Multi-Site Manual / Version 2110

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4. Multi-Site Challenges

This chapter assists you to get an overview of editorial actions which may harm the Multi-Site processing. It is recommended not to perform these actions, as failures especially in deeply nested site hierarchies may easily spread and expand.

While CoreMedia Multi-Site provides much automation to ease managing localized contents, it sometimes cannot hide the complexity behind. This complexity becomes obvious for example during unexpected editorial actions, where the Multi-Site feature tries to solve conflicts, but may do so with wrong assumptions.

General Multi-Site Content Integrity Note

CoreMedia Multi-Site expects no manual interaction between sites. If you stick to this rule, you should have no problems using the Multi-Site feature. Most problems arise when you do not use workflows to transfer contents from one site to another.

Exceptions exist especially where Multi-Site does not yet provide support or cannot provide assistance. Most prominent are:

  • propagation of deleted contents,

  • transfer contents between siblings sites, and

  • transfer content from derived to master sites.

General Multi-Site Fixes

Most issues with CoreMedia Multi-Site can be fixed by adjusting the localization properties after unexpected actions such as copy and paste of contents between sites. These are the expected states of the properties you should know:


This is expected to have the same locale as the site the content is in.


This is expected to be either empty, if it is a content independent from the master site, or it should link to its variant in the master site, so that it receives updates from the master site.

Master Version:

This is expected to contain any valid version number of the master. A negative value indicates that the content has been derived from this (positive) master version but has still to be translated. If the master link is empty, this version should be empty, too.

In rare cases, the field can obtain the value 0 (zero). This is not a real version and it indicates that something went wrong. See Invalid Master Version in Table 4.1, “List of Multi-Site Challenges” for details.

Overview of Possible Pitfalls

Table 4.1, “List of Multi-Site Challenges” is grouped by these keywords:


Lists possible symptoms, you may observe. The symptoms are not necessarily complete, but are the most prominent symptoms you may observe.


The possible causes for the observed symptoms. Again, there may be additional or other causes, but the ones listed are those known to occur sometimes.


Effects, if ignoring this possibly erroneous state. The severity of these effects may be minimal, thus, ignoring a given state may always be an option.


How to resolve the issues. Sometimes, there are several approaches which you may consider, depending on your perceived severity of the issue.


What is recommended to prevent such issues. Most of the time, it lists best practices when dealing with multi-site content.


Validate Multisite

Most of the symptoms below can be monitored with the cm tool validate-multisite, as described in Section, “Validate Multi-Site” in Content Server Manual.

Cross-Site Links


Validation Issue: Most likely you observed this issue when opening the affected content in CoreMedia Studio. It will tell you about links which link to other sites, ignoring the master link which is meant to link to other sites.

Confused Site Visitors: Your site visitors will experience switching between languages accidentally just by navigating through your site.


Manually Copy Contents Between Sites: Despite the most obvious reason, that you may have manually added links from other sites, the more likely reason may be copying contents between sites. If you do so, there is no feature, which will map contained links, as it will be done in translation and synchronization workflows. Thus, instead of links pointing to the site you copied to, the links will still refer to the source site you copied from.

Manually Copy Richtext Between Sites: A similar, may be less obvious cause, is copying Richtext contents from one site to another. They may contain embedded images as well as internal links. On copy & paste these images/links will still link to the originating site.


Workflows Not Updating Links: From a translation or synchronization workflow perspective, these links most likely will be considered as independent links in a derived site, thus, as if they have been explicitly added in the derived site. These links will never get updated by translation or synchronization workflows, they may even cause conflicts when trying to merge changes to the affected link lists.

This very effect will only occur, if you have explicitly set a master-link. Note, that in case of copy & paste master-links and master-versions will be removed, if set.

Delivery Issues: Depending on your delivery configuration, you may experience either broken links or (more likely) your visitors stumbling from one language to another without being aware of it.


Remap Links Manually: If recreating the content from master is not an option, you may manually remap the links to link to the same contents in the actual site. Note, that this applies to link lists, to links and embedded images in CoreMedia Richtext just as links set in Struct properties.


Use Workflows: Instead of manually copying contents from one site to another, use workflows such as translation or synchronization workflow (whichever applies). Workflows will take care of mapping the links to the corresponding sibling in the target site. In addition to that they will also create possibly missing link targets in derived sites.

Remap Links Manually: Just as stated above, if you copied contents or property values such as CoreMedia Richtext from one site to another, you have to manually remap the links accordingly. Note, that this may not be feasible in CoreMedia Studio, as not necessarily all links are accessible within CoreMedia Studio. If in doubt, please ask your administrators to check the content.

Deleted Master


Validation Issue Deleted Master: In CoreMedia Studio you will see an issue, that the master property refers to a non-existing master.


Deleted Master: Most likely, the master content got deleted. Unfortunately, there is not yet a way to propagate deletion of contents from one site to another. Thus, for a vivid site, it is very likely that you will stumble across this issue.


No more updates: The very content affected by deleted master will not receive any updates anymore. Most likely, as soon as all referrers have been updated, there will be no more content items linking to this content, and thus, you will have some content in your site unreachable by site visitors.

Despite this, the state is rather harmless and is similar to a content intentionally just existing in a derived site, but not in the master site.


Delete Derived Content: You may want to delete the derived content, just as the master content got deleted. Prior to that, you may want to run a translation or synchronization workflow for all contents linking to this content, as it is expected that any links will be automatically removed by this process.

Remove Master Link: Of course, if you want to keep this content, you can simply remove the master link. It is recommended to clear the master version property as well.

Restore Master: Always an option is to restore the master.


