You certainly don’t need to backup and restore the gateway to change project files externally. In v8, you can’t edit Vision files in a text editor as they’re binary files. However if you were using Perspective, then you can easily edit those as Victor said as their files are simply JSON.
In v7 all project resources are stored in the config.db. You can however copy the Windows and Templates in Vision to the clipboard as XML and re-import it, but good luck!! The XML is super optimised and very difficult to edit. If you want to see the XML, shift+right click on a Window or Template and you’ll see the options down the bottom of the context menu.
Coincidentally, you can copy and paste the JSON of Perspective Views using the same method.