Hello everyone, in this article we will look into one of the most important and powerful feature of SharePoint, the SharePoint Search. Search is the one technology within SharePoint that knows where all the data is, it crawls the entire SharePoint farm.
As a developer or a power user, before you start anything with the Search, it is important to know which ‘Version’ of search you are using. The capabilities of search differ by versions. Till SharePoint 2010 we have two different search, FAST search and SharePoint search. In SharePoint 2013, Microsoft has done some awesome job and merged FAST search and SharePoint search, so now we have single search engine.
Still there are various versions of Search namely – Foundation, Standard, Enterprise and SharePoint Online versions of search. Still this all falls under single search engine but only the capabilities differ in each version. In the below image you can find different versions of search and their capabilities.
We can create sample Search page by using the (welcome page) search page layout. And it contains nothing but some Search Web parts like Search Box, Search Results, and Refinement
The below screen shot is the standard out of the box search center and nothing is customized.
It will have some predefined scopes and functionality like we can search in People, Communities, Videos and so on. One of the cool feature is that we can extend the search center to include new scopes as well. By including those new scopes will allow us to create search based applications.
We need to keep 3 important criteria when we are creating Search Based Application –
1. Data access should use out of the box search, because it is the most efficient way to get the data instead of using Queries.
2. Presenting the data in a meaningful way, i.e., it should have some information about the data like, from where it got retrieved, modified, created etc.
3. Easy to operate on those data. User can easily play with the data that is available from Search result.
When we depend on SharePoint Search as our data access technology, it is very important to know about Crawling. The search results are good as the last Crawl.
In SharePoint 2010 we might have been more concerned about this. Because there might have been several minutes gap between incremental crawls. But in SharePoint 2013 with the new continuous crawl capability, we basically can rely on sub one minute data freshness, which really makes the idea of using search as a data access technology possible.
We can see more about Crawl and Managed Properties in my upcoming articles.