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Review of: SharePoint Content Deployment Wizard

The SharePoint Content Deployment Wizard from Chris Obrien is a excellent tool for SharePoint 2007 content deployment.

Advantages:

  • Ability to “cherry-pick” content to deploy using a tree view – this is from entire site collection down to individual lists, folders, list items (including files)
  • Dependencies of selected content (e.g. referenced CSS files, master pages) are automatically included in the export – check ‘Exclude dependencies of selected objects’ to disable this.
  • All required content types, columns etc. are automatically included in the export.
  • In contrast to STSADM export, it is possible to retain GUIDs during deployment. This is required for scenarios where the destination should be a mirror-image of the source, such as staging/production environments for the same site
  • Open Source and free

Disadvantages:

  • Cannot automate the deployment using scripts.
  • No file system files (assemblies, SharePoint Solutions/Features etc.) are deployed – these must already be present on the target for the import to succeed).
  • Following content does not get captured by the Content Migration API – alerts, audit trail, change log history, recycle-bin items, workflow tasks/state.
  • Does not support incremental changes.
  • No official Support available

Things to know:

  • Content is exported using the Content Migration API (PRIME) as a .cmp file (Content Migration Package)
  • Tool must be installed locally on the server which hosts the site
  • Not all features of the Content Migration API are supported by the tool
  • It must be run under an account which has the appropriate permissions to the SharePoint site – use the Windows ‘Run as..’ feature to do this if necessary.

Scenario’s (When to use this tool):

As per the author “I would suggest the tool could well have a place in your SharePoint toolbox, but it’s likely to be something you use every now and then, rather than all the time.

The two main scenarios where I use the tool are:

  • At the end of the development phase when I need to move a site from development to staging/production. Here, the tool allows me to be sure that all relationships/linkages between objects will be preserved (so no problems with ListViewWebParts/DataViewWebParts/InfoPath forms for example)
  • Any odd occasions where I have a need to move a particular document library/list, or a particular set of files (e.g. master page, page layouts, CSS etc.). This assumes by the way, that the files were not deployed with a feature – I wouldn’t recommend mixing the deployment methods like that.

Helpful links:

Chris Obrien’s Blog

http://www.sharepointnutsandbolts.com/2007/12/introducing-sharepoint-content.html

Download from CodePlex

http://www.codeplex.com/SPDeploymentWizard

Praveen Modi

Praveen works at Razorfish which is one of the largest digital advertising agency in the world. His mantra for life is "You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream". He lives in sunny Austin, TX with his beautiful wife Nidhi and son Aariv.

2 Comments

  1. Ramiz Uddin

    Praveen,

    I would need your help.

    I’m new on sharepoint and very much confused with its deployment mechanism. Because of:

    According to my understanding, there is no single way to deploy a sharepoint site. Always too many ways and steps involved to do.

    I’ve to copy a site from development to production. The site has features, listing, custom template, styles etc.

    My first question would be is this would be helpful utility or am I confused with its use.

    Is there a way to deploy a site without investing $$$ to buy expensive solution and can be done with ease – package and install.

    Thanks.

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