Let’s assume we need to create an Intranet portal for an enterprise based on SharePoint 2013 and this portal should be based on several different site collections. Each site collection has its own subsites and they built the navigation items for this site collection. And that’s the challenge: although each site collection as its own navigation (and does not include the navigation of other site collections) the portal should have an integrated navigation - based on the navigation of all included site cite collections.
What we need to achieve is this: the portal should have an integrated navigation - although it uses several site collections. The best way to do that is to use Managed Metadata Navigation.
Let’s make an example: the portal is based on a web application with two site collections. Each site collection contains three sites. Site collection 1 has these sites (site1, site2, site3) and site collection 2 has these sites (site4, site5, site6).
This is how my demo portal looks like:
The questions now is: how can we setup an integrated navigation - or in other words: how can we achieve, that the sites 4, 5 and 6 are also used as navigation elements in Site Collection 1 - although they exist in Site Collection 2 only? And how can we achieve that the sites 1, 2 and 3 are also used as navigation elements in Site Collection 2?
That’s where Managed Metadata Navigation comes into play.
First I need to create the Managed Metadata Navigation for Site Collection 1:
After that I change the navigation settings for Site Collection 1 this way:
With these settings my site collection now looks like this:
Now I need to added the sites from Site Collection 2 to the navigation for Site Collection 1:
Because Site4, Site5 and Site6 are members of another site collection (Site Collection 2) I need to provide links like this:
Now the Metadata Navigation for Site Collection 1 is configured and the site collection looks like this:
Site Collection 1 now uses navigation items that are based on different site collections.
But how about Site Collection 2? I could create another Term Set (e.g. NavSiteCol2) and create all items again manually - but there is another way!
Instead of completely doubling a term set with all terms I only create another term set (NavSiteCol2) without any terms … and I want to ‘reuse’ the navigation items from NavSiteCol1 here. To do this I open the context menu of newly created NavSiteCol2 and choose ‘Pin Term With Children’ …
In the next dialog I need to select the terms from NavSiteCol1 that should be reused in NavSiteCol2:
Unfortunately I need to do this six times :-( After some clicking and clicking and clicking … the Metadata Navigation now looks like this:
Now I’m ready to setup the navigation for Site Collection 2:
And now it’s time to test the newly created portal navigation. First I open Site Collection 1 and click each navigation item one by one - everything works as expected. Now I open Site Collection 2 and click on the first navigation item ‘Site1’ … and this is what happens:
Why that? When checking Site Collection 1 all navigation items worked without errors? And the navigation items of Site Collection 2 have been ‘cloned’ in Central Administration … so why is there a problem in Site Collection 2, but not in Site Collection 1?
To answer that, we need to go back to Central Administration and have a look on the items Site1, Site2 and Site 3. if you compare their settings wit h the settings of for example Site4 you might notice the difference. Site1, Site2 and Site3 don’t have an assigned a URL - and that’s the problem. For Site Collection 2 these items (Site1, Site2 and Site3) are ‘foreign’ items - or in other words: they are part of another site collection. And they need to have an URL like Site4, Site5 and Site6 to be accessible from outside of Site Collection 1!
After assigning an URL to all navigation terms in Central Administration the integral portal navigation works as expected! By the way: sometimes you need to open the site collections navigation settings after changing settings in central administration to ensure that the changes have been taken over! But that might only be an issue of my development environment (or maybe I run out of patience to soon).
There might be one question left: why do I need to create an identical clone of NavSiteCol1 to be used as Managed Metadata Navigation items for Site Collection 2? Why can’t I use NavSiteCol1 as Managed Metadata Navigation items for Site Collection 2 too?
OK - let’s try this:
When I try to use NavSiteCol1 for Site Collection 2 too - this is what happens:
You don’t have to create one complete Metadata Navigation and ‘clone’ it completely - as I have done in the first example. In real world scenarios you create a Managed Metadata Navigation Term Set for each Site Collection with only the local navigation items - like this:
After that Site1, Site2 and Site3 get pinned to NavSiteCol2 - and Site4, Site5 and Site6 get pinned to NavSiteCol1 - like this:
I have been asked if that kind of Managed Metadata Navigation can be used for one Web Application only? (Unfortunately I deleted this comment by mistake). Let’s check this :-)
I added another item to my metadata items targeting a site in another Web Application:
The sites Site1 to Site6 are all belonging to Web Application 1 (http://devsp2013:8888/). The new item SiteWA2 belongs to another Web Application (http://devsp2013:7777/). As you can see in the above screenshot I already pinned the newly created item (SiteWA2) to the existing metadata navigation items.
And this is how this looks like in the browser:
When I click on SiteWA2 the root site of the newly created Web Application is opened.
There is just one thing you need to be aware of: When you want to create a metadata navigation for more than one Web Application, don’t use local or relative links (like I have done in the sixth screenshot) - you need to use absolute URLs:
10 Sep 2013 18:30