Saturday, December 01, 2007

Offline and back again in VS2008

One of the most painful issues in VS2005 was its quirky offline support.

One of the first features I have checked in Visual Studio 2008 was working offline. And what can I say - it (mostly) rocks!

Let's do it step-by-step.

  • You open the solution under source control and there is no connection to the server. What you get is the dialog, indicating offline condition

    In Output window pane appears the log message, indicating detailed reason for the offline

    Important note: Once the solution is opened offline, next time you open it in Visual Studio the dialog won't appear (but the output pane will show same message every time)

  • If you choose to change files in your solution/project when is offline, you will have a message that file is read-only once you save the changes. There is no indication of "under source control" status for offline projects or solutions

    Important note: When working offline, you may edit or delete existing files or add new ones, and these types of changes will be supported when going "online" with TFS server. However, file renames are not supported

  • Now let's go online. You open solution in VS and you have connection - but tranistion to online will not happen automatically. To sync solution/project back online you should use "Go Online" menu, that available on right-click in Solution Explorer or in "File"->"Source Control" menu.

    Once you hit "Go Online" requested, the dialog with changes "Go Online" dialog will appear detailing the changes performed while online. The dialog shows files and
    changes (add/edit/delete) performed while offline. You may choose not to pend the changes for specific files (then the file will remain writable, but will not have pending changes).

    Important note: If you did not perform any changes while offline, the appropriate message will appear
    Once online, the pending changes indications will appear in Solution Explorer.

  • If you want to unbind your solution/project from source control, all you need to do is to go to "Source Control"->"Change Source Control" menu. The message will appear asking you whether you want to go online or permanently unbind your solution.

But of course, there were several "Things I did not like":

  1. No cancel on Offline dialog - either go offline or ...?

  2. No indication for source controlled files in Solution Explorer in offline mode (similar to that of VSS) - only read-only flag on file serves as an indication

  3. "Change Source Control" dialog does not allow one to "Disconnect", you can only "Unbind; so going offline happens only when server is not available

Overall, I should say I liked VS2008 experience very much (especially as compared with previous version). I can feel that feedback on TFS2005 offline experience was not wasted!


Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot....This was very useful.


Ismu the Dev said...

This is what I was Googling for and I missing it hard :(. Anyways I agree that overall its good.

3. "Change Source Control" dialog does not allow one to "Disconnect", you can only "Unbind; so going offline happens only when server is not available.