Design Transfer and lots of practise too :-) The odd few exports and imports of data probably. Also a very carefully written manual set of instructions for producing the DT files (best done as you are writing the process) and then a corresponding set to import and carry out the manual changes that will probably be required.
DT is the way to go.
To ensure it all works successfully, I usually take a backup of Live into Test, make the process changes/additions and then Design Transfer. IN the oder versions, DT error'd if the same object name existed with different GUID's. Other than that, it should be fine.
Thanks guys - at least I'm not missing something else that works better
".... DT error'd if the same object name existed with different GUID's...."
Its still does this even in 7.3.2!
After many trials and errors with DT, I have found exporting/importing each of the modules separately and not including the dependancies works pretty well, if done in a specific order:
1. Business Objects
As a previous poster stated, if any of the objects are preexisting in the system you are importing into, you are likely to run into problems with importing the process. I'm seeing this right now when trying to import a new IM process which is a variation of an existing IM process. I can import the new objects and windows successfully but then run into errors when importing the process.
It's looks like I'll be building it directly in production...
It is worth the effort to work out exactly why your process is not DT'ing. Re-building it in Production opens up a whole lot of pain and rework which you then have to test on the fly.
Support can usually come up with explanations and workarounds for the errors that you get - and it also means that any bugs specific to the way you have designed the process will be investigated and fixed for a future release - making your life easier next time round. Design Transfer errors are usually going to be of a high priority because building in production is not an option for many people - they get fixed quickly
Building the process in our production env. was the recommendation given to me by LD support as there was apparently no work around available. I agree that working through DT errors is preferrable to having to rebuild - especially in a production environment.
My specific issue is this:
When importing the IM process I receive this error: A internal exception has occured while committing Action Cancel Work Order: Could not read data from attribute BlockType in class type Metadata.ModuleBlock. Type mismatch when attempting to set attribute value BlockType.
Typically you will recieve options prior to the import taking place which will allow you to rename import items, or use existing database items. In this case, I do not get an option for the above action.
Sometimes there are issues with calculations, or decisions that use run time values. Other reasons could be that the object also exists in the target.
Rule of thumb for me is that before doing any dev work. take a copy of live and place into dev. Make the changes, export. Then rollback the DB to a copy of Live and import. if it works then you can implement in live. If not then you can troubleshoot till it works! There is also an order to selecting what needs to be backed up. This sometimes helps. ( I think its earlier in the thread).
Even if you have imported into live successfully, I'd still do some testing. Nothing like being thorough!
The recommendation for complex design transfers is using three environments: Development, Test and Live.
Do the design in the Dev environment and export it. Import this into Test (which could be the same environment but switched to a different database) using the most up to date database backup from Live as possible. Any issues that occur can then be easily rolled back and the Dev environment is still in place should you need to re-do any of the design or export. Once you are happy the import into Test was successful you can confidently repeat the operation in Live.
The issues Minesh pointed about about calculations and runtime conditions are all fixed or patched in the latest release. As Elizabeth said if there is a bug in Design Transfer it tends to get a high priority
Thanks to everyone for the advice. It's very much appreciated - DT here we go!!