Archive for March, 2011

MetaVis Platform Features Overview: Copy content types with dependencies

March 29, 2011

A content type is a reusable collection of metadata (fields) and other settings that could be applied to SharePoint items. A content type in SharePoint may have a parent content type, which in turn may have another parent and so on. A content type may also have fields some of which it can inherit from its parents and the other fields could be created right inside this content type. Content types could also be added to lists or libraries that allows them to be used to assign metadata values to items or documents.

This way, content types form pretty complex structure in SharePoint site collections. Look at the example below generated by MetaVis Architect

 

 

 

MetaVis Migrator for SharePoint can copy all content types including their complete parent hierarchy and fields when a user copies a list or library that used these content types. MetaVis Migrator also reproduces source content type hierarchy in the target environment when copying the whole site.

 

Recently we added the function that allows users to copy just one selected content type from one site to the other one in one operation including all tree of the parent content types and all fields in these content types.

 

Select source and target sites in MetaVis Navigation Tree, Start Compare, expand Content Type compare area, select the content type to copy and click Copy from Left to Right button (or Copy from Right to Left button depending of the circumstances)

 

 

Using this operation MetaVis Migrator will copy the selected content type and all its dependencies.

 

MetaVis Change Manager allows scheduling content type copy activities using simple copy / paste or drag-n-drop gesture on MetaVis Navigation Tree. Unlike MetaVis Migrator, Change Manager displays content types in the navigation tree and allows copying them between different sites.

 

 

A part of MetaVis Change Manager functionality is to execute activities for multiple source and target site pairs provided by Excel spreadsheet. This function allows to mass-distribute content types between multiple site collections as a part of an execution of a single activity.

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MetaVis Platform Features Overview: Browse and Copy Individual WEB Parts between WEB Part Pages

March 23, 2011

Users and administrators use WEB Parts to customize look and feel and behavior of SharePoint pages. WEB Parts could be used to customize WEB Part Pages located in document libraries, Publishing Pages located in the Pages library of the publishing sites, WIKI Pages, system pages like site home pages or list views or update pages.

MetaVis Architect Suite provides an easy way to list WEB Parts for any selected page and to copy WEB Parts between pages. Find WEB Part Page in MetaVis Content View, right click on the page and select Show WEB Parts.

 

 

Show WEB Parts menu item brings the WEB Parts Viewer that displays WEB Parts located on the selected page.

 

 

It is possible to copy and paste or to drag and drop WEB Parts from MetaVis WEB Parts Viewer to any other WEB Part page in MetaVis Navigator tree or content viewer.

 

While MetaVis Migrator for SharePoint allows immediate copy of WEB Parts, MetaVis Change Manager for SharePoint creates activities that could be executed at the later time. As usual, MetaVis Change Manager activities could be executed at once for multiple targets. It could simplify such operations like mass distributing WEB Parts from list view page to hundreds of the sites in multiple SharePoint farms.

 

Another interesting functionality of WEB Parts View is the ability to save WEB Part XML definition to the file on the local computer. To do this, right click on the WEB Part in the WEB Part Viewer and select Save XML Config to File option like on the picture below.

 

MetaVis Platform Features Overview: Bulk user mapping to add or replace domain in login names

March 8, 2011

Many if not all SharePoint objects have user accounts associated with them. They could come in the form of basic item or document properties like Created By or Modified By. The other example is the value in Person or Group field. Users could also be members of SharePoint security groups or object permission records.

One of the common problems that arise when people copy SharePoint objects or the whole site collections between active directory domains is to change account information when copying users. For a long time MetaVis Migrator used to have an ability to specify user mapping when performing copy operations. Each Copy Wizard to copy items, lists, sites, permissions or user groups includes the controls to provide user mapping

User mapping should be provided in the form of CSV file with a row per user mapping. Each row should specify account name is the source and target environments separated with comma.

While this approach works well in majority of the situations it is often hard to compile user mapping file if environments contain hundreds if not thousand user accounts.

To cover the situation with bulk user mapping, MetaVis Migrator added the ability to provide user-mapping rows using wildcard specifications like on the picture below

In addition to this, the wildcard specification could just add a domain to the account that does not have domain in the source environment

The later mapping could be user to map user accounts from FBA environments or from non-user fields like text field or MS Office Authors or Last Saved By fields.

