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Oracle® WebCenter Content User's Guide for Desktop
11g Release 1 (11.1.1)

Part Number E10624-05
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9 Understanding Content Folders and Files

This section covers these topics:

9.1 About Content Folders and Files

Content folders offer a familiar, tree-like structure that provides convenient access to files on a content server without having to use that server's own user interface (web-based or otherwise). They are essentially like the directories on your local computer, but they point to virtual locations on the content server. Similarly, the "files" in the content folders are symbolic links or pointers to content items in the content server repository.

Oracle WebCenter Content Server

For Oracle WebCenter Content Server instances, content folders are shown under Browse Content in the server's integration hierarchy in Windows Explorer and your e-mail application.

Note:

Content folders are available on client computers only if the content server administrator has enabled the folders functionality on the server. If this is not the case, you will not see a content folders tree in the integration hierarchy for a server. Also, content folders may be displayed somewhat differently for a content server than shown in this section, depending on the server configuration (specifically, the folders component running on it).

The folder structure that you see in the integration hierarchy is identical to that in the Oracle WebCenter Content Server web interface (under 'Browse Content'), as illustrated in Figure 9-1. You only see folders and files for which you have access privileges on the server.

Figure 9-1 Content Folders in Windows Explorer and Oracle WebCenter Content Server's Web Interface

Description of Figure 9-1 follows
Description of "Figure 9-1 Content Folders in Windows Explorer and Oracle WebCenter Content Server's Web Interface"

Oracle Content Database Servers and Other WebDAV Servers

On Oracle Content Database servers and other WebDAV servers, content folders are shown directly under the defined server connection in the integration hierarchy in Windows Explorer and your e-mail application. The folder structure that you see in the integration hierarchy is identical to that in Oracle Content DB's web interface or Oracle Drive. You only see folders and files for which you have access privileges on the server.

Interacting with Content Folders and Files

You work with content folders and files in the integration hierarchy of a content server in much the same way as you do with other, local folders and files on your computer. You can copy and paste files, drag and drop files, right-click files to open context menus, and so on. In addition, you can perform a number of content management tasks on the folders and files on the server. Depending on the server type and setup, you may check files out of the server, check them in, make them available for offline use, view content information, and so on.

9.2 Content Folder Metadata Inheritance and Propagation

When you create a new content folder on an Oracle WebCenter Content Server instance, the metadata from its parent folder automatically populates the metadata fields for the new folder. This allows the folder to initially "inherit" metadata, but enables you to make changes to the new folder. Subsequent changes to a parent folder's metadata do not affect the metadata for existing subfolders.

The content server administrator can enable the metadata propagation feature, which enables you to apply a parent folder's metadata to all the subfolders and files in it. See Section 10.17, "Propagating Folder Metadata" for more information.

9.3 Content File Versioning

Oracle WebCenter Content Server

Oracle WebCenter Content Server can store multiple files of the same name as separate content items. However, in the integration of Oracle WebCenter Content Server with your Windows desktop applications, file names in content folders need to be unique (in the same way that a folder in Windows cannot contain two files of the same name). Because of this requirement, when you copy a file to a content folder that already contains a file of the same name, it is automatically checked in as a new revision of the existing file on the server. For example, if process.doc is in a folder on the server and you copy a second process.doc file to that same folder, then the second file becomes a new revision of the first file (even though they may be completely different documents). If process.doc is in a folder and you copy process2.doc or process.xls to that folder, then they remain separate content items because they have different file names.

Please note that when you move a file to a content folder that already contains a file with the same name, then that file may replace the original file in that folder, depending on the folders component running on the server. The old file is not removed, however; it just loses its folder association. The content item is still on the server and you can search for it.

The file name that is displayed in the Name column in Windows Explorer or your e-mail application and in the Name field of the Content Properties dialog is the same as the original file name in the content server repository. When you rename content through the Windows Explorer integration, the original file name also changes to reflect the new name.

