What is the best way to migrate components from Tridion 5.2 to 2011. Can content porter migrate all the components? What is the best approach and the challanges, if any.
The absolute best way to migrate Components is to upgrade your database and use that upgraded instance. You can delete Template and Pages you don't need and restructure your Blueprint if required (provided you had a basic diamond model to start off with). Which most of the time is just as much work as trying to figure out what you want to export/import.
If all of this does not work, then indeed you could consider Content Porter. I'm not sure if there is a version of Content Porter that will allow you to directly export from 5.2 and import into 2011. If that is not there, then you will have to consider upgrading the 5.2 system to 2011 and use Content Porter on that upgraded environment (which means you will need to have 2 instances running, but you need that anyways).
Challenges are that when you export large sets of content, you have to expect long import times also. Sometimes its better to export only small batches at a time, so you have more control over the process. For a successful import, you have to take two things into consideration:
The import is creating the item based on what was exported and what is available in your new system, A Component needs a Schema and a Folder to be created (depending on what is in the component it might also require Categories and Keywords). So make sure you export them too or have them available before you import (in the right locations).
Beware of the "chicken and egg" problem. Think of what comes first, was the chicken there before the egg or vice versa. Or in SDL Tridion terms, when you create a folder and assign a Mandatory Schema to that Folder, make sure that that Schema is not created in that exact same Folder. In general if it takes you two steps to create something, Content Porter will have a problem creating that in a single step.
As Bart says, I would strongly recommend that you upgrade the database, rather than trying to content port.
In addition, it is also worth noting that using Content Porter can also:
- Trigger workflow
- Trigger Event System events
You should also check out the Transfer between different versions of Content Manager section of the online documentation (login required).