Parentless nodes when deleting content in content studio

Enonic version: 7.x
OS: any

One of our customers are creating a huge load of nodes in their enonic XP installation. After a while they realized they were unable to publish the site because of an error message pointing towards nodes that had no parents.

After I ran XP doctor we got an overview over which nodes were affected and after talking to support we realized we had to solve this manually.
Solving it manually is not that easy either. The parent nodes needs to be created, then we need to wait for XP to pick up the change, and then we can delete trees of nodes using Data Toolbox.

This sounds like a bug in Content Studio to me. Its rather painful and timeconsuming to fix.

Are you aware of this, do you have any plan of fixing this?

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I have also encountered this problem in another project a while ago on XP6.

That time it was some editors who had duplicated some contents with a lot of children (if I remember correctly the contents had a few hundred children), and deleted it again. Everything up to this point was done through Content Studio.
This gave the same result as you describe above, and by running XP-Doctor we found which parents we needed to recreate. When they were recreated, we needed to wait for all children to appear in Content Studio again, before we used Data Toolbox to delete the parent content again. After that the problem was resolved.

So, from that point on we asked the editors to ask someone who were familiar with Data Toolbox to delete content with many children by using that instead of Content Studio, and I don’t think we’ve had similar problems after that.

There’s nothing wrong with Content Studio in that regard, it is barely a facade for XP API. We are aware of potential issues with orphan nodes, and we fixed a couple of related issues in 7.6 and 7.7, and there’s still one known issue in our backlog. Note that these fixes aim to prevent the nodes becoming orphans, they won’t fix those that are already parentless as there’s no automatic fix for that.

Another interesting question is what caused the problem. It couldn’t have just happened out of nowhere, there’s something that happened during move or delete operation potentially of a massive amount of content. That’s why we asked in the support ticket what could cause the issue at the customer’s. The links above are for the cases we know of, but if you have any other use cases that could give us some clues, please let us know.

For now I suggest fixing the existing orphans, upgrading to 7.7.0 and investigating if the issue reappears.