If Oracle WebCenter Content Server is set up to automatically generate content IDs, then the content IDs follow the established numbering convention for that server. If this option is not enabled, checking in a new content item generates a unique sequential content or message ID.

Oracle Content Database Servers

When you add a file to a content folder on an Oracle Content Database server that already contains a file of the same name, then it depends on the folder settings how this is handled. If automatic versioning is enabled for the folder, the file is checked in as a new revision of the existing file on the server. If manual versioning is enabled, then the existing file is simply overwritten (in other words, the content folder behaves exactly like standard Windows folders on your local computer).

Other WebDAV Servers

When you add a file to a content folder on a WebDAV server that already contains a file of the same name, then it depends on the server settings how this is handled. Unless the WebDAV server has special versioning features, the existing file is simply overwritten with the new file (in other words, the content folder behaves exactly like standard Windows folders on your local computer).

9.4 Content File Metadata

Metadata is "data about data." It enables the content server to keep track of all items managed on the server, and also helps with searching for items, controlling access, and so on.

When you check a file in to an Oracle WebCenter Content Server instance, you associate information with that file that uniquely identifies it so that you can easily locate the file in the content server at any time. Oracle WebCenter Content Server uses three types of metadata: default, optional, and custom. The specific metadata fields used depend on how your system administrator has configured the server.

Default metadata fields are preconfigured for the software and include the content ID and primary file. The content ID is a unique identifier for each content item on the server and is often assigned automatically. If the system is set up to allow you to enter a content ID, you can do so in the content check-in form. Some of the default metadata fields are mandatory: a content item cannot be checked in with any of these fields left blank. Mandatory metadata fields are marked with an asterisk (*) on the content check-in form.

If you provide no title for the file being checked in, the file name (minus the file extension) is used as the title.

Desktop can "remember" the metadata values used at check-in and automatically populate metadata fields each time you check in a new content item. For more information, see Section 7.13, "Setting Metadata To Be Remembered for Form-Based Check-Ins."

Whenever you check a file in to Oracle WebCenter Content Server, default metadata values are automatically assigned to the content. These default values, which are set by the system administrator through Oracle WebCenter Content Server's web interface, are evaluated in the following order:

  1. Folder: When you add a file to a content folder on the server, that file inherits any default metadata values for the folder that have been set through Oracle WebCenter Content Server's web interface.

  2. User: For any metadata defaults not set for the folder, the user's default metadata values (as set in the user profile) are applied.

  3. System: The system default values are applied to any fields that are not set by either the folder metadata or the user's default metadata.

  4. E-mail: If the EmailMetadata component is installed on the content server, e-mail specific default metadata is assigned to the content.

After you check content in to the content server, you can change the metadata for the content item on its content information page (see Section 10.12, "Viewing and Modifying Content Folder and File Properties").

Caution:

If you change the security group, content type, or account of a content item, you will change the URL of that item in the content server and may also change who has access to the item.

If you change metadata for a folder, the new metadata is applied to all content you add to the folder after the change. The metadata of the content that is already in the folder prior to the change remains the same.

When you create a new content folder, the metadata from its parent folder automatically populates the metadata fields for the new folder. This allows the folder to initially "inherit" metadata, but enables you to make changes to the new folder. Subsequent changes to a parent folder's metadata do not affect the metadata for existing subfolders. If you want to apply a parent folder's metadata to subfolders and content items, you can use the metadata propagation feature.

9.5 Local Caching of Content Files

Desktop may download temporary copies of files from a content server and store them on your local computer. By default, the temporary storage cache is located in the following directory:

where USER is the profile name of the current computer user (for example, jsmith). The 'SyndicationCache' directory stores all offline Desktop files in separate subdirectories for each content server.

The following files are stored in your local cache:

Note:

You can change the offline cache location on your computer if the defaults do not meet your organization's file storage requirements. For more information, see Section B.2, "Changing the Location of the Local File Cache."

