Upgrade to V6: Explaining it your content editor

At Sitecore we have upgraded our site to version 6. Because of our tightly integration with background systems it took a little moment. But finally we’re there.

As we’ve got 20+ content editors across the globe, the change affected lots of editors. I’ll show you a mail from the head of our marketing department, Paul Markun, to all the content editors:

Hello Content Editors:

Please remember there is a content freeze on Sitecore.net until this Monday, Nov 17th.

But , once you do start editing content on Monday or later, the tips that Oksana put together below for editors – specific to our implementation – may be helpful. If you experience any issues please let us know (myself and Oksana). Thanks.

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After switching Sitecore.net to Sitecore 6.0, you will notice the following few changes in the content editor. These changes are big functionality improvements, but some of them might be a little confusing at first, in particular because we are running in live mode. Live mode means that we use only one database for both working version and published version of the content. In live mode, the workflow is the only mechanism that controls when our changes become visible on the web. So publishing an item in live mode is equivalent to completing the workflow for it; that is, reaching the workflow’s final state.

At this point we keep the workflow for all Sitecore.net items the same as before the conversion to Sitecore 6. In this workflow, the item only has 2 states: Edited and Published. In the Published state, the latest saved version of the content item is visible to the web site visitors. In  the Edited state, the previous version of the item is visible on the web , and the latest working version is only available to the content editors, no matter how many times it is saved. When content editors feel that the latest version of an item is ready to be published, they execute the Publish command to move the item to the Published state. Once the item is moved to the Published state, its latest version becomes available on the web site.

There is no approval state in the current workflow and everyone has the ability to publish items they have write access to. In the future we might introduce a more complicated workflow for some items that will require someone else’s approval before the item can be published.

The changes you might notice are:

1. Workflow warning message:
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This warning does not apply to the live mode, where publishing is equivalent to moving the item to the final workflow step. So just ignore it and publish the item by clicking the Publish command of the Editing state in Home/Edit menu area as you did previously in 5.3.
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2. Validation errors
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If you hover over the red vertical line indicating the presence of validation errors, you will see the short validation summary for this field.
Depending on how the validation rules are set up, the errors might or might not prevent you from publishing (or completing the workflow) for this item.
The best practice is to solve all validation issues before publishing your items.

3. Rich text fields are automatically validated to comply with w3c XHTML standards. You can use the Suggest Fix feature to have Sitecore automatically fix XHTML validation errors for you.
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4. There are a number of data types that were announced deprecated (or obsolete) in Sitecore 6. These types were superseded by newer, more powerful types.

These are:
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Even though the old types are still supported, we have found a few problems with them during our testing. For example, the regional editor would not be able to insert a link to partner’s website because the template used the old Link type.
We tried to fix as many problems as possible, but there is still a chance that there are more. So if you edit an item in Sitecore.net on version 6 and encounter a problem such as  not being able to edit a field of the above type, it is because this type has been deprecated in version 6. Please let us know and we will fix it quickly.

And of course, there is a detailed Sitecore 6 content editing reference, available on SDN: http://sdn.sitecore.net/upload/sitecore6/contentauthorscookbook-usletter.pdf.

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Best Regards,
Paul Markun

VP Marketing

As you can see, our marketing team has confidence – after this short briefing – that we’ll be able to start editing again. I think this is the right approach for your editors as well. They should start working like we do. Instructions of what’s not 100% clear can be done (on individual base) later on.

NOTE: You’re absolutely allowed to use the above description for your editors. But keep in mind that this applies to our specific Sitecore implementation. Some of the points(like Live mode) might not apply at all to your implementation.

Thanks to Paul for allowing me to post this internal email. To my audience: Good luck spreading the word!