Migration with 4.3: Something nice, something missing - Upgrading Sitefinity - Upgrading Sitefinity - Progress Community
 Upgrading Sitefinity

Migration with 4.3: Something nice, something missing

  • Migration with 4.3: Something nice, something missing
  • Hi,
    I'll try to share my experience of migrating a SF3.7 project to 4.3, then add a few comments/questions.

    We have been using SF3.7 for our company's joint public/extranet/intranet site, plus a few small projects. We chose Sitefinity as this development model suited us - we were considering a bundle, of our own vertical solution and Sitefinity (sharing membership provider with SF4), for a group of customers.

    For a year now, little has happened with Sitefinity at our company, except for using the 3.7-web and having brief looks at SF4.x while trying to migrate every now and then. Frankly, because of delays and surprises during this period, we wouldn't even consider spending time learning the SF4-environment before we could see that our rather simple company web migrated reasonably well.

    So we set up our SF3.7 company web (900 pages, 8 templates, all kinds of content except for events, a number of simple User Controls, and a few overriding control templates) for migration, and ran through just as easily.
    Telerik, the migration setup procedure is now finally up to standard!

    All pages and templates converted, but a lot of bits and pieces on the same pages and templates were skipped. It looks like all generic controls converted successfully, but no other Sitefinity controls came through.
    The breadcrumb control was easy to deal with (once I had been back and forth the forums and realized there's no native breadcrumb in v4), by using this post/code.

    I re-added other controls for login, search and navigation, but they won't use our theme/styles. Obviously, I need to know the more about operations and best practices with v4.3. I hoped to find a quickstart with "ways of doing common 3.7-stuff in v4", but all I find is a Migration Guide that is a step-by-step guide to the migration module.
    Also, I have a feeling that the migration module does not necessarily build a project using SF4 best practices (whatever they are), as I find some of my controls spread in new folders. I also suspect that master pages is no longer preferred when creating templates, as the content placeholders are no longer tagged in SF content design as in v3.7, making a mess out of setting up pages/templates with many placeholders.

    Anybody seen good articles about cleaning up after migration?
    I had hoped to speed up things a little and learn the ways of SF4 while working with a real project, the converted project, but it looks like I would have to do with fresh test projects after all. I would also need to understand fully what SF4 does in the content database and outside, to be able to fulfill the migration.

    Too bad, I felt we were really close this time!
    Or maybe someone has been through this and can share just what I need..?
    Thanks anyway.


  • Olav, first thank you very much for sharing your experience with us. I'd like to followup by asking if you have tried the latest build that was just released yesterday for migration.

    I myself was impressed with the amount of improvement this release brought to the migration experience. a TON of fixes for migrating widgets and content were added and it's a much improved experience.

    If you did use the latest build and are still encountering these issues, I'd like to reach out to you personally to work with you on migrating your website, if you are willing. I'm sure I could learn a lot of lessons to share with our other 3.x customers

    In fact I am indeed preparing a resource like you are mentioned, but it would be helpful to get first-hand experience with a new project for more insight.

    if you're interested email me at josh.morales at telerik.com and we can discuss it further. Afterwards if you're willing I can share our experience as part of this resource I'm developing.

    In the meantime, to answer one of your questions about the widgets: the widget templates in Sitefinity 4 are indeed different from sitefinity 3, so if you styled them against that previous layout, you either have to a) update your css styles, or better yet b) edit or replace the widget templates to match your old website.

    This can be done using the widget template editor or by creating and using external widget templates. There is a complete set of the basic default templates you can use as starting points available in the Sitefinity SDK.

    I hope this is helpful, thanks again for your feedback!
  • Hi Olav,

    Thank your for your feedback about the migration module. We're developing the migration module in small steps and with a short release cycle -  on every 2 weeks we have a new build with more improvements. The version that your using unfortunately does not provide a good migration story for widgets. Yesterday we release a build that supports all the content view based widgets - news, libraries, events, etc + the navigation widgets. Also the ordering of the widgets is preserved as the original one.
    About the templates and the master pages - master pages are completely fine for Sitefinity 4.x. You can use what you find most convenient for you.
    The migration process works like this: there is a WCF service installed in 3.7 which reads all the content with the managers, content items, etc. Then those items are transferred to  4.x where the corresponding items are create, tags and categories are assigned. The IDs if the items are preserved as the original ones. For pages the users should manually copy the master pages, themes, custom controls etc. - all the files that are not managed by Sitefinity. Then pages are migrated and the widgets in 4.x are placed in the same place holders as in 3.7 because the master pages are the same, so the content place holders. No cleanup is required after migration. Also all the items are created exactly the way that Sitefinity 4.x is creating those using the API, no special implementation is used for the creation of the items and transferring of the values.

    Please, tell us if we can provide more information to help you with your project.

    All the best,
    Pavel Iliev
    the Telerik team
    Do you want to have your say in the Sitefinity development roadmap? Do you want to know when a feature you requested is added or when a bug fixed? Explore the Telerik Public Issue Tracking system and vote to affect the priority of the items
  • Thanks a lot Pavel/Josh,

    Good to hear that level of migration is improving.
    I used build 1885 and see that you have a 1926 right now. (can't find date or any particular notes on migration)

    But first, using internal builds - isn't this exactly the scenario that you warn against? A version in the void, to be ignored by the next public update?
    The whole idea was to get the converted version back into production in a few days, before we really need to edit content.
    If you know for sure that "this time", I would not go for an uncontrolled downwind race regarding database backward compatibility, I would of course give the latest internal build a try.

    As suggested by Josh, I'd better prepare to edit widget templates to match our old site. (not too many cases, mostly in templates)
    I'll have a look around, and at the same time I welcome any suggestions for v4 samples/articles on this particular subject.

    And I will remember your offer regarding assistance, in case I get a bit stuck.
    Thanks again!

  • Hello Olav,

    About the internal builds - in the light of the migration module we had 2 options either to release the new features very fast - every 2 weeks or to include it only in the official releases. We decided that it is much better to ship the improvements faster. For this reason the internal builds from the last 2-3 months include only the developments related to the migration module. We can include some bug fix from time to time, but definitely we don't make any database changes that can affect the upgrade process. We're not testing the internal builds intensively  the way we do with the official ones but we don't include any major changes too.

    Please, keep us posted about your progress or if you encounter some problems.

    Best wishes,
    Pavel Iliev
    the Telerik team
    Do you want to have your say in the Sitefinity development roadmap? Do you want to know when a feature you requested is added or when a bug fixed? Explore the Telerik Public Issue Tracking system and vote to affect the priority of the items