When using Variations in MOSS 2007, it is important to understand what gets propagated to target variations and what doesn't. I have seen a lot of people assuming that with variations, the entire source site should get propagated to all target variations. However, the variations feature of MOSS has only been designed to support WCM (Web Content Management). This means, that the content that does get propagated to target variations is the "Pages" directory. Other stuff such as your document libraries, lists and even the structure of your "Pages" directory do not get automatically propagated. Reason: In most cases, these things will be unique to each locale or language, and you do not want SharePoint to force you to have all variations as an identical mirror of each other. In this post, I will talk specifically about the propagation of page properties to target variations, since this is a little confusing.
This post assumes that you are familiar with MOSS, basic functionality of the variations feature of MOSS and the basics of content types in MOSS.
Page Properties and Content Types - Some Background
Every page in the "Pages" directory is always based on a "Base Content Type" named 'Page'. "Page" is a system content type and is sealed. You cannot modify or delete it. If you want to associate your page to a custom content type, that custom content type will always be derived from the base content type named 'Page'. As you might already know, every content type has a bunch of columns (or properties) associated to it. The columns that are associated to a content type automatically become the properties (meta data) of the item that is based on the content type. Subsequently, when you create a Page based on the "Page" content type (or any other content type derived from it), all the columns of the "Page" content type become the properties of the newly created page. If you need additional properties associated to a page, the quickest way to do it will be to create a new column by going to Page Library Settings --> Create Column. You can also define a custom content type and associate that content type to the Page Library.
Page Properties and Variation Propagation
Another common assumption that can be made is that since the "Pages" directory gets propagated to all target variations, all the page properties or meta data will and should also get propagated to all target variations. This is not correct. The things that do get propagated to all site variations are :
- All Page Content
- Some page properties
So now the next question would be, "Which page properties get propagated and which do not?". The answer would be that all the properties that come from the "Page" content type never get propagated to the target variations. If you have defined custom columns in your Page Library, these columns always get propagated to all target variations. Following are the properties that come from the "Page" content type and do not get propagated:
- URL Name
- Schedule Start Date
- Schedule End Date
- Audience Targeting
- Contact Name
- Contact E-mail Address
- Contact Picture
Any other custom columns that you create directly or via content types, always get propagated to all target variations.
So to wrap things up, the columns that are associated to the "Page" content type (such as name, title, description, contact etc.) do not get propagated to your target variations. If you want to push some page meta data or properties down to target variations, use custom columns.