Say for example you have a Site Collection Web Application1 and you have created a series of content types to use. Now, you create Web Application2 and find the necessity to reuse the content types created in Web Application 1. There is no way you could share or reference those content types created in Web Application1 in Web Application2. The only way possible is to create or write an application which would install those content types. This situation is pretty common in large organizations. This can be even considered for exposing base content types you use across multiple web applications in the farm.
Below is the diagram representing the above chaos:
SharePoint 2010 now introduces a new feature called Content Type Hubs.Content Type Hub is a central location where you can manage and publish your content types – so now web applications can subscribe to this hub and pull down the published content types from the hub. Even receive updates on the published content types!
As you can see, the content type hub is exposed to every web application using the Metadata Service Application. So, as long as the web applications use the same Metadata Service Application, the content types will be pushed to those subscribed web applications.
Configuring The Content Type Hub
This is pretty simple.
1) Create the web application and the root site which you want it to be the Hub
2) In the Managed Metadata Service Application (under Central Administration | Application Settings | Service Applications )properties, you can set the Content Type Hub
3) In the Managed Metadata Service Connection, we explicitly tell to consume content types from the hub
4) Now, we can go to our content type hub site, create content types and you should see Manage content type publishing option
5) And publish the same
6) This will publish the content types
In order to receive the published content types immediately, you can go and run two timer jobs immediately:
1) Content Type Hub
2) Content Type Subscriber (of the web application which is going to receive the content types updates)
Published Content Types
After running the timer jobs, the content types should be published. Go to your Site Settings | Site Collection Administration | Content Type Publishing
You can see all the published content types here
Remember, as long as the Web Application use the same Metadata Service Application the content type hub is using, it can receive the content types from the hub.
Very neat and useful feature from the SharePoint team!
More posts will follow in the future once we start using it in the real world projects. Big thanks to Steve for his blog post on this.