As there is currently no way to propagate deletion of contents, there is no way to prevent this state, other than establishing a communication of site administrators of the master site to the local site administrators.

Duplicated Content Items


Some Document (1): In your derived site you may observe, that just next to your content Some Document another content named Some Document (1) exists.


Create With Same Name: You may have created a content with the very same name, as it now exists in master site. When transferring the master content to your derived site, name conflicts are automatically resolved and the content from master will get a counter added to its name.

Manually Copy Between Sites: A typical pattern which has been observed is that contents are copied manually between sites, instead of using the appropriate workflows.


Ignoring state may be an option: From the repository perspective you may safely ignore this state, as the name of the content is not relevant for the Multi-Site feature to work. The relationship is always derived from the linked master content. But it may indicate, that a content receives translations, which is not even included in your site navigation.

If you continue working with these contents, only the content which links to the master via master-link will receive updates.


Fix Relation: If you expect that both documents are identical, you may need to resolve the conflict. Decide which document matches your desired document best (most likely the one you already had in your site before).


Use Workflows: Instead of manually copying contents from one site to another, use workflows such as translation or synchronization workflow (whichever applies). Note, that this is only possible from master site to a directly derived site.

Adjust Localization Properties: If you need to copy a content to your derived site, ensure to adjust the localization properties. More specifically:


Set the locale to the same locale as the site your document is in.


Adjust the master-link, so that it links to the same document in the master site.

Master Version:

Adjust the master version. Most likely, this is the current version number of the master (you will find it on System tab). If you want to signal, that this document is not translated yet, you may negate this version number. Thus, if you have copied version 5, but you want to mark the document as not translated yet, set the version number to -5.


Must Not Duplicate Master Link

If you adapted the master-link but kept the duplicated content, two contents will refer to the master. Subsequent translation and synchronization processes will resolve this ambiguity by choosing a random target content.

Thus, always ensure that a master content is always only referenced once from a given derived site.

Invalid Master Version


Changes of Links Not Propagated: If you trigger a translation or synchronization workflow, you experience, that links changed in master do not make it to the derived content.


Unset Master Version: The master version property may be empty, that is unset. Technically, the field is set to null. This triggers the same behavior as:

Invalid Master Version: The master version may denote a version, which does not exist or does not exist anymore for several reasons. Negative values are valid, if their absolute value matches an existing version.

The actual cause of such states is unknown. It may be a special case of copy & paste between sites, but more likely any other tools which caused this invalid state. One example may be, that a version got destroyed by cm tools.


Properties Not Updated As Expected: For any property which is not meant to be translated, the expectation is, that it gets automatically updated from master. This feature is called auto-merge. This feature relies on the ability to determine which properties have been changed from previous translation or synchronization to now. If the previous state of properties of the master cannot be determined because the master version is unset or not existing the defensive behavior of CoreMedia Multi-Site will assume no changes to apply.


Set Master Version: If you are lucky, you may guess an appropriate master version which matches the state of your derived content. If in doubt, set it to the current master version and review non-translatable properties such as links in differencing view.

If you have multiple contents in this state, consider setting it to the negative current master version. This way, you will have a kind of todo-list, as these contents will be listed as not translated yet.

Finish Workflow: Finishing a translation or synchronization workflow will adjust the version property automatically. This may be the easiest option to take, but you may miss contents you should have reviewed.


Handle With Care: As the actual cause is quite unknown, there is not much more to say than to handle the master version property with care. It contains important information, which, if invalid, may harm your translation and synchronization processes.

Any tooling and processes provided by CoreMedia respect these versioned references, so that they are not automatically cleaned up. The only difference is a tool called cm destroy, which is especially meant for administrative emergency interventions.

Locale Mismatch


Validation Issue: Most likely you observed this issue when opening the affected content in CoreMedia Studio. It will tell you about a mismatch between the site's locale and the locale set for the content.


Intended Behavior: This may be intended behavior, that is, you may want to provide a content with a different locale in the very same site. Note, that due to current limitations of CoreMedia Multi-Site it is not recommended to use locales different to the site locale within a given site. For details see Effects.

Manually Copy Between Sites: A typical pattern, which has been observed is, that contents are copied manually between sites, instead of using the appropriate workflows. If doing so, the locale will not be updated accordingly.


Ignoring state may be an option: Using different locales within a site may be a valid option, if the following effects are not relevant to you.

Accidental Locale Clash on Derive Site: The effect is best described using an example: Think of a master site having locale en-US. This site contains a content D with German locale de-DE. If you derive a new site with German locale, the derived content D' will be perceived as having the site's locale. In the last step, you will derive a new site with Dutch locale nl-NL from the German site. As a result content D'' in the Dutch site will now be adapted to locale n-NL which may not be desired.

Conflict Site vs. Document Locale

Figure 4.1. Conflict Site vs. Document Locale

In other words: If the site containing content D is a so-called leaf-site, thus, having no derived sites, and will never have one, there is no real issue having this content, unless you do translation via XLIFF:

Wrong Locale on Translation: Having a content D with locale de-DE in a site having locale en-US will result in XLIFF being generated with site-locale en-US. Thus, translation agencies will not be aware of the correct locale. This applies to the target locale as well as to the source locale.


Fix Locale: If you copied the content from another site, adjust the locale accordingly. It should be the same as the site's locale.


Use Workflows: Instead of manually copying contents from one site to another, use workflows such as translation or synchronization workflow (whichever applies). Note, that this is only possible from master site to a directly derived site. These workflows will automatically adapt the locale.

Adjust Localization Properties: If you need to copy a content to your derived site, ensure to adjust the localization properties. In this case:

Locale: Set the locale to the same locale as the site your content is in.

Table 4.1. List of Multi-Site Challenges

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