April 11, 2017 | Sean Holmesby and Jacqueline Baxter
Each version of TDS Classic comes with the same goal: to make developers lives easier. Every feature in our products is aimed at making the development process smoother (and most of them come from user feedback!) Some of these features aren't quite as well-known as others, but they help smooth and improve the development experience.
Delta Builds and Packages by Changed Date
Delta Builds only includes Sitecore items in deployment/package if they are changed after a specified date. This feature dramatically reduces deployment time and package size in TDS Classic projects; rather than attempting to deploy every item in the TDS Classic project, Delta Builds allows the user to assume that older items have already been deployed and so quickly skips them rather than triggering a re-deploy. Delta Builds is activated in the "General" TDS property tab.
Around for a few versions (they were introduced in 5.0), Validators are a lot like FxCop for Sitecore. They look for problems in a project and alert you to their existence at build time. With modular architecture becoming more standard in the field, Validators can be very useful when setting up warnings and constraints against certain conditions that might occur during a build process.
Because the definition of item groups is now split across many projects, the settings for each item group will need to be defined multiple times. This can create a situation where the settings are incorrectly set up on different projects. With Validators, users can set them up to confirm that settings are correct everywhere. TDS Classic comes with several validators, and our team has also created a few custom validators available on our GitHub.
Content File Sync
Many TDS users work outside the web root. Changing a content file, such as a CS HTML or CSS file, means that users need to use an external script or run a build to push that file to Sitecore. Enabling Content File Sync means that TDS pushes those files automatically.
Content File Sync automatically copies the 'content' files (i.e. the front-end files), so users don't need to do a build, and therefore do not need to copy the back-end files (DLLs) to their website. Compiling and copying the back-end files to the website would mean the App Pool recycles, which means that it takes longer for the site to come up. But for users just making front-end changes, Content File Sync allows them to quickly reload the site and see the changes without having to wait for the App Pool recycle time.