Sitecore Development / Kim Hornung

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Preview of CMS 6 Database Conversion Tool

During the last months, I've been busy with several exiting projects. One of them is a tool to help Sitecore partners and customers to upgrade to Sitecore CMS 6.

So say hello to the "Sitecore CMS 5.3 to CMS 6 Database Conversion Tool". As the name indicates, it will upgrade V5.3 databases (currently V5.3.1 rev. 071114 or newer) to V6.

Originally it was our aim to release this tool at the same date as V6, but we felt that quality and usability were more important so we decided to spend extra time and resources for the implementation.

We still have some work to do before the tool is as easy to use as we would like. But we also realize that many of our partners and customers are eager to learn more about the possible upgrade strategies to CMS 6.

Alpha release coming soon
Therefore, we have decided to make an alpha release available. The UI for the alpha is a bit more "rough" than the final version will be, and it takes more user interaction and manual procedures than the final version. Also, it has not gone through extensive testing yet.

So can you use the alpha for anything yet? Sure you can!

What the tool does
The tool can upgrade your V5.3.1 (or newer) databases to V6, so that you can start investigating at the complexity of upgrading to V6. Typically it takes ½-1 hour to convert databases if you have a bit of experience with the tool, so expect to use a couple of hours for the first attempts. Also, some of the operations (for example converting masters to branches and transferring archived and deleted items) can take considerable time if there is a lot of data to convert.

For sites that primarily use XSLT renderings, such as the Sitecore Starter Kit, they might run "out of the box" after the conversion. But for most solutions, you'll have to update your .NET code to make it compile (for example due to the changes in the security model between V5.3 and V6, but also to make the code output tags for use with the Page Editor which is often done by taking advantage of the new FieldRenderer class).

When to expect it?
We expect the alpha to be released on SDN by the end of this week.

I look very much forward to the reactions from the community after the alpha is released. I expect it to be useful for a lot of people. But it is an alpha, so I also expect people to run into all sorts of problems.

For help with the alpha, I suggest that you use the SDN Forums.

You can submit bug reports to Sitecore Support who will forward them to the Project Team (don't expect an answer regarding the alpha - Sitecore Support will simply register the issue).