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I am on Sitecore.NET 8.2 (rev. 170614) for one of the project. The documents are organised in buckets and there is a publish pipeline processor written to publish the parent item if not published before when documents are published. I am planing to remove the custom processor as I believe this must be OOTB functionality in the Sitecore to publish the bucket when item child item is published. Is my understanding correct? Is there anyway I can remove the custom processor?

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No, you're wrong.

Sitecore does not publish any parent item if you publish a single item only.

It doesn't matter if it's item in a bucket or item which is not inside a bucket - you need to make sure that all the ancestors are published.

That would be a dangerous precedence if Sitecore was publishing items "up the tree" on its own.

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In Sitecore Publishing Service from version 2.2.1 there is a "sc.publishing.relateditems.xml" available which will publish all Item parents. I guess that's the behavior you expect.

<Settings>
  <Sitecore>
    <Publishing>
      <Services>
        <TreePublishHandler>
          <Options>
            <!-- Publishes all ancesters of a related item if they do not exist in the target. Ancesters that have changed, but already exist in the target will not be published using this option.-->
            <PublishRelatedItemParents>True</PublishRelatedItemParents>
          </Options>
        </TreePublishHandler>
      </Services>
    </Publishing>
  </Sitecore>
</Settings>

So maybe you want to consider to use the publishing service?

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