Problems Applying SharePoint Solutions to Subsites
SharePoint Solutions are a great way to develop easy-to-deploy templates for your SharePoint infrastructure. We employ these Solutions to make it easier for our clients to deploy new subsites. While moving some of the solutions we built from a Client’s Site Collection to their other Site Collection we ran into the following issue:
We compared all of the activated features in both the Site Collection Features list and the Site Features list. Everything was the same. Somehow, we were still receiving errors about these missing features.
Why this issue occurred is unknown. We were unable to triage the issue deeply as time didn’t permit and the client wasn’t concerned as long as it was fixed. My theory is that the client was on an old “Office 365 Small Business Premium” plan and was then switched over to Microsoft’s new “Office 365 Business Premium” plan. I believe that, when this switch happened, the current SharePoint Site Collection version was updated to 2013 and the new site created was SharePoint 2013 version as well. Since the solutions were probably created when the original site was 2010 version the previously exported solutions were from a previous version and therefore not 100% compatible.
However it happened, the issue still remained. During a search online, to see if anyone else had these issues and if there was a workaround, I stumbled upon a SharePoint solution on Ashok Raja’s Blog. The Feature Manager Web Part for Office 365 allows you to view installed features for a Site Collection as well as activate/deactivate features by feature ID.
Using this tool was simple:
- Import the solution to the Solution Gallery on the site collection.
- Create or edit an existing page in your Site
- Insert the SharePoint Frontier Feature Manager web part onto the page
- Save the edits to the page
- Click View All Features to see a list of all activated features
Once you have the list of activated features you can analyze what is there and what isn’t. In our case, we copied each “Feature ID” from the error message we received. We pasted these IDs into the Feature Manager tool and clicked “Activate.” With all of the missing features activated we were able to deploy subsites from these solution templates like normal.
Further to the above, in a follow up attempt to diagnose the issue, when we exported the solution and moved it to a new site collection (v2013 to v2013) the solutions were usable without performing the above functions. Leading me to believe it was the solution itself and not due to creating a completely new site collection or the template from which new site collections were created (Team Site).