A Look Back at TDS Classic

March 14, 2019 | Hedgehog

TDS Classic has been helping Sitecore developers improve team integration and smooth the development process for 10 years. Sitecore Solution Architect and Chief Product Scientist, Charlie Turano speaks about the beginning of TDS and where it is today. 

First things first, what is TDS Classic (TDS)? 
TDS is a tool we developed from our internal tools. It’s a tool to optimize the development process for building a Sitecore website.

How did you come up with the idea for TDS?
A lot of it came from looking at the way we developed websites before Sitecore. I took a step back and saw how we managed source code.While thinking about how .Net websites were developed without Sitecore, I realized Sitecore items are source code too. This led me to the basic concept of TDS: bringing Sitecore items into Visual Studio just like a code. 

How did you feel when the first version of TDS was launched? 
I wasn’t sure what would happen. We didn’t know what we had at the time. We were thrilled with the first license purchase, but we were unsure if TDS would go anywhere. We started to gain traction about 6 months after the release. That’s when we knew we were onto something. 

How do you develop new features for TDS?
I look for ideas in three places: support, talking to Sitecore MVPs and Sitecore Developers, and my own experience. I read every email that comes through the support inbox. If I notice a recurring theme, I think about how I can address the issue. I ask Sitecore MVPs what issues they are experiencing, and how can I make their development process better? Lastly, my experience working in Sitecore helps me because what frustrates me might be frustrating other developers. I look for ways to reduce the frustration for all Sitecore developers.

What have been some of the biggest challenges you faced as you developed TDS throughout the years? 
The biggest challenge is taking a specific problem and generalizing it. I have to think about how does this problem relates to everyone, not just the specific issue we are trying to solve. I work with Sitecore and Hedgehog employees to create a solution for a class of problems instead of a specific solution.

TDS 5.8 has recently been released. What was your biggest accomplishment while working on TDS 5.8? 
Setting up Azure deployments with TDS. Roughly 70% of the development time was spent trying to figure out how to properly connect TDS with Azure.

Looking back ten years ago, did you imagine the Sitecore community embracing TDS the way they have?
Not at all – again we didn’t know what we really had at the time. I am pleased with the way the Sitecore community has embraced it.

Were there alternate name ideas for TDS?
No, it was straight forward when it came to naming TDS.

Have you personally developed every version of TDS to date? 
Yes, it has mostly been me. We have had other developers work on pieces of the code, but I'm involved in every release. When we have betas we also elicit feedback from developers to make sure the product works as it should in the “real world”.

What has been most rewarding about bringing TDS to the Sitecore community?
It must be going to a symposium, sitting in an audience and seeing presenters doing presentations with TDS Classic in their Visual Studio solutions. It's like wow, I wrote that!

Charlie works out of Hedgehog’s Holbrook, New York Headquarters. You can connect with him through LinkedIn. 


TDS Classic Charlie Turano TDS Classic 5.8

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