging mode and if they do not exist breakpoints are not hit in the project. That’s the reason for not recommending folder synchronizers, if you cannot “exclude the specific directories” in the synchronized directory tree .

One other option for far away developers’ source code management issue is using a directory containing VSS files and shared by a FTP server.
by using netDrive you may map any ftp folder like a folder in your machine, that means you may use the VSS folder on the FTP as in your machine. That will allow you to open the code repository through the VSS client or Visual Studio Ide and get the project by utilizing the FTP’s speed.

I have experienced the last method, and saw that FTP is faster then VPN connection. The only problem is you cannot share your source code with FTP if your sources are top secret.

Other Source Control Approaches