Quite simply Virtual Template System for EPiServer allows users to view and modify templates from the EPiServer UI. Why would you do this? The internet is a fast moving world and our customers and clients are demanding. They may not want to wait for a full release to update a template and shouldn't really need to if it's only for a couple of lines of mark up or CSS to be changed. Virtual Template System tries to help this issue by allowing users to make templates visible and editable from the EPiServer UI.
What does it look like?
The UI is added under a new "Templates" menu. Here you can view templates that are registered and also bring existing templates in to Virtual Template System to allow them to be edited via the EPiServer UI. The UI is quite rudimentary at the moment and I have plans to enhance it in the future.
How does it work?
The virtualisation process copies a template that sits within the application from disk into a repository (the DDS by default). All subsequent requests for this template are then served from the repository via a custom Virtual Path Provider that sits at the top of the provider chain. Items in the repository are editable via the EPiServer UI. When repository items are saved the cache is invalidated, ASP.net recognises it as a new template, compiles the new version (if necessary) and uses it from then on.
The EPiServer cache manager is used under the hood so if you site is load balanced it will also ensure the template updates made via the Virtual Template System UI are pushed across all load balanced servers immediately without the need for a release.
How do I get it?
Is this something you think you could use for your clients? Have you encountered the need to update a template online before? Whatever your thoughts please let me know in the comments or on @davidknipe
In my next post I give a quick rundown using of Virtual Template System for EPiServer