What's New in SharePoint 2013 (part 5) - ENTERPRISE CONTENT MANAGEMENT

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7/22/2013 7:40:19 PM


Enterprise Content Management (ECM) was first introduced to the platform in SharePoint 2007 by adding two site templates (Records Center and Document Center) and capabilities such as check-in, check-out, versioning, information management policies, holds, and many other features tied to SharePoint content.

SharePoint 2010 expanded on these capabilities by wrapping the base ECM capabilities to Features. SharePoint 2010 also introduced many other core and compliance capabilities to ECM, such as in-place records management, the document ID service, the document set, and the content organizer.

In SharePoint 2013, although Microsoft has introduced several new ECM features and enhancements such as eDiscovery and site mailboxes, there are two areas that matter the most to developers: site policies and managed meta data.

Now look at site policies.

Site Policies

Information management policy is a set of rules that define certain behaviors or restrictions on the content kept in SharePoint. For example, auditing sensitive information is a common requirement for many departments such as HR. Questions like, “Who has changed the permissions of the HR site in the past 10 days?” or “Did someone move the content in the Payroll document library to another site?” are among many other auditing questions that may arise during the life cycle of a SharePoint site.

In SharePoint 2010, you could create only policies attached to content types or at the site collection level. SharePoint 2013 has a new set of policies. If you browse to Site Settings ⇒ Site Collection Administration, there is a new link called Site Policies, which enables you to control the life cycle of a site.

Figure 15 illustrates some of the options available in a site policy.



As shown in Figure 15, you can choose how a site should expire and what should happen when it expires. For example, a site can be deleted automatically seven months after it was created, and a workflow executes to handle some custom business logic before deletion. Conveniently, if the site collection in which you define the policy is a content type hub, you can push your policies down to all subscribed site collections.

NOTE When combined with self-service site creation, site policies offer a powerful mechanism for site life-cycle management in SharePoint 2013. Users can select a site policy when requesting a site, and the site policy will be automatically enforced based on its logic.

After a site policy is defined at the site collection level, the site owner can browse to the Site Closure and Deletion page on a subsite’s settings page, and select the site policy. This can also be done programmatically through improved CSOM interfaces in SharePoint 2013.

The next section discusses managed meta-data improvements in SharePoint 2013.

Managed Meta Data

Managed meta data plays a more prominent role in SharePoint 2013 than in SharePoint 2010. However, from an architectural standpoint, the core capabilities are the same.

To use managed meta data in your site, you still need a managed meta-data service (MMS) application and a tool called Term Store. The tool enables you to work with one instance of the managed meta-data service application at a time. Terms are categorized in groups (top-level container) and then in term sets within each group. The term hierarchy is stored in MMS application databases along with syndicated content types. If social tags are enabled, the MMS application also uses a social tag database created by a user profile service application.

Just like SharePoint 2010, SharePoint 2013 managed meta-data groups can be local or global. A global group is the one that can be used by any site collection connected to the same instance of the MMS application. A local group is one that although stored in the MMS application database is only available to a specific site collection. What is different in SharePoint 2013 is the ability to make a local group available to other site collections (in read-only mode) by specifying the URL of the consumer site collection.

Figure 16 shows cross-site collection term access in the improved term store tool in SharePoint 2013.



In SharePoint 2010, users could reuse terms in the term hierarchy. After these terms were reused, they could be updated and deleted in both the source and the referenced term sets. Updating on any ends would have been applied to the entire term hierarchy, but deleting was slightly different. Deleting a reused term from the source was not deleting the term from the referenced term sets. So, reused terms were supposed to be pointers, but in reality they were not pointers — kind of confusing.

Reusing terms is still there in SharePoint 2013 and functions exactly as in SharePoint 2010. SharePoint 2013 introduced a new operation for terms: term pinning. A pinned term is just like a reused term except it is read-only and cannot be modified (updated or deleted) in the referenced term sets. In addition, if you delete a pinned term from the source, it will be deleted from all the referenced term sets. Now, you have the real pointers.

NOTE Cross-site collection terms are based on pinned terms, not reused terms.

Another major improvement is custom properties for terms. In SharePoint 2010, terms had property bags that could be accessed only via taxonomy server-side APIs. SharePoint 2013 now includes the ability to work with custom properties in terms and term sets through the browser, and CSOM APIs are added for remote clients. Custom properties are either shared or local. Those available in all reused and pinned instances of the term are called shared custom properties. Local properties are only accessible for the term within the source term set.

Great news for bilingual customers and businesses is the ability to add working languages in an MMS application without having to install the language packs, as shown in Figure 17.



This is definitely a welcome change for those customers who want to have their taxonomy in multiple languages, but their content is primarily authored and consumed in English. This also is handy for developers who don’t like to install and manage multiple language packs just to work with multilingual taxonomies.

After new working languages are added to the MMS application, a new tab becomes available for each term set that enables you to choose three options for term translation. The options are Machine Translate, which is powered by a new machine translation service application in SharePoint 2013; Create Translation Package to export the term sets into a XLIFF package for professional translation; or Upload Translation, which basically imports the translation package back to the MMS application.

You briefly looked at new features in ECM; the next workload to explore is Web Content Management.

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