If there’s one question I hear more than any other it’s this: “Hey, because Sitecore didn’t use TDS in Habitat, does that mean TDS doesn’t work with Habitat?”
Short answer: Not at all! TDS and Habitat work very well together.
Long answer: Sitecore created the Helix architecture as a recommended way of building websites. To demonstrate that, Sitecore created a demo site, Habitat. They wanted it to be accessible to the entire community and using a paid product like TDS for that defeats the purpose. But (and this is the important part) Habitat, by its definition, is supposed to be an example of an architectural direction, an approach to take in order to achieve modularity, and therefore (hopefully) an easily maintainable solution over time. Following a true modular architecture, every component in Habitat is removable and replaceable, which means that TDS is absolutely compatible with Habitat. A TDS branch of the Habitat demo site is freely available in Github.
TDS is considered best of breed and is a paid product in much the same way that Sitecore is considered best of breed and is a paid product. As a paid product we at Hedgehog have the ability to tune in to the community and to update our product quickly as the needs of the community change.
Not only that, TDS does a lot more than just item serialization. The same way that Sitecore does a lot more than just manage content. Utilizing the full feature set of TDS, your developers can greatly improve their efficiency, and maximize their output...the same way marketers can fully utilize the capabilities of Sitecore's xDB, not just the Rich Text editor.