How do i upgrade from a version 3 to the new version 5 site software
The chances are, that if you happen to be looking over this article, then you have already had the dreaded discussion regarding upgrading your a 3.X website to the most up-to-date version. Popular belief has it that this is a difficult task that could be riddled with bugs and complications. It is possible to ‘shrug off’ all the generally talked about pit falls though when you are aware of the procedures which you can follow and what to ready yourself for.
Throughout this article, I really hope to reassure you by outlining the basic procedures for moving a website from version 3.X to version 5.0. I will be explaining processes that I followed and issues I experienced in bringing up-to-date our company website and ways in which I was able to overcome them.
Our company website was updated from vesrsion 3.7 (now quite an old version) to version 5.0 (which was introduced Feb / Mar 2012), as a result, this article will mainly concentrate on websites currently using version 3.6 or 3.7 wishing to upgrade to version 5.0 and some information may not be pertinent to lower versions.
Hmm… To Upgrade Or Migrate?
When we initially made the decision to update the Light Speed website, I was confronted with a sudden fear. My apprehension was caused by the unknown amount of work and problems that could gather through updating the website from such a low version to the most recent version of Sitefinity. Needing to allay my fears I became a frequent visitor to the manufacturer’s Discussion board and various search sites seeking out any relevant information that could help me along the way. After viewing various blog posts and forum threads, it became obvious that there was some misconceptions regarding ‘upgrading’ or ‘migrating’ a site to the latest release of the software. Therefore, this was throwing people off the correct procedure to be able to update their website.
After in depth investigation I stumbled upon some other posts and threads, that had been hidden out of sight, that finally helped me to get a clear comprehension of which method I should use to update my own Company website. There are two distinct methods.
1) You can ‘Upgrade’ a site, which basically means updating the software version that the current site is running on
2) You can ‘Migrate’ a site [The manufacturer has provided a tool called The Migration Module] and this process enables the moving of content and data from one site to another (although be warned that not everything gets copied). Migration has had to be introduced by the manufacturer because from Version 4 onwards the progam significantly changed the architecture from the one that existed in version 3. The Migration Module is created to migrate a site created using vertion 3.7 (using service pack 4) to Version 5.0. This means that if your web site is prior to 3.7 it must be ‘Upgraded’ to this spec BEFORE it can be migrated to version 5.0.
Because our company site was designed on version 3.7 this meant that I would have to create a new version 5.0 website and using method 2 migrate most of the content and data from the original 3.7 website.
The Minimal Requirements for a Migration
There are some prerequisites and advisories so that you can successfully complete a site migration from 3.7 to 5.0. Firstly the site to be migrated must be running on IIS (this can be running locally). Secondly, it is advised that the new site should have a similar file structure as the old site. This allows the migration to run smoother as the program will notify you in the event it cannot find certain files such as templates and themes. I therefore manually copied files such as the templates and themes across when I first built the version 5.0 site. Thirdly, the site must be using version 3.7 SP4 with either ASP.NET 3.5 or 4.0.
If your site is not currently using version 3.7 Service Pack 4 then upgrade to it before you decide to do anything else. Upgrading to SP4 can be accomplished by downloading a patch or ‘hotfix’ from your manufacturer’s web site account downloads section, however, it is important to make sure you are downloading the correct version and edition (i.e. Standard Edition). Ensuring you have backed up your project, you need to unzip the patch folder and copy the files directly into the root of the site. You will then need to merge and overwrite some files including the web.config file. Once complete, you can check your version number to see if the site is now running on the new service pack.
Preparation, Preparation, Preparation...
