Archive for July, 2010

Merge SharePoint 2010 Term Sets using MetaVis Migrator

July 28, 2010

Sometimes it becomes important to copy SharePoint term sets between different SharePoint server farms. The first idea is to delete the term set or part of its hierarchy from the target location and then re-import it from the source. It does not seem like a right approach though if there are some data (items or documents) in the target environment that already use the existing terms. With MetaVis Migrator it is possible to copy term hierarchies between SharePoint servers preserving terms that already exist in the target environment and adding the new terms from the source to the right branches of the taxonomy tree.

The feature to merge terms opens an interesting opportunity to author and manage term sets in a development or QA environment and then, when time comes, bring updates to the production environment. In some other cases, this copy process should go in the other direction when developers or vendors periodically want to get the actual copy or the production taxonomies into their systems without destroying their current content metadata.

Let’s take a look at the details of how this feature works. Like some other readers of this BLOG at some point we faced the problem of moving from beta version of SharePoint 2010 to the production one so we needed to copy term sets too. This is how our Cameras term set looks in our destination SharePoint 2010 RTM (it has port 8091 in its URL).

This is the same Cameras term set in the source SharePoint 2010 beta server farm (it has port 8090 in its URL). Someone added models for Canon cameras there while both environments were active.

The copy process is simple: first, right click on the Cameras term set in the source environment and select Copy. Ctrl-C (or Command-C on Mac) also works.

Then, navigate to the destination term store, right click on the term group with the Cameras term set and select Paste. Key combinations Ctrl-V for Windows and Command-V on Mac would do the same.

In response to Paste action MetaVis Migrator will display Copy Terms Wizard. Here we select Copy With Children to copy the whole term tree. We also select Merge that will instruct MetaVis to reuse the terms that already exist in the tree instead of generating an error. We click Finish to complete the copy process.

A couple of seconds later we pass a completion message with detailed log about what was actually copied. Here we observe the result – term set Cameras looks exactly like it looks in the source environment including our updates in the Canon branch. Hopefully, this time our users will stop updating taxonomies in our SharePoint 2010 beta and they will switch to our SharePoint 2010 RTM. If not then we will repeat this procedure again.

Copy SharePoint 2010 Document Sets with MetaVis Migrator

July 20, 2010

Document Set is a new kind of objects supported by SharePoint 2010. The concept of Document Set has been around for quite a while in different content management systems. In Documentum they called it Virtual Document or, some of them, Assembly; in LiveLink they called it Compound Document. Microsoft brought this concept to SharePoint in its latest version. Document Set is a way to group related documents together. In a certain way it is like a folder but with several important differences. In some other way document set is like a document that consists of several other documents. Below is the picture of a Document Set with three documents inside and visible document set ribbon menu.

Document set is like a folder in a way that it can contain other documents and it could be located in a library together with other documents, folders or document sets. This is how document sets look in a list of documents.

Unlike folder, document set could be limited to contain only documents of certain content types. For example, we may create a document set content type in a list so that each document set instance will contain only Software Specifications and Project Plans.

Moreover, document sets, like regular documents, could have versions and could be sent to workflows as a single whole. For example, we can send a Car Loan Application document set with all its documents to an Approval workflow so that someone will check that all required documents are included in the set.

Latest version of MetaVis Migrator supports document sets in SharePoint 2010 sites as any other native SharePoint object. This is how document set looks in MetaVis interface. Copy it, paste it or drag it and drop to another list, site or server, alone or together with other documents or as a part of a list of a site.

Do not forget to select <Keep Original> Content Type on the properties page of the Copy Items Wizard if you do item level copy because there are several content types involved when you copy document sets.

Manage SharePoint Taxonomies with MetaVis Migrator

July 19, 2010

One of the most powerful features in SharePoint 2010 is Managed Metadata Columns. These columns allow users to pick values for a custom field from large list of values using easy and efficient GUI with hierarchical selections, filtering and type-ahead capabilities right at the tip of the mouse. For the best utilization of the managed metadata columns power they should rely on the hierarchical lists of values called taxonomies. Taxonomies could be created by administrators or power users, librarians or taxonomists. Taxonomies could be also created by the content authors tagging content with new metadata. In this later case managed metadata columns may be configured to accept new values from the users. These values will be inserted into taxonomies at the time the content gets tagged.

Taxonomies are defined in a Term Stores. Term Store is one of the objects managed by SharePoint 2010 new Managed Metadata Service. Term stores as well as terms inside them are shared between multiple site collections on the same server farm. This feature allows managed metadata columns from different site collections refer to the same terms. Term stores contain taxonomy groups. Groups allow administrators to set up term set security governing permissions for managers and contributors for all terms in the group. Each group may contain several Term Sets. Each Term Set may define certain topic and contain a hierarchy of terms. A term is a basic building block of SharePoint 2010 taxonomies. A term defines a value that could be selected by a user with managed metadata column. Terms may also contain hierarchies of other terms.

SharePoint 2010 provides pretty good administration for taxonomies in Central Administration site. Taxonomy management screen is also accessible from the site properties panel. Taxonomy management in SharePoint 2010 even includes Approval workflow for terms with delayed publishing or certain term hierarchies at the given time. However there is no easy way to re-organize different branches of the taxonomy hierarchy, merge several branches in one or copy term trees between term sets. The need to do this often arises when taxonomies got collected by the power users using editable managed metadata columns and then need to be re-organized by administrators to present best selection hierarchies for the regular authors or content taggers to use. The other need that often arises when managing taxonomies is to copy term sets or parts of the term set tree to completely different SharePoint server farm.

After realizing that these basic copy operations with terms will be useful for SharePoint 2010 community we added term store manager in MetaVis Migrator for SharePoint . Below is the picture of MetaVis view of SharePoint 2010 Term Store. You can see there a Term Store with Term Groups underneath, Term Sets like Cameras or Countries with term hierarchies. MetaVis allows to copy any of these objects from the term group and down the hierarchy and paste it to any other object inside the same hierarchy, to the other server or in the middle of the taxonomy tree of the other server farm.