Deploying Content Types
Published: May 2010
Use the Feature packaging functionality in Microsoft SharePoint Foundation to install and activate content types.
Content types are a site-scoped Feature. Features are a way of encapsulating SharePoint Foundation functionality for ease of distribution and deployment. Features provide a mechanism by which you can package the files that a solution needs, such as content types, Web Parts, lists, and site definitions. You can package the necessary files into a .wsp file, which is basically a .cab file that contains a manifest that lists its contents.
Inside the Feature, the feature.xml file contains references to all the element manifests within that Feature. Content type definitions are element manifests. You must create a content type definition for each content type that is included in your Feature.
For more information about content type definitions, see Content Type Definitions.
Site content types that are defined in one Feature can reference columns or content types that are contained in another Feature. In such a case, make the Feature that references the contents of another Feature dependent on that Feature.
For more information about Features, see Using Features in SharePoint Foundation.
Under no circumstances should you update the content type definition file for a content type after you have installed and activated that content type. SharePoint Foundation does not track changes that are made to the content type definition file. Therefore, you have no method for pushing down changes that are made to site content types to the child content types.
For information about best practices when making changes to content types that have been installed and activated, see Updating Content Types.