Code Camp Oz 2006

April 25, 2006

Just got back from Code Camp Oz 2006. This event was fantastic. It provided a great opportunity to discover the various new and upcoming technologies, such as Vista, Windows Presentation Framework, Windows Workflow Foundation, Altas (AJAX for .NET), WinFS, MOSS 2007 and WSS v3, etc… All in all a most enjoyable Sunday and Monday socialising with other like minded Nerds. Thanks to Microsoft and Charles Sturt University for running such a great event (for free). Thanks also to Angus Logan and David Lemphers for spending time and catching up with me.


Upgrade path for MCMS

April 4, 2006

Recently I have been investigating the upgrade path for our existing MCMS customers towards Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 . I have been looking at providing the smoothest transition.

Migration to the new platform will be done in two parts, content migration and code migration.

To facilitate the content migration a built-in feature of MOSS 2007 is used that migrates content which includes channels, postings, placeholder content, custom properties, resource galleries, resources, rights groups, users, template galleries and template gallery items. To use the Content migration feature the existing MCMS environment is required to be upgraded to SP2. Content migration can be achieved as an entire site migration or on a channel by channel basis.

Code migration is not as simple as the content migration as the entire architecture has been revisited. Upgrading the existing MCMS environment to SP2 allows the utilisation of Visual Studio 2005 and the new ASP.NET 2.0 features such as SiteMap Provider, Menu control, Master Pages, etc… The upgrade to SP2 also allows the use of SQL Server 2005, which brings great performance improvements. If the MCMS is modified to used Master Pages these can be migrated to the SharePoint Server site. Be aware that Custom placeholders are being replaced with SharePoint Server field controls, any custom placeholders will need to be redeveloped as SharePoint server field controls, so any development effort spent in this area should be assessed in a cost benefit.

So far, I have upgraded three customer sites to SP2 and have found the process to be quite painless. I would recommend that any one still using SP1a consider upgrading their environments.

There are several recommended steps for preparing MCMS 2002 sites for migration, these are:

Upgrade the application to MCMS SP2, which adds support for Microsoft SQL Server 2005, Microsoft Visual Studio 2005, and Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0
Modify the application to use ASP.NET 2.0 features. For more information see Designing your MCMS 2002 Solution for Reusability.
Minimise the number of templates. You can implement most sites with fewer than 30 templates.
Use ASP.NET master pages in the MCMS 2002 templates to encapsulate styles, layout and other site branding artifacts.
Modify the navigation controls to use ASP.NET navigation provider based on the MCMS 2002 Publishing API.
If the site uses ASP.NET forms authentication, use the ASP.NET authentication provider.
Move business logic code out of template files and encapsulate calls to the MCMS 2002 Publishing API into a data abstraction layer.

The future of content management within MOSS 2007 is going to be exciting and given the clear upgrade path from Microsoft it should reasonably easy to migrate (given preparations have been made).