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Importing/Exporting Pages and Content

Liferay Portal’s Export/Import feature gives you the power to backup and restore your site and app data. The export feature grants users the flexibility of exporting site or app-specific content they’ve created as a LAR (Liferay Archive) file to other Liferay instances, or to save it for a later use. The import feature can be used to ingest the LAR file you exported from Liferay, which restores the work you previously exported.

For example, suppose you’re managing a site that celebrates the Thanksgiving holiday every year by creating a Thanksgiving themed page during the month of November. Every November, you’d like to publish the holiday themed page, but want it removed after Thanksgiving ends. Instead of manually creating the page every year, just to delete it and create it again next year, you can use the Export/Import features to streamline the process. When the holiday ends every year, you can export the page as a LAR file and save it outside your site. Then when the holiday season approaches the following year, you can import the page, make some minor tweaks, and publish it with little effort.

There are two primary places Export/Import is used: sites and apps. You can learn more about exporting/importing app data in the Exporting/Importing App Content section. In this section, you’ll learn how to export and import content for sites.

Backing Up and Restoring Pages and Their Content

In the Site Administration dropdown of the Menu, there is an option called Publishing Tools, which is where the Export and Import features reside for pages. If you click on Export, you are presented a simple interface which can be used for exporting your public or private pages. The Export feature allows you to export your site’s data as a single LAR file. Similarly, if you click Import, you’re provided a similar interface which can be used for importing public or private pages as a LAR file.

When importing data into a site, it’s best to use a newly created site to avoid potential conflicts between the existing site data and the data about to be imported. When exporting site data, you can specify exactly what data should be included in the LAR:

  • Site pages (you can select exactly which ones)
  • Page settings
  • Theme
  • Theme settings
  • Logo
  • Application configurations
  • Application content
  • Archived setups
  • User preferences

Once you’ve created a LAR file, you can import it into a site on another Liferay server. The data included in the LAR file, including all the site pages, will be imported into the site. Exporting and importing LARs is a great way to take content from a site in one environment (say, a development or QA environment) and move it all in one shot to a site on another server. You can use LARs to import data onto production servers, but you should not make this a regular occurrence. If you want to regularly move pages from one server to another, you should use Liferay Portal’s staging environment, which is discussed in the Staging Content for Publication section.

LARs can be a good way to back up your site’s content. You can export them to a specific location on your server which is backed up. If you ever have to restore your site, all you need to do is import the latest LAR file. However, please be careful! If there’s any content that exists both in the LAR and in the site that’s importing the data, there may be a conflict, and data could be corrupted. If you’d like to restore a Liferay site using a LAR file, it’s best to delete the site entirely, create a new site with the same name as the old one (i.e., re-create the site), and then import the LAR file into the new site. This way, there’s no chance for there to be a data conflict.

Liferay Portal can handle some kinds of naming collisions when importing a LAR file into a site. For example, suppose you’re importing a LAR file into a site and the LAR file has a page with a certain friendly URL. If an existing page in the site has the same friendly URL there will be a collision. Liferay Portal resolves the collision by adding a number to the end of the friendly URL and incrementing until there’s no collision. This behavior takes place for friendly URL translations as well. Similarly, if importing a LAR into a site causes a category name collision, Liferay Portal renames the imported categories.

Next, you’ll simulate being a good administrator and exporting a LAR file for backup purposes. Click on the Export button from the Publishing menu and click the Add button (icon-add.png). A New Export page loads, allowing you to configure what pages and content you’d like to export from your site.

Give your export process the name Lunar Resort Version 1. Use the Pages category to select public or private pages and their settings you’d like to export. Also notice the Content category, which lets you choose all content or specific content for your selected pages.

For this initial export, select everything. Note that if you select one of the Choose radio selectors or Change links, you’re given checkboxes for options to choose. The applications’ content can also be selected for export, including the Documents and Media Library, Message Boards, and Web Content assets. You can even export the theme you’re using! Lastly, you can select whether the permissions for your exported pages and content are included.

export-page-templates.png

Figure 1: You can configure your export options manually by selecting pages, content, and permissions.

Once you click Export, the menu automatically switches to the Processes tab, where you’ll see the status of your exported LAR file. You can select the Download icon (icon-download.png) to download the export to your local machine. Once you have the file, you can copy it to a backup location for safekeeping or import it into another installation of Liferay. If you must rebuild or wish to revert back to this version of your site, you can import this file by clicking the Import button from the Publishing menu, browsing to it, and selecting it. You also have the option of dragging a LAR file inside the dotted area, which also executes the import process.

Another useful option to use when exporting content is the Export Templates feature. The exercise you completed previously created a custom export process. Instead of manually having to customize an export process every time you’re looking to export pages/content, you can use an export template. Using export templates provides you the convenience of storing export process settings so they can be reused. If you export pages frequently and usually select the same options to export, the task of selecting options repeatedly can become tedious. With export templates, you can select a custom template and immediately export with the options you configured.

To create an export template, select the Options icon (icon-options.png) from the top right corner of the screen and select Export Templates. Click the Add button (icon-add.png) and assign the template a name and description, and then fill out the configuration options as you would during a custom export process. Once you’ve saved your export template, it is available to use from the Export Templates menu. To use the template, click the Actions button (icon-actions.png) next to the template and select Export. This automatically fills the fields and options for exporting pages and their content. All you have to do is give the export process a custom name. Once you click Export to confirm the configuration settings, your LAR file is generated.

Next, you’ll discuss creating site teams.

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