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Freshminds.com offers low cost alternative to SourceSafe

The new offering from Freshminds.com, Project.Backup 2.0, may appeal to Visual Basic 6 users looking for a reasonably priced alternative to Microsoft's SourceSafe add-on.

Project.Backup 2.0 offers automated source code revision, project backup management, and source code transfer via e-mail from within an extended Visual Basic IDE (integrated development environment).

Project.Backup 2.0 provides the same functionality as Microsoft SourceSafe 6.0, with a much cheaper price tag, according to Dustin Sell, lead developer for Freshminds.com.

While the full version of SourceSafe 6.0 currently goes for $549 (qualified users can get an upgrade version for $279), a single user license for Project.Backup 2.0 is priced at $179.

Among its features, Project.Backup 2.0 allows users to restore previous versions of source if a file is corrupted, or for comparison purposes.

"Right before you make a compile of a particular program, it's good to go ahead and make a backup so you have a version of the program, for bug fixing [and] troubleshooting," Sell said.

Sell and his team also saw the need for an unobtrusive, timed backup, without any user interaction.

"The thing that we realized is that we didn't want to negatively impact people when they were developing their code," Sell said. "So, we made it as configurable as the user needs it. Users can just turn if off if they like and backup manually, and it has full and incremental backup support, so they can just backup their changes or backup everything."

Regardless of the number of files a user is currently working with, the program will backup those files as one compressed file.

"We realize that might take up a lot of space," Sell said of the timed backup. "That's why it has the ability to do incremental backups, as well."

Project.Backup 2.0 was originally developed as an in-house product because FreshMinds.com was not willing to pay what it thought was an excessive price for Microsoft SourceSafe. However, according to Sell, word soon spread about the program's potential.

"A lot of people saw it and said, 'This is a pretty nice product. Why don't you make it a little bit cleaner, add some more features, and release it to the public?'"

This is the company's first foray into commercial software developing. Freshmind.com was solely a contract developer creating third party programs with Visual Basic.

Even though Project.Backup 2.0 was designed for the general Visual Basic user, Sell said it is an especially good product for the small, home-based developers, or those who are moonlighting writing programs outside their normal work.

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