Cross-Site Publishing vs Traditional Publishing in SharePoint 2013


Cross-Site Publishing (also known as Product Catalog) is a SharePoint Server 2013 feature that allows to use one or more site collections to author content, and one or more site collections to control the design of the site and the display of the content. See: Plan for cross-site publishing in Sharepoint Server 2013.


This is a great feature that addresses some of the limitations of the traditional publishing, where content is only available in one site collection. One of the great benefits is the ability to author content in one place and have multiple site collections acting as presentation layers, even in a different web application. However, in a real case scenario, there are usually many requirements involved, other than simply showing read-only data to end users. In most case there is need for certain level of interaction, allowing users to rate content, submit feedback, etc.

The purpose of the table below is to compare the Traditional Publishing and Cross-Site Publishing methods, and to illustrate some of the out-of-the-box features that are available for each one. This could be useful during the analysis phase to determine what can be accomplished with purely configuration, and what areas will required custom coding.

Traditional Publishing vs Cross-Site Publishing (Product Catalog)

Out-of-the-Box features Traditional Publishing Cross-Site Publishing
Rich Edit capability for authoring content Yes Yes
Content Approval Workflow Yes Yes
Content is available to other site collections and farms. No Yes
Managed Navigation Yes Yes
Article feedback capability Yes Yes
Rating capability Yes No
Related content with Summary Links Yes No
Related content with Lookup fields (multiple) Yes No
Related content with third-party controls Yes Yes
Reusable Content with Automatic Update Yes No
Related content with Item-Catalog URL fields No Yes
User-friendly URL for category pages Yes Yes
User-friendly URL for article pages No Yes
Search-Driven Content Yes Yes
Custom Search Refiners Yes Yes
Custom Search Results Yes Yes
Custom Search Previews Yes Yes
Search Analytics Reports Yes Yes
Custom message for No Search Results Yes Yes
Display Selected Search Refiners on Top No No

Note: This list was created based on a particular project scope, and it doesn’t include all available features.


Cross-Site Publishing was a great addition to the SharePoint 2013 feature set and it extends the range of possible architectures for content publishing scenarios. The purpose of this post is to provide a brief analysis on what built-in capabilities are available and what customizations will be required, so the solution can be planned accordingly.


Overview of Cross-Site Publishing in SharePoint Server 2013

Plan for cross-site publishing in Sharepoint Server 2013