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Rename Schema Field XML Name

The following always happens in an implementation -- some field in a Tridion Schema has a wrong "XML Name". Maybe it's capitalized wrong, or just a silly name that doesn't reflect what the field should be. In any case, you just want to rename it. Yes, I know you should not touch XML Names after the Schema has been created and after content has been entered. I still want to do it.

But, there is one problem though, you will lose all your content in that field in all the Components on that Schema. The reason is that the content in a Component is represented as XML where each Schema field "XML Name" is well, the name of each element in the XML. Changing the Schema "Xml Name" will basically change the XSD of the Component XML, immediately rendering it invalid.

There are several solutions to this issue and below is the one I just used in order to rename such XML Name:
  1. Create an additional field in the Schema where the only thing that differs from the original field we want to rename is the "XML Name". All other attributes, such as type, mandatory, single- vs multi-value, etc. are simply kept the same;
  2. If original field is mandatory, change it to optional;
  3. Run the RenameField tool (presented below), which will rename the old field to the new field for each Component on a given Schema;
  4. Remove the old field from the Tridion Schema;
  5. (optional) Run the RenameField tool again, just to make sure and re-sync all Components on their modified Schema. This step is optional, but I personally like to do it;
Creating a new Schema field will basically allow us to take the old field, rename it to the new field and save the Component with the new structure. In order to automate this process, I created a little Console application in .NET, which uses CoreService to communicate with your Tridion Content Manager and perform the modifications for each Component on a given Schema.

The RenameField tool follows the following logic:
  • Open a connection to the CoreService endpoint (basic HTTP, so it can be used from any client that can access the TCM instance);
  • Run a 'Where Used' query on a given Schema, retaining only Components. This will technically give us all Components that are 'based-on' our Schema;
  • For each Component:
    • Read the Component data
    • Either on Content (or Metadata) XML, read the old field XML node
    • Create a new XML node using the new field name
    • Move all attributes from the old node to the new node
    • Move all child nodes from the old node to the new node
    • Replace old node with new node
    • Save Component back to TCM
Once the tool has executed, the old nodes will not exist anymore in the Component. It is now safe to remove the old field from the Schema.

Since the Component XML doesn't contain any node with the old "XML Name", it is not necessary to re-sync the Components on the new Schema, but it is possible to do so by simply running the RenameField tool again.

The RenameField tool is available on my Git page under Rename Schema Field.

The tool takes a few parameters in its App.config or executable .config file. Their values should be self-explanatory.

As always, first DO BACKUP your CM database before running this tool, because it will modify your content and create new versions on Components!


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