Content Type Syndication tips from the Masters

Content Type Syndication must-know tips

Content Type Syndication is a must for enterprise-class structured SharePoint document management systems.

There are some limitations to be aware of.   A site column has an internal name and an external name. The internal name is set (and never changes) after the Site Column is created. So if you create a site column called “my data” it might appear to have a site column name of “my%20data” with %20 being the hex 20 equating to 32 for ASCII space. Now if you have 100 site collections, and one of them already has a field called “my data”, perhaps it is of a different type (number vs text, for example) then the Content Syndication Hub will not be able to publish this one site column, and will show it in a report available online. Within your syndication hub, under Site Collection Administration, is an entry you can click called “Content type service application error log”. This is a list of errors where such site columns could not be published. During the publishing of Content Types, there’s actually a “pre-import check” that is done. The frustrating part, is when you create a site column, you don’t always know whether that name is in use somewhere. This is done for both the external visible name and the cryptic internal site column name.

When you publish a Content Type, it doesn’t get deployed right away. There’s an hourly batch job for each Web Application. You can go into Central Admin, Monitoring, Timer Jobs, and force the job to run for your web application. It’s called “Content Type Subscriber”. This picks up any recently published Content Types, and “pushes” them down throughout the Site Collection, starting with replicating the Site Columns, Content Types, Information Policies, then pushing them into sites and libraries, if the published Content Type is set to propagate down to lists (that’s a check box in the Content Type).

Similarly, within the subscribing Site Collection, in the Site Collection Administration, there’s a “Content type publishing error log” that summarizes issues with propagating Content Types and Site Columns.

For both Content Type Publishing, of many Content Types, I usually script the publishing, as well as running the subscribing jobs. I find that works extremely well, and avoids human errors.

On the  home page for the Content Type Syndication Hub I always put a link to:

1. Site Columns

2. Content Types

3. The Central Admin Timer Jobs, or a link directly to the main Web Application’s “Content Type Subscriber” Timer Job.

There’s a lot more, but let me know if there are any aspects I can clarify further.

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