Removing Published Items Or Better Content Architecture

During a recent review of some questions about Sitecore, one message caught my eye:

“Can I remove a parent page, … without removing the child pages beneath them?“

My first reaction was that seems yucky – but a valid question.


The initial thoughts after yuck, were just a series of questions running through my head…

  • Is the content architecture wrong in the placement of the children?
  • Was the landing page not situated to communicate the right message?
  • Was this content that should have been modularized for component re-use?
  • Are we maintaining a necessary URL structure?
  • …..

And then that last question that popped into my head…

  • Is it even possible that would actually work?

In theory the URL item path for the children doesn’t really care if the parent is a landing page or not. The URL is still the URL – plain and simple. Would having orphaned children at the parent level cause that much grief if the Item Resolver properly handled the page not found condition. It would be unorthodox and lack best practice, but could be plausible.

Well, you are not going to get this done by setting the unpublish date on the parent item. You will get a not found message for the parent and the children.

Strike 1 (we all saw that one coming).

The next thought would be to force vanity URLs to redirect or create aliases. I’ve blogged about vanity URLs in a previous life. While these are effective in many cases – for our scenario they don’t seem to resolve the issue. A redirect indicates a new location, but could force the parent to the first child. An alias is really meant to map long URLs to shorter ones as a marketing tool.

Strike 2.

So what’s left? Well the last idea in my head is to create a custom Link Provider to override and provide the correct link for the parent/child items and Custom Item Resolver to establish the proper mapping and capture the appropriate request.

While this will work, it feels like way too much for this issue.

Base hit (nothing more than a single base).

Ultimately, the fix is to examine the content architecture. This includes reviewing the message context, the content interactions with the audience, SEO strategies, and publishing needs.

Once that is examined, the other approaches may come back into play, but most likely used to solve the specific problems they were meant to solve.