Version Control Light and custom migration tool

Hi community, 

I am currently working on improvements in set of document types following working copy/published version concept. We have implemented our version of this concept using managed properties and creation of pdf documents on runtime that are then linked with working copies through managed properties (we haven't had enterprise license and haven't had full compliance kit in place). Our solution works well but I would rather use version control light as it provides the same feature and is more robust solution (also less code to maintain).

On the other side, we have our own migration tool developed during the time (I know about M-Files Importer but we haven't had resources to buy it, bottom line we would like to re-use our tool). Our migration tool takes excel sheet with metadata (simple + more complex metadata mapped into object types and value lists) together with working copies (words) and published version (pdfs) and import those documents through M-Files REST-based API. The concept based on managed properties then automatically link documents and populate link metadata. So it works quite well.

I have adapted our solution to use version control light and it looks very nice, less code, configurable, many benefits. Unfortunately, I see potential problem with our migration tool: how could I upload our working copy and published version and use VCL to link both documents? As I see, VCL enters linking metadata dynamically in configured workflow state. Also VCL is creating published version automatically. I need to bring my published version (our requirement). Is this possible with VCL?

What are your thoughts about this? Would M-Files Importer be able to migrate both working copy/published version and link it over VCL?



  • Any ideas or experiences if VCL properties can be set over REST API? Or VCL can calculate those afterwards?

  • I haven't tried to load content into VCL-managed structures before, but my gut instinct says that it should be possible.  At least in some situations.

    Is this a one-off import?  Will VCL be being "used" in the vault during the import process?

    My thought process is that, provided you can import content such that it is correctly structured as if VCL created it (exactly the same properties/relationships/workflow-statuses/etc.), then you should be good.  Depending on exactly how it is being managed in M-Files you may actually have to turn off VCL and/or managed properties during the initial load (so that nothing tries to "fix" the content you create), but you should then be able to turn it on afterwards and it work from there.

    Final question: do you have a test vault that you could try it out in?

  • Hi Craig, 

    Thanks for answer. 

    Yes, this should be one time import when we go to production. We will get working copies + released versions and excel with metadata. Our tool currently set our own "Related Documents" property but I would adapt it to set VCL related properties for multi-version mode. My concern is that these properties don't exist in class but VCL add those dynamically when released version is created.

    I thought as well to try it out with disabled VCL and without adding specific VCL properties. I thought perhaps VCL could pick it up from there and link documents (add those additional link metadata). But I am not quite sure this would work.

    Yes, I will definitely test it on separate vault I implement the rest of feedback we got from consultant. It would be great to use VCL instead of our concept with managed properties, much easier for maintenance. It is hard when you deal with old staff that you need to bring with you. If not, I would need to stick to the concept with managed properties I described above (both documents are imported, managed properties module then build up link between documents).


  • I think my response is basically that it should work if you can create things exactly as VCL expects, but that I've not tried it.  I hope that maybe someone else has some experience on this and can give you a more definitive answer.

    But, in lieu of there being such a definitive answer, definitely plan to test this thoroughly before you commit to this plan. Wink



  • I believe we have used a tool called QMS Importer in these cases so that it creates a content package of the documents with their relationships first and then you can import that using the built-in content replication feature in M-Files Admin. I'm not very familiar with this tool but my understanding is that it was developed exactly for these cases where working copy / published version document sets need to be migrated from other systems and the standard M-Files Importer approach doesn't work.

    I don't know how the content packages are created technically and how difficult it would be to implement something similar yourself, though. Just sharing this in case it would help think alternative approaches.

  • Thanks Joonas. That would worth investigating.

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