Unless I misunderstood, would there be no point in using TMS if you did that? You mind as well just edit the regular templates or am I missing something? For instance, if you do a full string replace on the template content and an upgrade to XF changes the template, your modification will now no longer match. If instead you choose to use the php callback option and just overwrite the template instead and there is a change, your modification will persist, but you won't get the new changes and it'll probably be a hassle to go through and update them all. Similarly, if you choose to use a regular expression to match the template, it might take more effort to create the regex than to actually just have separate edits. In the end, it's probably a preference? The more you match, the higher the chance of having to update your changes. I'm just more surprised he didn't give descriptions to the majority of his edits. You'd have to open up each one to find out what it was about.
It could be an issue I suppose but either way your searching for a certain part of the template that could be updated in a new xf release. Since there has only been 1 or 2 XF updates for the life of the TMS it is hard to tell how well any of it will work.
Rebuilding templates in the TMS updates the modifications but only to a certain point, you will generally still have to make adjustments where needed in the find and replace. Yes the more you replace the chances are higher for having to make corrections on updates, but I was just looking at the templates he had 4+ modifications for. Descriptions are definitely a good thing, lol.
Well you can use TMS the smart way and the not so smart way. I did that for a few templates, but that was when I was a noob. I'm gonna change it as I progress. If you do that for all templates that means all templates changes coming from addons and future XF versions are overwritten or can't be applied due to missing or not matching strings. It would be a pain to change the way you apply edits to your templates in order to get addons working. If you do it the smart way, you won't have this problem.
Either way the strings may not match, but if the modification needs updating it would be easier to compare 1 template/modification than 3,4,5 different ones when updating. First on a new release of XF do the Rebuild Templates in the TMS and see what modifications are no longer applied.
I'd rather have 3, 4, 5 simple to maintain edits than 1 big bowl of edits. For example I have icons for navigation items. If I want to disable an icon for one item, I just have to uncheck the checkbox (just like addons). Now if I have all icons stored in one file I have to open it, search the template and delete it from there.