Active support for VCS is only available in the Professional and Server versions of Help+Manual and is only possible with projects saved in uncompressed XML/HMXP. Single-file HMXZ projects are binary and cannot be linked to VCS repositories.
If you save your projects in uncompressed XML (recommended anyway and also required for multi-user editing) you can integrate them directly in your Subversion, Team Foundation Server or MS Visual SourceSafe version control repository.
There are two main advantages to using a version control system: Automatic incremental backups with rollback capability and superior support for multi-user access to your project from diverse and remote locations. Subversion and Team Foundation Server support offline editing. This gives authors the ability for users to work on projects when they are not connected to the server, because they can synchronize their work at any time. This is ideal for teams with widely distributed members in different locations.
The benefits of incremental backups should be obvious: They make it possible to return to an earlier version of your documentation at any time, so you never need to worry about deleting or rewriting something that you may need again later. And since the backups are automatic you can focus on your work and not worry about making backups.
Subversion vs Team Foundation Server vs Visual SourceSafe
Subversion and Team Foundation Server are the more modern and capable systems. If you are just getting started and need to choose a VCS for use with your Help+Manual projects, choose Subversion. It is much easier to configure and more flexible to use. Only choose Team Foundation Server if your company already has it installed.
MS Visual SourceSafe has been discontinued by Microsoft, so if you do not already have it you do not need to consider it. If you are still using Visual SourceSafe, we generally recommend switching to Subversion if possible.
Help+Manual supports all current major Subversion distributions for the server component, but you should always use the latest version. We currently recommend Tortoise SVN as the client, as it is significantly more capable than all other clients. If you use Tortoise SVN you should also always use the latest version, and it must be at least 1.6. Versions prior to 1.6 are not supported and will cause errors. In addition to this you can also use the Collabnet, Visual SVN and other clients if you wish.
Team Foundation Server
The current version of Help+Manual requires Team Foundation Server 2012. Support for later TFS versions will be added later as they become finalized. No earlier versions will be supported. This means you must be using TFS 2012 now to use TFS with Help+Manual at the moment, and TFS 2012 or later in the future.
Online TFS implementations like the Microsoft TFS service for Visual Studio are not yet supported. They use unique and highly complex authentication services that still need to be implemented in Help+Manual.
Visual SourceSafe has been discontinued by Microsoft, so it is no longer possible to purchase a new copy. It is less capable than Subversion, and we generally recommend Subversion over Visual SourceSafe. Help+Manual supports Microsoft Visual SourceSafe with Microsoft's SCCAPI (Source Code Control Application Programming Interface) versions 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3. Other VSS-compatible version control systems should also work if they implement the Microsoft SCCAPI in exactly the same way as Microsoft in Visual SourceSafe, including full support for the programming interface.
A version control system is not required for multi-user editing!
Multi-user editing is one of the main reasons people use version control systems but this is not an issue in Help+Manual because it also supports this directly without VCS support. You only need to use a VCS for multi-user editing if you also require remote and offline multi-user editing.
Multiple users working on the same local network can all work on the same project directly with Help+Manual without using a VCS at all.
Multi-user editing with Subversion and Team Foundation Server
Multi-user editing is much more flexible with a Subversion or Team Foundation Server, because users do not need to be connected to the server while working and can thus work on their projects at any time and in any location. Each user works on their own local working copy, which can be synchronized with the central copy on the server when the user has access.
Multi-user editing with Visual SourceSafe
The way multi-user editing works does not change significantly when your project is linked to a Visual SourceSafe repository, because in both cases all users need a connection to the server to be able to work.
You should always use a version control system if your authors need to collaborate on a project from different remote locations. It is the best way to preserve the integrity of your projects. This is because each author only needs to work on a local copy of the project, that is linked to and synchronized with the master copy on your server. This significantly reduces the risk of data loss and corruption caused by editing via remote connections, which are by definition not always reliable.
Remote access with Subversion and Team Foundation Server
Remote editing with Subversion and Team Foundation Server is even better, and radically superior to working with Visual SourceSafe. With Subversion users do not need a connection to the server at all while they are actually doing their work. They only need to connect to the server when they want to synchronize their changes with the master version stored in the central repository on the server, and to get the latest changes from the master version.
Remote access with Visual SourceSafe
Even when you are using the old Visual SourceSafe system, remote access (for example via a VPN connection) is faster and more robust and reliable when you are working on a project linked to a VCS. This is because you are working on a linked local copy rather than accessing the entire project stored on the server. Only changes made need to be transferred across the remote link. The changes made by other users are transferred to your local copy when you open the project, and your changes are transferred to the VCS database when you save and exit.
The Version Control tools in Help+Manual will only be displayed if a compatible Subversion or Visual SourceSafe client, or a Team Foundation Server installation is found on your computer. Otherwise Help+Manual cannot interface with the version control system.