SharePoint 2010 Managed Metadata- Understanding the tradeoffs – knowing when to use and when to pass.

I have been working with a managed metadata solution over the past couple of months and I wanted to share some of my experiences. I think highly of managed metadata and feel that it is a good product, when used within its boundaries. I hope that with future releases, that those boundaries however are removed Just like most things in SharePoint, using managed metadata will give you some functionality, and then remove some other functionality. It is good to be aware of what the cost / benefits are so that you can choose the solution that best fits your needs.

I really believe that many business scenarios are unique, so each one should be evaluated and the best solution should be used for the problem at hand. In our case, at the end of the day using managed metadata won. The bottom line really comes down to you just knowing and understanding all the options and tradeoffs before jumping into any solution. Listed below are my ideas on when you should use managed metadata and then some of the functionality tradeoffs that you will need to be aware of.

You should use it:
When you have many terms to manage & sort
When you need multiple language support
When you need to have synonyms
When you need type ahead suggestions
What it doesn’t work with:
Edit in Datasheet
Customization in InfoPath
Custom forms in SPD
Filtered Views

  • Some of the view conditions, such as “begins with” and “contains” cannot be used with filtered columns and managed metadata columns are filtered columns
Workflows in SPD

  • It will let you build a workflow, but the workflow will fail because it is expecting a different format for the value.
  • You cannot compare against the fields or set the fields using an out of the box SPD workflow.
Custom Code against Managed Metadata requires some additional considerations

As I continue to learn more about the managed metadata features and limitations, I will add to this blog post. I am curious to hear your comments as well, so please post your experiences as comments!

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