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February 17, 2017 / kiranpatils

Sitecore Helix Basics


Hey Friends, I’m excited to share many of first post of 2017! So, far it has been great year and I know a lot of you are MVP now or MVP Again — Congratulations Very well deserved! – Please make sure you help someone else become one — Because sharing is caring — Nice story

Since last year we have been hearing a lot about Habitat and then Helix and lot of people appreciating what Habitat or Helix is. You also heard/read about it? But:

  • You are afraid of It? Because Habitat solution is huge and you get confused how to set it up. Because it involves a lot of tools to set up e.g. gulp etc. [This is good point to upgrade your web/technology knowledge. It is evolving a lot. All of us accept that FED Technology is seeing lot of huge changes, and .NET Core team is doing super awesome stuff. If you don’t upgrade your self, there are chances of you being dinosaur in this industry]
  • Confused between Habitat and Helix
  • You setup your Habitat solution. But when you opened it. You got overwhelmed?
  • In this process, you don’t know how to get started and what’s the starting path for you to embrace Sitecore Helix?

Then this post is for you — This post will do 95% job to help you getting started on Helix — What about other 5%? — Will share about it before end of this post. So, let’s Helix


Before we get further in technical details. Let’s try to understand what is the dictionary meaning of “Helix” – Wiki says “an object having a three-dimensional shape like that of a wire wound uniformly in a single layer around a cylinder or cone, as in a corkscrew or spiral staircase.”

Source : Wiki

It will be great to hear about naming directly from horse’s mouth some day.

Let’s get on point, How I got started on Helix? Exactly in same order:

Okay, Thank you for those resources. But can you please share your basics with me? So, I can get quickly started. Sure, here we go. I will share my learnings and understandings:

  • What is difference between Habitat vs Helix?
    • Helix :
      • Sitecore® Helix is a set of official guidelines and recommended practices for Sitecore Development.
      • Set of architecture conventions and guidelines that describe how to apply recommended technical design principles to a Sitecore project.
      • Secure implementations in a future proof way by architecting them as maintainable and extensible business centric modules
      • Development process recommendations to make it as easy as possible to build, test, extend, and maintain Sitecore implementations
    • Habitat :
      • Habitat is an example project that follows the Helix principles and recommended practices.
  • Why we need Helix?
    • Dependencies : If you look at dependencies, left side-show non helix project — Where any module is talking to any module — And as project becomes huge. No one makes small change with confidence — To make a one line change — Developer/QA/Stakeholders — Have to keep their fingers crossed. And still they have issues and because of it, they either have to miss dinner/lunch/outing with friends/baseball match/cricket match. But when things are done Helix way — right side. There are some standard ways – How each module talks to each other — And that gives everyone full confidence before making any change! — It is simple maths — Invest on strong foundation and take returns in a longer run! dependencies
    • Following diagram, clarifies that — As the project dependencies grow — lot of time spent on coupling rather than feature — and that increase time taken as well!why-helix
  • There are some logical layers defined, and you try to follow it – This image is very self explanatory. You just need to know three things – Foundation, Feature, Project – And each one of them should hold things which suits to their name:layers-basic
  • Benefit of using proposed layers — See this example – When you have multiple sites — They can have all foundational and featured things available! – Standard Sitecore Multisite way of doing things:layer-example
  • Helix also guides you how you need to structure your templates – Which are heart of any Sitecore projects : helix-template-inheritance
  • There are few Helix dependency rules you need to follow — You can break it. But then there is no point in using Helix:helix-rules
    • There is a strict reference hierarchy of module categories. Projects -> Features -> Foundations.
    • Project modules cannot reference other projects, but can reference any Features and Foundations.
    • Feature modules cannot reference any Project modules or other Feature modules. They can reference Foundations
    • Foundations can only reference other Foundations.
  • How to add advance things like GlassMapper, Sitecore 8.2 DI, Code Gen, TDS : Good question, We spend sometime and made it possible. This thread might help you get quick started [If not, give me a shout] :
  • If you think — There are a lot of Manual steps involved in adding a feature and foundation – Look at the great work done by Marc :
  • Akshay also did good stuff taking this forward for initial setup :

It seems a lot? I know, I realized after writing. But I wanted to share all our basics with you. Because when we had to start, we were literally struggling to get started. But now, we did it. Thought to share with you. So, it saves some of your time, which you can spend with your loved ones or for other important things!

In Summary,

  • Helix is not a rocket science, It is same Sitecore code. But how and where you write it — That is standardized by Sitecore — As Sitecore support team is also using same methodology. So, it is easy for them to help you troubleshoot
  • Just imagine, your company adopts Helix and all projects which your company does, does in Helix [Including your project :-)]. After sometime, any developer can jump from one project to another project – Project on boarding will be super easy — (S)he just need to know business domain. I have seen lot of project leads, don’t allow new developers on board even though they can support more developers in project — Because of project on boarding — Helix helps us all speak same language!
  • “Helix is like Maths, Once you get it. You enjoy it and would like to do it again and again”

I am sure you must be curious t o know what else 5% I need to do to get 100% knowledge on Sitecore Helix? It’s simple — Get your hands on it. Coding is like swimming. You have to dive in to swim/code!

It was fun to work along with Muktesh and Varun on Helix basics! Thanks to all folks who already wrote about it, which helped us to get it started sooner!

Good read:


Happy Sitecoring! 🙂



Leave a Comment
  1. Mathias Rechtzigel / Feb 17 2017 11:04 pm

    Congrats on the MVP status Kiran! Very well deserved!

    Looking forward at what Helix as a methodology can do to give projects a more solid structure!

    • kiranpatils / Mar 15 2017 12:41 pm

      @Mathias : Thank you!

  2. chorpo / Mar 20 2017 3:13 am

    Congrats Kiran for MVP. Really deserved it. I have created ePub, mobi and PDF version of helix documentation if anybody interested 🙂 Check here ->


  1. Sitecore Helix Knowledge Base – Sitecore – CMS
  2. Helix, 8.2 DI and An error occurred when trying to create a controller of type ‘ScBasics.Feature.Nav.NavController’. Make sure that the controller has a parameterless public constructor | Sitecore basics!
  3. The Sitecore Basics Test : Symptoms of failing Sitecore Project | Sitecore basics!
  4. Sitecore Helix Basics – KelvTech

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