9.6 Content Management Actions on Files

You can perform various content management actions on files on a content server:

Table 9-1 provides a side-by-side comparison between these content management actions on files on a server.

Table 9-1 Content File Actions

Action Checked Out of Content Server? Available in Offline Cache (1)? Opened in Associated Application?

View

No

No (3)

Yes (4)

Open (2)

Yes (5)

Yes

Yes (6) (7)

Check Out

Yes (5)

Yes

No

Make Available Offline

No

Yes

No


Notes

  1. The file is copied to a temporary location on your local computer and can be accessed in offline mode. For more information, see Section 9.5, "Local Caching of Content Files."

  2. Please note that opening a content folder simply shows the contents of that folder.

  3. The file is copied to your local computer as a temporary file, but cannot be accessed in offline mode.

  4. The file is opened in read-only mode. You can make changes to the file, but you will have to save it as a new file (with a new file name) and check it in to the server as a new content item. In Microsoft Office applications, you may be able to check it out directly depending on the file type and state, so you can make changes and check it back in to the server as a new revision.

  5. The file is locked on the content server, and no other user can check out the file until you either check it back in or cancel its checked-out status ("undo the check-out").

  6. The file is opened in full edit mode. You can make changes to the file as required. When you check the file back in to the content server, it is checked in as a new revision of the existing content item. In Microsoft Office applications, you are given the opportunity to do this when you close the document or exit the application; other file types must be checked in using Windows Explorer.

  7. If the file is already checked out or available offline, you can choose a specific application to open the file in rather than its associated application ("Open With").

9.7 Content File Status

Content items shown in the integration hierarchy are preceded by an icon which identifies their application type, as is customary in Microsoft Windows, as well as their content management status. Table 9-2 lists the available status icons with their description. Please note that each of these status icons is an overlay of the application icon for the content item (see Figure 9-2 for an example of a Word application icon with a checked-out status overlay).

Figure 9-2 Checked-out Microsoft Word Document

Checked-out Microsoft Word document.

Table 9-2 Status Icons for Content Items

Icon Description
Status icon, which is described in the Description column.

This icon is used to indicate that you have currently checked out the content item. The versions of your locally cached copy and the original file on the content server match; that is, no changes have been made to either version since the file was checked out.

It is not always possible to obtain the user login information on content servers other than Oracle WebCenter Content Server instances. Files that you have checked out yourself may then be marked as if someone else than you checked them out (showing the padlock icon; see below).

Please note that all shortcuts to a checked-out file will also show this icon, since they are linked to the original file.

Status icon, which is described in the Description column.

This icon is used to indicate that you have currently checked out the content item. However, the versions of your locally cached copy and the original file on the content server do not match; more specifically, the modified timestamp of the file in your local cache has changed. This will typically be the case if you checked out a file, made changes to it, but did not yet check it back in to the content server. The icon provides a visual reminder for this.

Please note that all shortcuts to a checked-out file will also show this icon, since they are linked to the original file.

Status icon, which is described in the Description column.

This icon is used to indicate that someone other than you has currently checked out the content item, and the file is locked. You cannot check out the item, but you can still view it or make it available offline on your computer.

If you move the mouse cursor over the icon, you see a yellow box that includes the user name of the person who checked out the item.

Status icon, which is described in the Description column.

This icon is used to indicate that there is a conflict between the locally cached copy of a content item and the original file on the content server. This will typically happen if the file in the local cache is modified, but it is not checked out to you (for example, because someone cancelled the checked-out status of the file in the content server). You also see this status if you have made changes to a file in a workflow, but have not yet approved or rejected the file.

You can remedy this situation in either of two ways:

  • If you do not mind losing all changes to your local copy, then you can right-click the item and choose the Discard Changes option in the context menu. The locally cached copy is then moved in the recycle bin, effectively deleting it (unless the cache directory is located on a network share; in that case it is deleted directly).

