TDS And Duplicate Items

April 18, 2013

From time to time we get feature requests for Team Development for Sitecore to support multiple sub-items with the same name as shown below.

- sitecore
    - content
        - home
            - article-1
            - article-1
            - article-2

This topic has been discussed internally at Hedgehog for the last few years and unfortunately it is a feature that we don’t plan on supporting. The reality is that we can’t find a good reason to ever have items at the same level with the same name. Examples would be:

  • Fields of a template with the same name: the field wouldn’t be accessible by its name since there are multiple
  • Templates with the same name: Again, using the Sitecore API you wouldn’t know which one you are getting
  • Content with the same name: There would be a single URL addressing two pieces of content. You wouldn’t know which one is served up.

There are a couple of cases where we hear requests for duplicate item support.

  1. The ‘Divider’ items in the ‘core’ database
  2. When there are issues with the actual items. An example of this would be somehow a template has multiple ‘__standard values’ items and the customer reports the problem. However, the problem in this case is actually in their Sitecore database and the extra item should be removed. Therefore, having lack of support for duplicate item names actually helped find a problem for them!

For times when people request support for duplicate item names in order to handle the ‘Divider’ issue we tell them to rename the dividers in the core database. The name of the ‘Divider’ item is irrelevant and if you rename them to Divider-1, Divider-2, etc… it will work as expected and TDS will not complain.

We have also worked with Sitecore about the ‘Divider’ issue and they said they will try to make the renames as part of a future release.

If you, or your colleagues, can come up with a good business reason to have duplicate item names in a Sitecore installation please let us know!

Update 12/3/2013
As of Sitecore 7.1, the dividers in the core database have been renamed so that they have unique names! See 381310

Comments (5) -

Ben Golden

I think I am one of the people who has made this request.  Personally, I think that TDS should support any content tree that Sitecore supports.  However, I think it would probably be better if Sitecore were to prohibit duplicate item paths.  They already have a validator for this, so I wouldn't think it would be too hard for them to make this a more critical failure.


I think this 'feature' in Sitecore is one of those things where "just because you can, doesn't mean you should." I agree that the validator they added was a step in the right direction, but prohibition would be lovely!

Can you give a good reason to ever have duplicate items?

Joe Edwards

The main reason I can think is that the stock, out-of-the-box Sitecore Core database contains duplicate item names (the dreaded Dividers), so just adding that tree in the first place requires painful manual renaming (and then it's no longer "stock, out-of-the-box").

It's bad from a user experience standpoint: your users' very first sync with Core will throw up several error messages which require manual resolution, which is not a good first impression.


Again it comes back to the divider issue. Sitecore tells me they are going to work on renaming them in the future (since they agree duplicate item names are bad) so it will hopefully be a non-issue.


Just an update to this. As of Sitecore 7.1 the Divider issue is now gone! See issue #381310 in Sitecore 7.1 release notes.

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