It is worth to note that the wildcard records could be provided in the mapping file in addition to the real account mapping. This technics provides the mechanism to specify default values to the user mapping in addition to the direct mapping of the account that have more changes in the source and target environment than just domain change.

MetaVis Platform Features Overview: Discover WEB Applications and Site Collections in a Server Farm

March 7, 2011

One of the new function we recently added to MetaVis platform is the ability to list all site collections in a given server farm. The user is expected to provide URL to the farm’s Central Administration console and supply server farm administrator credentials. There are several business cases we want to apply this function in the future. We started with the simple ability to select the site collection to connect to on SharePoint Connection Wizard.

 

Discover Site Collections button on the SharePoint Connection Wizard leads to the screens that list all site collection in the server farm.

 

 

On a first screen of Discover wizard the user is prompted to connect to server far central administration console and pick a WEB Application.

 

 

On the last screen of the Discover Site Collection Wizard the user can browse, filter and select site collection to use to connect to the new site.

 

 

Current use of Discover Site Collection wizard is to select a site collection to connect to. Our plan is to reuse this functionality to implement functions that perform mass-operations with existing site collections. For example, next function we plan to roll out based on the Discover functionality will let users to copy multiple selected site collections to the other server farm. The other variation of the save function will be the ability to copy My Sites between SharePoint farms.

MetaVis Platform Features Overview: Browse out-of-the-lists database objects and copy them between sites

March 3, 2011

SharePoint users create content in lists and libraries. However, developers and administrators may create content using SharePoint Designer application. This content may not accessible through lists and libraries but it still could be used for branding, navigation and user interaction purposes.

Developers usually create such SharePoint Designer objects like HTML Pages, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS files), WEB Part pages, images to display on the pages and folders to keep other objects. WEB Part pages created in this way could be also customized by power users using regular Edit functionality available on SharePoint GUI even without SharePoint Designer. Power users and administrators can manage WEB Parts and some text on these pages.

Large portion of SharePoint itself is implemented using such SharePoint Designer objects. For example, familiar default.aspx home page of SharePoint 2007 team sites is implemented using this technique. Another example is list views, new and update items pages like AllItems.asmx that could be customized by adding WEB Parts and some branding elements.

Right click on site or a list node in MetaVis Migrator Navigation tree, select Objects menu item and select Show SharePoint Designer Objects submenu to reveal SharePoint Designer objects for the selected site or list.

SharePoint Designer Objects viewer looks and works much like any other content viewer in MetaVis Applications. A user can drag and drop or copy and paste objects from this view to sites and lists in the other sites or site collections or even to regular document libraries. There is also an option to view and to copy WEB Parts located on WEB Part pages.

While MetaVis Migrator allows immediate copy of SharePoint Designer objects, MetaVis Change Manager creates activities that could be executed at the later time. As usual, MetaVis Change Manager activities could be executed at once for multiple targets. It could simplify such operations like mass distributing WEB Parts from list view page to hundreds of the sites in multiple SharePoint farms.

Management of SharePoint Designer objects in MetaVis Platform makes it possible to mass distribute branding, navigation and other SharePoint customizations from development to staging to production environments.

Overview of new features in MetaVis Applications

March 1, 2011

First days of spring brought us warmer weather, melted snow and longer days. We did quite a bit of development in MetaVis Tech since the beginning of the year introducing new features that help to Organize your SharePoint. Now we feel it is a good time to talk about new features we introduced in the perspective of current and future development.

 

Today we start the series of articles introducing new features. We begin with the list and later we will dig deeper into the details of motivation, business case, use and future plans for the new functionality we added.

 

  • Discover all WEB Applications and Site Collections in a server farm
  • Browse out-of-the-lists database objects and copy them between sites
  • Bulk import files from file system with their metadata defined in a spreadsheet
  • Copy / paste or drag and drop WEB Parts between arbitrary WEB Part pages in SharePoint lists or out-of-the list system folders
  • Bulk user mapping to add or replace domain in login names
  • Copy content types with dependencies (fields and parent content types)
  • Browse list or library permissions and copy selected list permissions between lists.
  • Site and list content reports with the option to include versions for list content
  • Mass delete site and list permissions, site groups or users from groups and site permission levels
  • Map parts of the folder path to a SharePoint field when copying documents or items from SharePoint sites or tagging document or items in SharePoint
  • Easy packaging for accessing SharePoint in Office 365 Cloud
  • Bulk import files from file system with the simultaneous tagging enabled in SharePoint GUI through Cloud Classifier