SharePoint Tip of the Month

Publishing Content to Multiple Sites, Manage from a Single Location

August 2014

A growing organization had requirements for ongoing communications to client teams compromised of internal employees as well as customers on the client side. Communications were coming from varied sources on a multitude of channels without uniformity and often without adherence to corporate standards.

One of the channels the company was using to communicate to these teams was the individual, secure portals they were employing for collaboration – uploading content and sharing of information.

This premise of publishing to these portals was ideal but the effort often took days to complete and so the organization approached Abel Solutions for help minimizing the time to author and publish content via an individualized, secure space.

A major requirement was that a content editor would need to manage company announcement content in a single location publishing to many consuming sites. The author should be able to set an expiration date, tag an announcement as active or archived as well as limit the number of announcements displayed at a time. The company envisioned their announcements as an image with a short description. Upon clicking on the announcement title, it would render the full article for reading. This required the company to restrict authoring content to a subset of employees.

To simplify content management, there was an expectation that someone could author once and walk away—not having to reproduce the same information multiple times. SharePoint 2013 proved to be an ideal solution for their portals and for increasing productivity, eliminating administrative overhead, securing content, and publishing compliant content to all client sites with a single click of the mouse.

Solution
The SharePoint 2013 Product Catalog feature was implemented to achieve this goal. In this article, you will learn how to implement a product catalog solution for publishing content from a single location out to multiple site collections.

NOTE: This solution was designed and implemented for SharePoint 2013 Enterprise [On-Premise].

Implementation Requirements:

  1. SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise [On-Premise]
  2. At minimum, two site collections – an authoring site and publishing site
  3. Managed Metadata Service
  4. Administrative permissions

Authoring Site
Let’s begin by designing the Authoring site collection that will be used to manage content for the announcements (i.e., image library and announcement lists).

  1. Create a site collection
  2. Go to Site Settings
  3. Under Site Collection Administration, select Site Collection Features
  4. Find Cross-Site Collection Publishing, click Activate

Next, let’s create a Term Set that will be used to determine whether an announcement is Active or Archived.

  1. Access the Term Store Management Tool via Site Settings.
  2. Under Site Administration, select Term Store Management
  3. Create a term set with terms defining announcements Active or Archived.
  4. For this term set, under the Intended Use tab, select Available for Tagging.
  5. Select Save.

In the meantime, proceed to create a SharePoint list for managing announcement content. Create an announcements list creating and adding appropriate columns as needed. It is important to remember the columns and their associated Managed Properties for search capabilities. Managed Properties are what the Search Engine uses to find information or values, not columns themselves. Map a field to the term set created above.

1. Access the List Settings, the select Catalog Settings.
enable-library

2. Select Enable this library as a catalog and other appropriate settings (i.e., Navigation Hierarchy) and fields as necessary.

Now, you’re ready to inform SharePoint 2013 Search that new columns are available. Through Central Admin or from List Settings > Reindex List, continue to initiate a Full Crawl.

reindex-list

Publishing Site
As for the Publishing Site, create a site collection with preferred template of choice. Accessing Site Settings > Manage Catalog Connections.

connect

Click Connect for your published Catalog

connect-search-web-part

Designate desired location to publish announcements, insert a Content Search Web Part onto the page. Select Change Query to build your query for search results. In the web part panel, select a Display Template best fit for your needs. In some instances, you may have to create a custom Display Template if out of the box options are not sufficient. Select the appropriate Property Mappings for available fields. NOTE: Please remember to restrict the search results on only the published catalog.

property-mapping

Summary
If there is a need to manage content from a centralized, secure location to other information websites in a time-efficient way, SharePoint 2013 Product Catalog feature is an excellent, easy-to-implement solution. This solution lessens the strain on resources responsible for the process of managing content to multiple websites.

This TOTM was contributed by SharePoint Consultant, Recortis Echols.