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Taxomatic

A SharePoint Taxonomy Management Tool

Once installed, you can launch it from the Site Action menu and clicking on Taxomatic.

Console Mode Usage

There is a console version available for download as well for situations where installing a WSP is not possible. The following is the usage syntax:

Taxomatic.Console.exe mode:<mode> url:http://site.com

where mode is
import - import an existing Taxonomy file

Then also need to specify input:<filename>

Example: Taxomatic.Console.exe mode:import url:http://site.com input:c:\Temp\Taxonomy.xml

export - export to a Taxonomy file
Then also need to specify output:<filename>

Example: Taxomatic.Console.exe mode:export url:http://site.com output:c:\Temp\Taxonomy.xml


sync - synchronize the hidden termstrore list

Example: Taxomatic.Console.exe mode:sync url:http://site.com

Overview

Taxomatic is a SharePoint 2010 plugin, which provides advanced management and governance over SharePoint taxonomy.

There were 3 main principles guiding its design:

- Simplicity

- Consistency

- Efficiency

Simplicity

The design leverages the SharePoint WSP packaging infrastructure and is deployed as a feature. The interface is familiar to existing SharePoint users and leverages asynchronous postbacks to provide a responsive experience to the user.

It also respects SharePoint security and leverages the user’s existing taxonomy rights to perform operations.

Consistency

Developers almost always need to recreate replicas of environments when dealing with Taxonomy. The current SharePoint taxonomy experience feels incomplete and does not cater for replicating across multiple separate environments. Even when environments do get created, the internal ids are not the same across environments (development, test, pre-production and production) resulting in an inconsistent experience.

Taxomatic fills in this gap and allows you to export taxonomy data in full fidelity and keeps the internal IDs in sync. It also generates well formatted Excel documentation to allow for full Governance of the taxonomy by SMEs who can communicate using an easy to understand format.

Efficiency

The design is optimized for fast performance by ensuring that the data packets are as small as possible. It does this by transmitting the data in JSON format and zipping up the data stream if the browser supports compression.

Viewing Taxonomy

The home page will display existing taxonomy. It allows you to traverse the taxonomy tree for the web application you are in and select groups of terms by clicking on the parent’s checkbox. The right hand pane displays contextual information about the selected item.

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Figure 1: Taxomatic user interface

Exporting Terms

Exporting will write out the entire taxonomy to a formatted XML file which captures every detail available. This XML file can then be downloaded and saved on a user’s computer. Taxonomy owners can tweak this XML file and version control and snapshot the corporate taxonomy. This file can be then imported into the same or another farm to recreate the exact same replica of the taxonomy tree.

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Figure 2: Exporting your taxonomy

Importing Terms

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Figure 3: Importing Taxonomy

Importing the taxonomy file is straightforward. You simply browse to the taxonomy XML file and wait for the processing to finish.

A lot is going on behind the scenes however. The application first runs through the file and validates the structure. It then overwrites the term or termset but does not delete existing groups or terms or termsets. A delete and recreate operation is a bad thing as SharePoint loses context, even when the item is recreated with the same id. Therefore, the application simply overwrites the item if it already exists, or creates a new one it if it does not exist.

A detailed log is also generated for each item by item operation. So if an operation fails, it gets logged and continues with the rest. This detailed log is then displayed at the end of the import operation and allows taxonomy administrators to narrow down the errors to a specific term.

Documenting Taxonomy

Although the generated XML file is quite comprehensive, it is not in a user friendly format. To facilitate sharing your taxonomy in format users can understand, the tool contains a button to convert the XML file into the familiar csv format.

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Figure 4: Converting the Taxonomy to a friendly format

 

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Figure 5: Taxonomy is a more user friendly format

Syncing the Hidden List

There have been cases of the taxonomy getting out of sync with the Term Store when the Taxonomy Update job does not work. Microsoft have documented a workaround at : http://blogs.msdn.com/b/joerg_sinemus/archive/2011/03/03/terms-and-how-to-update-taxonomyhiddenlist-when-the-timer-job-was-not-able-to-update.aspx

This tool contains a button that allows you to fix out of sync taxonomy using the Microsoft suggested workaround.

Checking the Application Version

Since this application gets frequently updated, it is important to cross check the version you are running. You can find all that and more behind the About button.

 

Last edited Apr 23, 2012 at 6:13 PM by shailensukul, version 6

Comments

shailensukul May 4, 2012 at 10:23 PM 
@elektromin Can you be more specific? Which links?

elektromin Sep 9, 2011 at 2:59 PM 
When I click on any of these links, all I get is an empty page... Where is the content?