If you want to copy items like templates, renderings or placeholders in between environments then you can use TDS (Installing And Configuring TDS For Sitecore) to make your life a lot easier.
Deploying content between environments can be a lot more complicated and tricky, especially during upgrades. If you have content editors working on the current database, while in the background you branch off with an upgrade version to upgrade and test, ensuring no content is lost will make everyone in the business happier.
Another common example is needing to pull the latest data from production back into your local Sitecore instance to try and test something. Completely blatting your dev database for the production database can be tedious and non-practical.
If you have faced any of these scenarios and want a better approach then, Hedgehog developments, Razl might be worth investing in.
Software Architect, Programmer and Technologist Jon Jones is founder and CEO of London-based tech firm Digital Prompt. He has been working in the field for nearly a decade, specializing in new technologies and technical solution research in the web business. A passionate blogger by heart , speaker & consultant from England.. always on the hunt for the next challenge