  • If you want to keep all changes to your local copy, then you can right-click the item and choose the Move to Desktop option in the context menu. The local cached copy is then moved to your desktop, and you can check out the original file and check in the file on your desktop.

Status icon, which is described in the Description column.

This icon is used to indicate that the content item is currently available offline (that is, in local cache for your read-only access). The versions of your locally cached copy and the original file on the content server match; that is, no new revision has been checked in to the content server since you selected the file for offline availability.

Please note that only files can be made available offline, not folders. When you select the Make Content Available Offline option in the context menu of a folder, all content items in that folder (and any subfolders) are made available offline.

Status icon, which is described in the Description column.

This icon is used to indicate that the content item is currently available offline. However, the versions (more specifically, the dID attribute) of your locally cached copy and the original file on the content server do not match. This would, for example, be the case if someone updated the original item on the content server, and your local copy is still an older revision.

You can remedy this situation by right-clicking the file or its folder and choosing the Refresh Offline Files option (for files) or Refresh Offline Content option (for folders). This updates the copy in your local cache with the latest revision on the content server (and the icon turns into a blue cylinder again).


9.8 Content Folder Context Menus

When you right-click a folder in the integration hierarchy, a context menu comes up, which provides a number of options that are relevant to the folder in that particular situation (as is customary in Microsoft Windows). This context menu includes a number of standard Windows items (such as Copy and Delete), but also has a number of Desktop-specific content management options. The context menu for folders may include any of the following Desktop-specific options:

9.9 Content File Context Menus

When you right-click a file in the integration hierarchy, a context menu comes up, which provides a number of options that are relevant to the file in that particular situation, as is customary in Microsoft Windows. This context menu includes a number of standard Windows items (such as Copy and Delete), but also has a number of Desktop-specific content management options. The context menu for files may include any of the following Desktop-specific options:

Note:

Most of these options are also available on the File menu in Windows Explorer.

9.10 Enabling Metadata Prompting for Content Folders

When you drag and drop, copy and paste, or save a new file to a content folder on an Oracle WebCenter Content Server 11gR1 instance, you may be asked to provide metadata for that file before it is checked in to the server. This only happens if the content folder was specifically configured to enable metadata prompting. If metadata prompting is not enabled for a folder, new files in that folder will always inherit the default metadata values for the folder as set through the content server's web interface. Please note that if a required field does not have a default value assigned to it, you will always be prompted to provide metadata, even if the 'Enable Metadata Prompts' option is disabled. For more information on metadata inheritance, see Section 9.4, "Content File Metadata."

To enable metadata prompting for a content folder on Oracle WebCenter Content Server 11gR1:

  1. Open Windows Explorer and make sure the folders pane is visible.

  2. Open the WebCenter Content Servers node.

  3. Click the Oracle WebCenter Content Server instance which stores the folder for which you want to enable metadata prompting. If prompted, log in by entering your user name and password for that server.

  4. Select the folder in the integration hierarchy for which you want to enable metadata prompting.

  5. The preview pane, if enabled, displays the content information of the selected folder. If the preview pane is not visible, you can enable it (see Section 3.13.2, "Showing or Hiding the Preview Pane"). You can also right-click the folder and choose Content Information to open the information page in a separate window.

  6. The information page shows metadata that is assigned to the selected folder on the content server (for example, its owner, content type, security group, and so on).

    See the Oracle WebCenter Content User's Guide for Content Server for more information on content information (metadata).

  7. Depending on the folders configuration on the server, do either of the following:

    • Open the Folder Actions menu and then choose Update to open the Hierarchy Folder Configuration page (see Section A.8, "Folder Information page").

    • Open the Edit menu, then click Folder Information, and then show advanced options.

    Note:

    If you do not see these options, then you do not have sufficient privileges on the server to perform that action.

  8. Make sure that the Prompt for Metadata or Enable Metadata Prompts check box is selected.

  9. When you are done, click Save or Submit Update to save the changes. The changes take effect immediately; you do not need to restart your computer or the content server.