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If we are creating workflows and lists using the out of the box tools in 2010 on a development machine, is there a preferred way of moving them to test and live once we are happy?

Thanks for any pointers

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There are a number of packaging and deployment considerations. If what you are doing is pretty informal and does not need to follow a robust deployment methodology, it may be acceptable to export the site, lists, libraries, and workflows from the dev environment and then bring them into the production environment.

However if it is a complex, widely used process or needs to follow a robust deployment and testing methodology then you would be best off creating the project in Visual Studio so that you can have control and maintain the solution and how it is deployed on the site.

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I guess that's kind of the answer I was expecting. We have done a lot of work previously using custom visual studio solutions for different aspects but we are looking for better ways to utilise the out of the box tools for what they are designed for, rather than coding from the ground up all the time. I'm convinced there must be a way to build applications on dev and be able to push these solutions through to other environments without the need to start from a coding perspective. Thanks for your views. –  Anonymous Jul 28 '10 at 7:49
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Typically it is easy to use all of the out of the box stuff with the initial deployment, but subsequent deployments and upgrades need much more work. As an example, say you create a template from an existing list and then bring that to the production server. You create an instance of the list based on that template. What happens if you later want to add a column, you either need to manually keep things in sync, or you need to use code to apply the changes. It is easiest to maintain the solution when it is all done in code. –  Mike Oryszak Jul 28 '10 at 23:35
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I agree with Mike that it is best to do things in code if you are able. Since you are using the out of the box workflows, this tool may be of use to you: http://www.share-gate.com/Product. I have not used it in a production environment, but I was intrigued enough to download the trial and take a look. If the product works as it says it does, even the free version could be useful to you for helping you to identify differences in your environments.

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