Even though your original site is now running on 3.7 SP4, it still is required to be prepared before the migration begins. There’s 2 techniques for preparing the site; ‘automatic’ or ‘manual’. Automatic enables you to prepare your 3.7 site for migration by opening your Project Manager, clicking actions and setting the SF3.7 site for migration. You can then click through on the prompts to complete the preparation. However, for our site, I decided on the manual method where I was able to download the required zip folder from the root of the new project and copy the ‘MigrationService.svc’ file to the root of the 3.7 project and then copy the ‘Telerik.Sitefinity.Migration.dll’ and ‘Telerik.Sitefinity.MigrationContracts.dll’ to the bin folder of the 3.7 site. Once completed, I then entered the following code before the last configuration tag in the ‘web.conifg’ file: Please note ‘ = < or >
start of ‘system.serviceModel’
end of ‘system.serviceModel’
The Sitefinity 3.7 site will now be prepared for migration.
From Old To New
Now that the entire preparation is taken care of, the existing 3.7 site can now be migrated to the new 5.0 site. However, it is important to note, as said before, that not everything will get copied across to your new site, so it is very important to take these into consideration, specially if your original website included a lot of custom work such as master templates, themes or user controls. For a full list of what is included and what isn’t, you can check out the ‘Considerations’ section of ‘Sitefinity 5 Migration Guide’.
After running your new version 5.0 Project, you will find a link on the Dashboard saying ‘Migrate your site from Sitefinity 3.7 to the newest version’. Clicking this link will launch a wizard that will request the URL of the manufacturer’s 3.7 website. You will then be in a position to select what content, data and files you intend to migrate over to the new website. Once these details have been confirmed, it will take some time to run through and migrate everything. If everything has transferred happily you should just view list of green ticks and also a successful report. However, you will also be made aware of any files which were unsuccessful which will usually come down to an issue with the software having not been able to locate the required file or it will be a file which can’t be migrated that hasn’t been manually copied over before migration.
If the migration has been successful, then almost all of the content and pages etc should now display on your new site, though the site will probably be far from complete.
Light At The End Of The Tunnel
Albeit the migration is finished, you’ll find that there are a fair few tasks to accomplish. In addition to the going through testing the entire site, certain areas will require changing beforehand. In most cases any custom controls or control templates that were developed for use with the 3.7 site will need to be adjusted or completely remade. Also you could find that you will need to make various changes to your CSS for the reason that mark-up provided by version 5.0 differs hugely from the mark-up deployed in version 3.7 of the program. An example of this can be found when you use the program’s navigation control where in the latest version it has a tendency to rely heavily on multiple spans.
When all these changes are completed, you will be able to judge whether or not the site is complete. Yet, it would be good to perform a tested run through your complete site, both on the public side and the admin side to find out if there are any further areas missing functionality or conceivably not displaying as they should.
So… What Did We Think?
It seems like the original conversation about updating the website happened long ago, and yet here we are! We’ve got an innovative new CMS site with all of the original data and content obtained from our old site. Sure we had to produce some additional amendments and tweak odds and ends in some places, but finally the new site is there. So how do we feel about the entire process of getting it there?
Well, everyone will have their own personal opinion on the migration method and whether or not it is warranted for the amount of work required. However, my thoughts on the process vary. On the one hand I can see how useful the tool is at getting your out-of-date website immediately up to a new site allowing you to explore the latest features which software version 5.0 can bring to the table. However, on the other hand I’m faced with the realisation that I have had to undertake a lot of preparation work to get the original site ready for migration plus I had to set up a new site and copy lots of the files over manually anyway. Additionally, even once the migration has been completed, I still was required to rewrite many of the custom control templates and user controls. That said, I ask myself whether it would be quicker to build a new site and simply replicate the changes manually, rather than proceed with the migration option.
It appears to be to me that this entire process may very well be dependent on what type of site you are planning to update.
For instance, a significant enterprise site with 50 pages or more would undoubtedly benefit from migrating to a new site, whereas a lesser company site with 20 pages or less may be better off building a new site, copying as many files over as possible and then replicating the page articles on a page by page basis.
As mentioned, It’s my opinion that everyone will have a different sort of view on how to approach upgrading their website, however i imagine that almost all people who complete an update will be reviewing their methods once they have completed a full site migration.
Okay it’s complicated and not for the feint hearted – need help?
Sources: http://www.articlesbase.com/Tags: Ning, WEB