Content Type Hubs and the Blank Site Template – Fixing them

So, I’ve somehow managed to get through most of the SP2010 cycle without having to use the Enterprise Content Type hub – until last week. This was my opportunity to stumble across one of the gotchas of the ECT hub – it doesn’t work with blank sites. We had a number of site collections based on the Blank site template, and content types would not replicated to it. Other site collections based on other templates – such as Team sites – worked fine.

Interesting. And this tickled a neuron. I remembered that Managed Metadata fields don’t work with site collections that were created using the Blank site template. You have to enable an additional, hidden, feature ‘TaxonomyFieldAdded’. All site templates except the Blank template activate this feature when they’re created (and why the Blank one doesn’t is a bit of a puzzle).

Now, that doesn’t sound like a feature that should be related to the ECT hub – I mean, the feature name really doesn’t sound like it – but then the ECT hub does rely on the Managed Metadata for some strange reason. That’s a puzzler; as they’re quite different functionality, you’d expect some independence of concerns.

Anyway, I decided to try it – activate the TaxonomyFieldAdded feature and see:

Enable-SPFeature –Url “http://thesite” -Identity “TaxonomyFieldAdded”

I then republished my content types – and they started to appear in the site collections based on the blank site template.

Yes, because obviously the ECT hub should rely on a feature called ‘TaxonomyFieldAdded’… I think I would politely call this a suboptimal design.

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