Where is my Reusable Content? (Mavention Track Reusable Content Usage)

The View Usage button highlighted on the Ribbon
The Reusable Content capability of SharePoint 2010 allows you to approach content management from a content-centric perspective. This is a great concept since it allows you to reuse pieces of content rather than copying it and managing at many different places manually. And although the idea of it is great the standard experience provided with SharePoint 2010 leaves some room for improvement. First of all creating blocks of reusable content isn’t as easy as you would want it to. On top of that once you start using Reusable Content it’s only a matter of time that you will start asking yourself where the different blocks are being used on the site. And this is exactly where Mavention Track Reusable Content Usage can help you with.

SharePoint 2010 Reusable Content 101

SharePoint 2010 ships with the Reusable Content capability that allows you to create blocks of content and use them on various pages on your site. From the reusability point of view there are two types of reusable content blocks.

First of all there are content blocks that are a kind of blueprint. You use them as a starting point for creating content but as soon as you insert them on a page they become a part of your content and there is no link to the original reusable content block.

Then there are blocks that are automatically updated on every change. When you insert such a block into content, internally SharePoint will store a reference to the original reusable content block. Every time the page is requested, SharePoint will lookup the referenced Reusable Content block and will pull in its content, ensuring that the latest version of the content is being displayed.

The difference between a block that is automatically being updated and one that is being copied is determined by the Automatic Update field in the Reusable Content block definition. When set to true the block will be inserted as a reference. Otherwise it will be copied into the content.

Properties of a sample Reusable Content block with the Automatic Update field set to true

Challenging Reusable Content

Using Reusable Content blocks that are automatically updated on change is a very powerful mechanism since it allows you to easily manage content pieces such as contact information, addresses, etc. The only challenge with it is, that as soon as you start using it intensively, you will lack any form of overview of which content blocks are being used where. Luckily it can be solved using the extensibility capabilities of SharePoint 2010. Proudly presenting: Mavention Track Reusable Content Usage.

What is Mavention Track Reusable Content Usage?

Mavention Track Reusable Content Usage is a custom SharePoint 2010 solution that allows you to quickly see where the particular block of reusable content is being used on the current Site Collection.

Upon installation the Mavention Track Reusable Content solution adds the View Usage button to the Actions group on the Ribbon of the Reusable Content list.

The View Usage button disabled on the Ribbon

By default this button is disabled. But as soon as you select a reusable content block it becomes enabled.

A reusable content block selected in the Reusable Content List. The View Usage button is enabled

Once you click the View Usage button the usage report will appear on the screen. Depending on the selected item you will either see the list of all pages on which the selected reusable content block is being used:

A SharePoint 2010 dialog window with the Reusable Content Usage Report saying that the selected Reusable Content block is being used on one page

or you will see a message saying that the selected reusable content block is not being used yet:

A SharePoint 2010 dialog window with the Reusable Content Usage Report saying that the selected Reusable Content block is not being used yet

The Usage Report contains a link to every page in the current Site Collection that uses the selected reusable content block so that you can easily navigate to it and find out how the block is being used.

Summary

SharePoint 2010 ships with the Reusable Content capability that allows you to define block of content and reuse them on various pages within the Site Collection. Out-of-the-box SharePoint 2010 doesn’t provide a mechanism that helps you discover where the specific reusable content blocks are being used. Using the Mavention Track Reusable Content Usage solution you can easily find out on which pages the specific block is being used.

Download: Mavention Track Reusable Content Usage (9KB, WSP)

Technorati Tags: SharePoint 2010,WCM

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