SPExplorer is a SharePoint farm analysis and XML capture tool. You can navigate around the structure of your farm and site collections and examine and extract individual sites, lists or more fine-grained elements as XML (CAML) ready for re-use or deployment.
Simply run the SPExplorer application on any SharePoint web front-end server in your farm (in smaller installations this will just mean the SharePoint server). Then from the File menu choose "Read Local Farm" - you will need to be logged in with an administrator account. On large farms it may take some time to load the farm data, particularly if you have checked the "Content" option in the View menu. The Windows user interface consists of a left-hand pane containing a tree view of your farm. You can expand and contract nodes using the tree-view or expand all the nodes using the View->Expand All
As you select each node, the right-hand pane shows the CAML and, at the site collection level and above, the XML corresponding to the selected node. Use the File->Save XML...
menu to save this CAML to a file. The CAML can also be captured by selecting and copying fragments of XML from the right-hand pane.
Invoking from the Command Line
SPExplorer can also be run from the command line. Add the -out
parameter to capture the CAML for the entire farm and send it directly to a file without invoking the Windows user interface:
C:\>SPExplorer -out myfarm.manifest.xml
The captured CAML can be used as part of the process to build a web solution package or otherwise used to deploy list schema, instances of lists, sites, etc. The captured XML files can also be used by FakePoint
to create a unit testing and development environment without requiring a live SharePoint installation.
To build SPExplorer from the source files open the solution in Visual Studio 2008 or Visual Studio 2010 (solution upgrade required). The test project requires a reference to the FakePoint
DLL in order for the tests to build. The SPExplorer project itself is not dependent on FakePoint but does require a reference to the SharePoint.dll library.
How is SPExplorer different to SharePoint Manager?
is a Windows application that allows you to explore the SharePoint Object Model, examining the properties of the farm and its sites. It also allows you to modify those properties.
In contrast, SPExplorer is designed to retrieve a CAML representation of a SharePoint farm, and does not include any functionality to modify the content or structure of the sites. SPExplorer is safe to use on live production farms in order to examine or capture the site content and structure.