Thursday, October 16, 2008

Folders in SharePoint document libraries - Why???

This is something which happens everytime again when you look at users who start working with SharePoint. They start creating folders within document libraries.

NOOOOO .... metadata is the way to go in SharePoint - if you use metadata you can use search, filters and custom views to organize your documents. This provides for a lot more flexiblity.

But unfortunately people are not eager to change the way they are working. So maybe it is possible to combine the best of both worlds - it would be nice that you could couple a fixed set of metadata to a folder so that when a user drops a document inside the metadata is added automatically. I know that you can add metadata to a folder  - take a look at Adding metadata to a folder or Implementing folder content types . Unfortunately the metadata is not replicated to the individual documents ... interesting feature to write - anyone up for it?

 

6 comments:

markarend said...

JOPX, I agree in the general sense that tagging is much more useful for organizing than putting things in folders. Once I used Google Reader and saw that each of my tags is represented by a folder icon, I was convinced. But unfortunately the best way to scale a list or library to its tested limit of 2 million items is to place up to 2,000 items into 1,000 folders, or some combination thereof. We need to test scaling with metadata views as well. I also agree a simple way to manage folder metadata, including inheriting among its contents, would be ideal and super-useful feature for SharePoint!

AutoSponge said...

I use folders in doc libraries to control permissions on groups of documents but turn off the ability to make folders virtually everywhere else.

Marwan Tarek said...

I agree on first comment, if you have scenario where you need to support large number of documents (around 10000) you need to split in folders to accomdate this large number

coolstuff said...

This would be an extremely easy feature to build, take only a coupe hours. Pull Metadata out of the folder to auto populate child file metadata. Match the field names, a simple EventReceiver class would do it. ItemAdded / ItemAdding.

Would anyone be willing to pay money for this solution/feature?? Would not think so...

M said...

JOPX, check this link, to get an opposite (mvp) opinion

http://www.mikhaildikov.com/2008/05/sharepoint-folders-need-more-love.html

Andy Burns said...

Yes, I agree, Folders are used much more often than I'd like. Much of this is, I think, a training issue; users are familiar with network drives, but using Views to create an almost SQL like query is... difficult for your average user.

Also, as Mark Arend says, the 2000 items limit forces you into using folders, especially if you're doing scanning and release of documents into SharePoint.

We have actually done metadata inheritance just like you describe, by doing just what Coolstuff said - EventReceiver. It wasn't too hard. You do have to consider what happens when the folder's metadata is updated, though - does it update the data in the sub-items?

But I'd be willing to help out, if you actually need it, or if your plans are bigger than just an EventHandler.