Before using Help+Manual with a version control system (VCS) it's important to understand how your project is linked to the VCS database and how the two interact. The following introduction will make it easier to use the VCS support functions because it will enable you to understand what is actually happening when you use them.
By the way: If you are just getting started, our recommendation is to use Subversion. It is the more modern and capable system. Also, Microsoft has now discontinued VisualSource Safe, so that is no longer an option and it has no usable support for offline working anyway.
When you use VCS support in Help+Manual there are two copies of your project: A local copy on your own computer, which is the project you are actually working on, and the master copy in the VCS database, which is referred to as the repository. Your local copy is linked to the master copy and your changes are synchronized with the master copy so that other users also have access to them. When this happens depends on which version control system you are using.
When your changes are updated to the repository:
•Subversion and Team Foundation Server only update the changes when you choose, by selecting Synchronize SVN or Synchronize TFS in the Help+Manual toolbar. This makes it possible to work "offline", even when you don't have a connection to the repository on your server.
•Visual SourceSafe updates your changes immediately, every time you save. It thus requires an active connection to the repository while you are working. It is not possible to work "offline" with Visual SourceSafe.
How conflicts are managed:
Conflicts occur when two authors edit the same topics, making different changes to the same texts. Version control systems have sophisticated ways of either preventing or resolving such conflicts.
•Subversion and Team Foundation Server allow you to choose when you want to update your changes, which makes it possible to work without a connection to the server. If two authors have edited the same text a conflict editor is displayed, and you must choose which version of each conflict you want to keep and which you want to discard.
•Visual SourceSafe handles conflicts by preventing them entirely. When you are editing a topic it is locked for other users and they can't work on it until you finish and save your work. This is simple, but inflexible, and it makes it impossible to work without a direct connection to the VCS repository on the server.
The SVN/TFS method is significantly superior. It is simpler than it sounds, and conflicts are much less common than you might think, particularly if your team has clear guidelines on who is responsible for parts of your project. Also, conflicts only occur if two authors edit the same sentences. If you edit different parts of the same topic SVN and TFS will intelligently merge the two versions without any conflicts.