I have taken a new job and have been introduced to a new SharePoint environment that has been set up. The topology is as follows.

Dev - > Authoring -> Testing -> Production

I am a little confused by the authoring environment. This to me indicates that content by the end user is created here. We then push this to Testing. After Testing is complete we push this content to production.

Would this mean that normally that you would not be able to change content in production? Or if you did when you next pushed the content up from Authoring it would be lost?

In the past I have created webparts as features. These are tested then pushed live. I have never had to migrate content with it.

  • This question sounds like it is specific only to your new job. I would suggest asking someone where you work about the role of the authoring environment. I could see this being different across organizations.
    – Kit Menke
    Oct 5 '11 at 17:56
  • They don't know. The put in this system but have not really thought it through. The site is for the company Intranet. Not external facing. Will be using publishing site so content can go through approval before going live.
    – John
    Oct 6 '11 at 7:49

SharePoint can be configured a number of ways, though I have to admit that this is the first time I've seen Authoring before Testing. Typically, when a dedicated Authoring site is in the mix, it is there for one of 2 reasons: 1) it has different authentication requirements (i.e. Authoring is NTLM but the production site is Forms-Base/Anonymous) or 2) there are security concerns or firewalls in place that only allow content to be moved via SharePoint Content Migration jobs instead of direct DB Access.

Your assumption is correct that Authoring is where content changes are supposed to be made and that nobody should ever change production directly. I would honestly verify that the farm really works the way you think it does. Here are some things to find out:

  • What is the authentication method on Authoring?
  • What is the authentication method on Production?
  • How is content moved from Authoring to Testing to Production? (you are looking for specifics here, i.e. Timer jobs, manual push, custom migration code...)
  • What databaseserver/instances and content databases are used by Authoring, Testing and Production?
  • How isolated is the production farm (i.e. is this an Intranet or is Production an internet-facing site?)

The answers to those questions should go a long way to understanding what is really going on.

It is also worth mentioning that elevating code changes follows a different path than content changes. That is, code is supposed to follow the normal dev-qa-auth/prod path but content moves from authoring-prod and optionally authoring-qa-dev, depending on the business needs and infrastructure.


From what i can gather from your post, is that you might have content that is required for your webparts, that must be prebuilt.

for eg a List containing template data for a webpart

this list would then be created in the authoring enviroment, your webpart and its base data would then be tested in QA if all is a success, all of it will then be pushed through to the production evniroment.

hope this helps

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