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Sitecore Habitat with TDS Classic

This version of Habitat is using Team Development For Sitecore Classic (TDS Classic) for Item Serialization and Deployments.

This repository tries to stay up to date with the latest from the original repository, but replaces the serialization engine with TDS Classic for a better, faster, and more efficient development and deployment experience.

To understand the source control strategy for this repository and how it is kept up to date with the original repository, see this blog post.


  1. Clone this repository to your local file system.
  2. Set up a clean Sitecore 9.1 Initial Release website. The codebase uses this version with it's referenced NuGet packages and configs, so using any other Sitecore version may require changes to the code.
  1. Open the solution in Visual Studio.
  2. (optional) Configure your settings if you are using other settings than default: To change the standard location of source, website files and website URL modify the following files:
  • /Configuration/TdsGlobal.config
  • /Project/Common/code/App_Config/Environment/Project/Common.Dev.config
  1. Deploy the Solution (Right click on the solution -> Deploy Solution) in Visual Studio 2017. This will restore all NuGet packages, build the code, and deploy all Sitecore Items and Project Items to your local website.
  2. Be productive!

Differences from the original repo

Serialization and Deployment

TDS is an Enterprise-grade, Sitecore development and deployment tool created by Hedgehog Development. At its core, it provides companies with the ability to automate their Sitecore builds or set up a continuous deployment scenarios. TDS provides several additional features its users find valuable, for more information visit:

Config Transforms

Config transforms are implemented through XDT transforms using Visual Studio builds and TDS's in-build transforming capabilities. This works similar to the popular Visual Studio extension, Slow Cheetah.

  • The Sitecore, out-of-the-box App_Config/Security/Domains.config and Web.config are included in the solution (in the Project.Habitat module)
  • App_Config/Security/Domains.config is patched during a build using the Domains.[Configuration].config file. This transform file includes the transforms from Feature.Accounts and Foundation.Accounts from the original repo.
  • Web.config is patched, and directly has the transforms from the Foundation.Installer and Project.Common modules in it.

Build Order

In order for the solution to deploy correctly, we needed to tell it to deploy in the order that the Sitecore Helix principles dictate. This order is generally Foundation modules, then Feature modules, then Project modules. As some Foundation modules rely on other Foundation modules, it is required that those dependent modules are deployed first. It is noted that the Serialization, SitecoreExtensions, Assets, Dictionary and Indexing modules need to be deployed first, as other Foundation modules rely on them. After that we have enforced the deployment of the Foundation modules alphaetically, followed by the Feature modules alphabetically, followed by Project.Common, and then Project.Habitat. The Test projects are then deployed, in order of Foundation (alphabetical) then Feature (alphabetical).

This Build Order is setup by explicitly adding dependencies to previous modules using Visual Studio's 'Build Dependencies -> Project Dependencies' dialog. In order to achieve the appropriate order, each module's TDS project is explicitly set to depend on the previous module's TDS project. i.e Feature.Media.Master.scproj will depend on Feature.Maps.Master.scproj. Therefore, explicitly added dependencies are only linked between TDS projects, not code projects.

The Original Habitat Repository

The original Habitat repository is an example Sitecore solution built on the Helix architecture principles. It is designed to show how a Helix-based solution can be architected, and to demonstrate how tooling can be used to accomplish publishing, serialization, and testing. Habitat is not intended to be a starter solution, or as a recommendation of tools for your solutions.

The architecture and methodology focuses on:

  • Simplicity - A consistent and discoverable architecture
  • Flexibility - Change and add quickly and without worry
  • Extensibility - Simply add new features without steep learning curve

For more information on Helix, please go to

Is Habitat a starter kit or template solution?

No. You should not clone this repository for the purposes of starting a new Sitecore project. There are other community solutions which can be used as a starter for Helix-based Sitecore implementations. Habitat is intended as a reference example of a Helix-based Sitecore implementation.

Is Habitat supported by Sitecore?

Sitecore maintains the Helix documentation and Habitat example, but Habitat code is not supported by Sitecore Product Support Services. Please do not submit support tickets regarding Habitat.

How can I get help with Habitat?

For usage questions regarding Habitat installation or code, or questions about Helix, please utilize Sitecore Stackexchange or #helix-habitat on Sitecore Community Slack.

You can use GitHub to submit bug reports or feature requests for Habitat. Please do not submit usage questions via GitHub.

How to Increase Build and Deployment Times

When creating your own Helix-based solutions, please consider some of the ways that you can improve build and deployment times. Some possible solutions for this can be found here:-

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