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Monday, July 5, 2010

My Favorite SharePoint 2010 Search Features Include:

This entry is part of a series, SharePoint 2010 Search Features»

Guest Author: Agnes Molnar

This is the first article of my series about SharePoint Search, including FAST Search for SharePoint 2010.

Although MOSS 2007 also has has very powerful Search capabilities, the SharePoint 2010 improvements are very impressive. In this article I’ll enumerate the most important capabilities of SharePoint 2010 Search, not including FAST Search. This one will be the topic of my next article in this series.

But first of all, let’s see the most important SharePoint 2010 Search improvements for end users:

1. Rich User Interface with Refinement Panel

Refinement Panel is the control that can be found as the left navigation bar on the Search results page. It helps us to refine the query and filter the results by various properties. In fact, the Refinement Panel is a Web Part, so it can be customized as well.

Moreover, Refinement Panel’s customization gives us the capability to set the properties included in the refinement, and customize them. This can be done by editing the ’Filter Category Definition’ of the Refinement Panel Web Part (see in a later article of mine).

2. Boolean Query Syntax

In the queries, it is possible to use Boolean expressions, with the operations AND, OR and NOT. With these, users can build complex query expressions according to their needs.

3. Suggestion while typing

As end users begin to type their query in, SharePoint will find queries executed in the past with results, and show them in the search box as pre-query suggestions. The more users query with SharePoint, the more suggestions can be proposed to them. 

4. ’Did you mean’ suggestions

As post-query suggestions, the end users get ’Did you mean’ suggestions in the search results. They are suggestions for similar words of the current query, based on the content in the index. It’s very useful to correct mistyping.

5. Federated results

In some cases, it’s better to use remote indexing server to return the results instead of SharePoint itself. For example, when the content source is huge and we cannot or don’t want to build a SharePoint index for it. Or when the content is a huge amount but the queries are very rare. Or when the content source requires other authentication than SharePoint itself.

In these cases, we can federate the results from a remote indexing server. That means, end users type the query on the same user interface in SharePoint, but the results will not only come from the index built by the local SharePoint but also from a remote search (for example, Bing). These results will be displayed in a separated Web Part on the result page:

6. ’View in Browser’ for Office documents

Since Office Web Applications can be installed on SharePoint 2010, the Office documents can be opened for reading and even for editing in the browser, without any Office client installation on the end user’s machine. Search result pages also offer a great functionality regarding Office Web Apps: the document results also contain a ’View in Browser’ link and can be opened directly in the browser immediately.

7. Improved People Search

People Search is also a very important feature of the SharePoint 2010 Search. It’s the feature for finding your colleagues by their name, responsibilities, interests or skills, and not only the functionality but even the User Interface for People Search has been improved in the new version of SharePoint.

For example, if you’re searching for a SharePoint expert in your company and enter the query term ’SharePoint’, you can see the people related to SharePoint as well as the content they have been working lately, their profile and place in the organization chart, etc. So that you can decide immediately who the best person is for your needs.

8. SharePoint Search engine as a Federated Location in Windows 7

Windows 7 Search functionality also can use federated locations, and this federated location can be SharePoint, for example. In this case, you can use SharePoint search from Windows Explorer, without opening a browser or your SharePoint site. The federated locations can be described in an .OSDX (Search Connector Descrition File) file that is a special XML file, so that you can create your own. It’s pretty easy but worthwhile of a separate post. Stay tuned, it’s coming soon…

Guest Author: Agnes Molnar

Agnes Molnar has been working with Microsoft technologies and SharePoint since 2001. After releasing MOSS 2007, she founded a SharePoint consulting company in Hungary, Central Europe. She’s been working as senior consultant and solutions architect, has leaded numerous Central European companies’ SharePoint implementation. Agnes’s main focus is on Architecture, Governance, Information and Knowledge Management, and Enterprise Search.

She’s also a frequent speaker of both Central European and international conferences, including Best Practices Conferences in Washington DC and London, SharePoint Conferences in Peru and many countries in Central Europe, SharePoint Saturdays, and more. She’s a co-author of the book ‘Real World SharePoint 2010′. You can follow Agnes on Twitter at @molnaragnes

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3 Responses to “My Favorite SharePoint 2010 Search Features Include:”
  1. Zedd says:

    Thanks for this post Agnes. Really helpful summary of the news in Sharepoint 2010 search. I would like to know which features you think are still missing from Sharepoint 2010 search (not FAST)? Do you think it is easy to develop custom search features for Sharepoint when they are missing out of the box?

  2. Manoj Mittal says:

    We are able to get top Search Queries , but we need to maintain log of all search keywords entered by all the users. Is there something out of box for this?


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