Unexpected Error

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But Where Is the Content Type Used?

Managing content types inside of the SharePoint interface has a lot of power. I’m still to this today deeply impressed with the content type paradigm that Microsoft introduced in SharePoint 2007. As a taxonomic and information management paradigm, there are few that are as usable and flexible.

However, sometimes we find ourselves a bit perplexed when attempting to remove content types. The first thing about removing content types is the language used inside of a list/library. When you attempt to remove a content type from the list/library it uses the world “delete”. Well, you’re not really “deleting” the content type. The correct language for the action should be: “remove content type from library” (or “list” if in that context).

The second issue I see is when you actually are trying to delete a content type. In this case the “delete” language is appropriate, but what happens if we try to remove a content type that is still utilized in SharePoint? We get this wonderful message:

Exception handling is another area that could use some big improvements in SharePoint. This error message only tells me the problem, but it does not suggest a solution. Even the correlation ID (which I’ll talk about in a later post) is completely useless. It doesn’t tell me (1) where the content type is actually in use, and (2) what I need to do to actually remove it.

Solution: give me a list of instances the content type is used including hyperlinks, and as mentioned above, tell the user what they need to do to actually delete the content type.

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