May 07, 2019 | Sean Holmesby and Charles Turano
At SUGCON London, Sitecore announced they would be switching over their default serialization format to Rainbow, a YAML-based format for Sitecore serialization in Sitecore version 9.2.
This is a change from the much-maligned .item format that has existed as the default serialization format in Sitecore since its inception. The change to Rainbow is something we’re really excited about as it simplifies source control diffs and merges.
As TDS Classic works with Sitecore’s serialization, it has historically also used the .item format. The merge problem that exists with that format was first dealt with in 2014 when we shipped the Sitecore Item Merge Tool with the TDS Classic MSI. This Item Merge tool was again enhanced with the recent release of TDS Classic 5.8, providing a much friendlier way of visualizing the conflicting changes.
In 2015, a year after the initial release of the Item Merge Tool, the Rainbow serialization format was created as an open source project in an attempt to also deal with the .item format problem. It uses YAML files (.yml) to hold the field contents and definitions of the Sitecore items in a cleaner text format that is less troublesome for merges.
Now, in 2019, Sitecore 9.2 will likely move to using Rainbow as the default serialization format in the platform itself moving away from .item files.
Now the switch, and compatibility
We’ve been testing TDS Classic with the YAML-based format for a while using the items in the open source Habitat repository. We’ll also be closely working with Sitecore to ensure that TDS Classic will support the change the day that 9.2 is released.
For now, we have an internal build of TDS Classic where we are able to create TDS projects with .yml files instead of .item files. In this code branch, we got the file parser working, and saw that the other features of TDS worked without any additional changes.
We will continue to test all of the other TDS Classic features that go far beyond simple serialization, to make sure that they all work with the official change to Rainbow.
The Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow
We can’t wait to get our hands on a version of Sitecore 9.2 with Rainbow serialization. We have been thinking through the various scenarios our customers can and will encounter and have been preparing for them. To make this process as smooth as possible we anticipate an updated release of TDS Classic shortly after Sitecore releases their updates.