Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Unable to recover from a corrupted Publishing infrastructure

For a functional extension to the intranet (enterprise portal) of a client organization, we needed to provision a content page to an existing site. A precondition is thus that the Publishing infrastructure is activated within the context of that SharePoint site: at Site level (PublishingSite feature) and Web (PublishingWeb feature). Upon activating the latter we encountered the following error: Provisioning did not succeed. Details: Failed to create the 'Pages' library. OriginalException: The feature failed to activate because a list at 'Pages' already exists in this site. Delete or rename the list and try activating the feature again.
Strangly enough: via the SharePoint GUI the Pages library was not visible. Could be that it was set to hidden. But trying to directly navigate via its url merely resulted in a NotFound. Upon opening the site collection in SharePoint Designer, it showed there was a left-over of the Pages library: merely an empty folder, no Forms nor other content. But this presence was in the way of activating the Publishing feature. So we deleted this folder via SPD. And then tried to activate PublishingWeb feature again. This time it progressed a bit further, to stop with the message: The page you selected contains a list that does not exist. It may have been deleted by another user. Inspecting again: the Pages library was correctly available now, including associations with PublishingPage contenttypes. Missing this time was the Style Library documentlibrary. That is, when inspecting via SharePoint GUI. Again looking at filesystem level via SharePoint designer: same situation, Style Library folder present, but empty. Deleted this folder, and retried to activate the PublishingWeb feature. Sadly we kept on running into the error of missing List. Even after manually adding the Style Library; forcefully deactivate and re-activate the PublishingWeb feature. We did not manage to recover from the initial corrupted situation wrt Pages list. Search results on the Web for information on both the error messages gave some hits to problem descriptions, but sadly not to resolutions.
Due to a pressing time schedule, we therefore had to resort to a pragmatic alternative. Deleting the corrupted site collection, and re-creating it. This was a viable approach due to the current nature of the site collection: containing no content yet. But it leaves me with somewhat of a frustrated / disappointed mind. I would rather have seen us able to recover from the incorrect situation, while preserving the site collection.

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