Publishing Tridion Folders

Over the last couple of years, I have delivered quite a lot of tailored Tridion Content Editor and Super User training.

Although these users pick up Tridion quickly and easily, one thing the students often pick up on are areas where the product and implementation are lacking or inconsistent.

A common question that is asked is “Why can I publish Structure Groups (the pink ones), but not Folders (the yellow ones)?”.

Being able to publish a Structure Group allows editors to quickly update a complete section (or sub-section) of the website, as this publishes all of the Pages and Pages within Sub-Structure Groups within it.

Publishing Structure Groups

However, when working with dynamic content, and publishing out Components from within Tridion, there is no ability to to publish a Folder in the same manner.

Not Publishing Folders

This isn’t normally a problem if the Folder just contains Components, or if there are only one or two sub-Folders within it, as the user can simply select all of the Components and publish them together.

Publishing Components

The problems come when there are a large number of nested sub-Folders containing Components that all need to be published. An example of this is when news articles are split in to Folders based on their year and month of release.

Lots of sub-Folders

Okay, so the blog title is slightly misleading - there is still no way to publish a Folder itself (without writing an extension to the Tridion Content Management Explorer GUI). However, one way to get around this problem is to use the Content Management Explorer’s Advanced Search functionality.

In a previous blog post, we looked at all of the options available within the Advanced Search. Using the following Advanced Search options, we are able to get a list of all of the Components within a specific Folder and its sub-Folders.

  • Searching term: *
  • Also search in sub-sections: Ticked
  • Content type: Components
  • Number of results: All

Advanced Search Filter Options

Note: You may also want to filter on Schema (if you have more than one content type within the Folder) and publish status (if you only want to get a list of Components that have been published before).

After running the search, you can select all of the Components in the results panel and publish them together.

Publishing Components within Sub-Folders

You will need to make sure that you limit the Advanced Search to only Components. If you don't do this, then your results may also contain Folders, which will prevent you from publishing!

Only search for Components

As a word of caution, you should consider the following points before using this technique for publishing all of the Components within a given Folder:

1. Bulk publishing When you publish a Structure Group, all of the Pages and sub-Structure Groups are added to the Publishing Queue as a single Publish Transaction. This has the benefit of using publishing caching, and only publishing the associated content and multimedia (images, PDFs, etc.) once.

However, as we cannot publish a Folder itself, we are forced to publish a large number of Components individually (this can be seen by large number of items in the publishing queue).

As is the case when bulk publishing any items, a high volume of content in the publishing queue can cause a delay to the processing of items published by other users. Therefore, publishing on 'Low priority' is good practice to avoid disrupting other Content Editors.

2. Not all Components are dynamic. Linked to the bulk publishing - it may be that not all of the Components returned by the search are used by dynamic templates. If the Components returned are used statically (i.e. directly on Pages with  a non-dynamic template), this can result in a number of Pages also being published. The risk of this can be negated by using the ‘Based on Schema’ filter, to return only certain types of content.

3. No “Republish only” option. Unlike the publishing of Structure Groups, there is no ‘Republish only’ option, when bulk publishing Components. Therefore, there is a risk that you may publish content to a target, such as the live website, that it has not been previously published to. Using the ‘Publish status’ Advanced Search filter option reduces this risk, but there is still a chance that an item may have been previously published to Staging, but not Live.

This concludes my series of blog posts looking at the search functionality within the Tridion Content Management Explorer.

In my next series of posts, I will look at some of the other common questions and sticking points that come up during content editor training sessions.