Running the Content Import#

In this section we will discuss:

  • How to run the import

  • Common errors you might hit during the import

  • Debugging and getting familiar with the exported data

  • Running the import multiple times

  • Writing tests

How to Run the Import#

First, get your exported data into the new buildout. At the root of the buildout (the main ploneconf.migration folder), create a folder called content-import. The numbered folders from the export should go in here. So the structure will look like this:

├── content-import
│   ├── 0
|       ├── 1.json
|       ├── 2.json
|       ├── 3.json
|       ├── ...
│   ├── 1
│   ├── 2
│   ├── 3

In your ploneconf.migration package, there are two ways provided to import the data:

  • Import the migration's import profile

  • Run a series of upgrade steps

Import Profile

This is where you'll want to start. No code needs to be written for this, it's already available in the migration package.

  • Go to ZMI > portal_setup > Import tab,

  • Find ploneconf.migration (default) in the dropdown

  • Click Import all steps

  • Then select ploneconf.migration (import) in the dropdown, and click Import all steps

If you are running the site in the foreground, you should see things happening now (if not running in foreground mode, check the site logs). Information is put into the log for each item that is imported. You'll want to keep an eye on this to know when the import is done, or has run into an error. See the 'Common Errors' section below if you have a problem.

When the import has successfully completed, you will see: INFO GenericSetup.collective.transmogrifier.genericsetup Transmogrifier pipeline ploneconf.import_content complete Check that your content was imported, and see if you need to make any more adjustments to the import.

Upgrade Steps

With more complicated sites and imports, you may find that additional steps need to be run before and/or after the import. This can best be done with a series of import steps. Open mysite/migration/ There are three steps all ready for you to use or modify - a pre_migration step, the run_migration step, which does the same thing as importing the migration's import profile, and a post_migration. The additional steps give you an opportunity to enable or disable bits of code during the migration. The commented code provides an example for disabling a subscriber, then re-enabling it as the post-step. A good use case for this is when importing forms - form products such as PloneFormGen and EasyForm have subscribers to add some default fields to a new form folder. You likely won't want this on forms that are being migrated, which already have the fields they need.

To run the import steps:

  • Go to the Management Interface > portal_quickinstaller, install mysite.migration (default), if it is not already installed

  • Then go to portal_setup > Upgrades tab

  • Choose mysite.migration (default) from the dropdown

  • You may need to click Show to see the upgrade steps

  • Select all the boxes, and click Upgrade

If you are running the site in the foreground, you should see things happening now (if not running in foreground mode, check the site logs). Information is put into the log for each item that is imported. You'll want to keep an eye on this to know when the import is done, or has run into an error.

Common Errors#

When the import hits an error, it will bail on the import. If you have PDBDebugMode or similar product installed, you'll get a PDB prompt to help with debugging. You'll likely run into more errors once you start writing your own blueprints.

  • Exception: Path (content-import) does not exists.

    • The code can't find your exported data. Make sure you have a folder at the root of the buildout called content-import with the export.

  • Module collective.jsonmigrator.blueprints.source_json, line 43, in __iter__ ValueError: invalid literal for int() with base 10: 'x'

    • The code is expecting folders within content-import to be numbered

  • AttributeError: _setObject

    • This happens when the import tries to add content into a non-folderish item

Debugging Other Errors#

Throughout the import process, you'll likely run into all sorts of random errors. Here are some tips for debugging those errors.

  1. Read the traceback. Sometimes the traceback does a good job of pointing you straight to the problem. Other times you'll find it's pointing at the for item in self.previous: in a blueprint. This is the trickier kind to debug, but you can...

  2. Add a pdb.set_trace(). This can be done in the blueprints, or as part of the pipeline:

    blueprint = collective.transmogrifier.sections.breakpoint
    condition = python:True

    The condition is required, so setting it to python:True will trigger a PDB every time. This can be changed if you know the exact item or type of item that is failing:

    condition = python:item['_type'] == 'Collection'
  3. Find the offending item in the exported data. This allows you to look at the raw data being imported, and is sometimes easier than working with the debugger to find the actual problem. Right before the traceback, you will see the output from the logger for the item being imported. You can grep through the entire export folder for the path output by the logger.


    If you find a problem in the data, don't change the data in the export! Unless you know for sure that you will not be exporting the data again, it's best to handle the issue in the import code.

  4. Limit the items being imported. Once you've found the item throwing the error and work to fix it, you can make the one item the only thing you import! Move the entire export to a separate folder outside of content-import, and put the single item inside of a numbered folder. If you know of a few items that throw an error, you can import only those items. The file names of the imported items do not need to be sequential.

    ├── content-import
    │   ├── 0
    |       ├── 3537.json
    |       ├── 5288.json
    |       ├── 7235.json

    Be aware that when you do this, the parent for these items needs be present in the site. Otherwise the importer won't even try to import them if there is no place to put them. You can manually add folders through-the-web to recreate the structure.

  5. Test the full import after making your fix, and update your test cases. If you are working with a large export, then testing a couple folders (~2000 items) should work. You want to make sure your fix didn't break something else. Also regularly clear out the new site's data to test the full import as you are building it out.

Running the import multiple times#

One nice thing about Transmogrifer is that you can run an import multiple times! You don't have to delete imported items before running another import. It is good to clear out data and run the full import occasionally, but it does not have to be every time. When you pull a new export from the old site, the content that gets imported will update the content in the new site. Keep in mind there are some caveats to importing the data multiple times:

  • Each time the import is run, the objects in Plone get updated whether there are changes or not. This will show up in the history of the item. This is not always a problem, but some site admins would rather not have the extra noise.

  • Items do not get deleted. If an item was deleted between exports, the import will not delete it. You will need to write some code to handle this case.

  • Similarly, you will run into a problem if an item is deleted and recreated as a different content type. The import will not change the content type, but instead try to import all the other properties. In this case, you can add a blueprint that checks the item's type against the object already in the site.

  • If you plan to run the import multiple times, make sure to write any custom blueprints with this expectation in mind.

Writing tests#

Writing tests can save you a lot of time if you need to write lots of blueprints. It can be very easy to break part of your import when writing a blueprint, and tests will help you catch that. Tests should be added for the general items you are importing, plus a test for each type of item that throws an error, to make sure the error does not reoccur.