Overview of SharePoint search: Between Two Farms

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There is no hiding it, SharePoint Search is the hottest feature of SharePoint 2013. However, it’s something we haven’t had experience with working on other platforms, Search was always “just there”. I’ve worked with Active Directory, Exchange, SCCM and even SCOM so I’ve never really had to learn how a Search engine works.

Of course in the last couple of years, as SharePoint grew in popularity I naturally shifted and started to learn it as well. And since SharePoint 2007, where I first got introduced to the platform, our expectations from this and other web based platforms has evolved.


We expect SharePoint to know what we are looking for and to give us dynamic and contextual content.

Learning Search in SharePoint is crucial to really benefit from all SharePoint can offer. And it really goes beyond learning things like Crawling and how to make sure people can click on the Search button and have results show up. SharePoint Search is about tailoring the content so that it is not only findable, but displayed in a way that is easy to consume the information.Learning about Result Types and Query Rules as well as learning how to build Display Templates is all part of understanding SharePoint Search. But you’ll need to start with the basics, make sure before you go anywhere you understand exactly how Crawled Properties and Managed Properties work.

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SharePoint Display Templates:

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Cross-Site Publishing in SharePoint:

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Here’s the transcript of the video

Hi, my name is Benjamin Niaulin and I’m a SharePoint MVP working here at Sharegate in Montreal and welcome to another episode of “Between Two Farms”. Now in this video is one of my favorite topics, I want to talk to you about SharePoint search. SharePoint search is something that I hold really, really dear to me because I’m seen what I’m capable of doing with it.

Now I’m tired of seeing intranets that are very static, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, those useful link section that 3 people decided for 3000 people or even 5000, and I’m not even kidding, this actually was the case. And it’s all about writing content or creating content, very, very, how can I say this, not dynamic enough. I need the content to change based on who is visiting the page, called contextual pages, if you like. 

How does it work?

And how search works is, let’s go back to basics. SharePoint search has a search engine and it’s going to go in and it’s going to crawl to see what you have in your environment, and that’s the technical job of it, there’s continuous crawls, incremental crawls, full crawls and I won’t go into details, there’s already lots of content on that out there, but basically the search engine is going to pass through your SharePoint to see what’s been added, changed or even deleted.

Once it’s got that, you can see this as crawled properties, that means whenever you create a column in your SharePoint the search is going to pick it up as a crawled property, it is something that it crawled, an index if you like, but it doesn’t mean that it is automatically available for these search web parts of your pages to use. 

Is it possible to have an automatic crawl for every new property I add?

For that you will need something called managed properties and what a managed property is essentially is one or multiple crawled properties that are associated to it, it’s kind of like a shell. And then we’re going to use this in managed property to show it on our search web parts or to filter by or to sort by.

So to give you an example, let’s say you create columns in a bunch of different document libraries, one is customers and one is clients, and a bit of the columns are very similar to customers and clients. Well SharePoint search doesn’t know that it means the same thing to you, so it’s two different crawled properties that it collected, then you create a managed property, you give it the name that you want and you say that inside of this managed property we’re going to have both the customers crawled property, or column that you picked up, and the clients crawled property, that you picked up as well.

Putting them together so that whenever you tell search to display the customers or the results, it will include from multiple columns, multiple crawl properties within it. That’s the basics of SharePoint Search, crawl properties and managed properties.

Search modules

But searches power is immense and it relies on many other different modules. My favorite web part is the content search web part because it allows a power user, like you, to build a query to find what you’re looking for and easily display it for your users. What’s fun about that is that you can even leverage peoples profiles or properties.

For example, go and get all of the announcements but display to whoever is visiting only the announcements that are tagged with his department. Think about it, contextual pages using search gives you immense power. I invite you to checkout all of these links mentioned in the blog because you’ll be able to create wonderful, cool displays, but also see how to roll up SharePoint sites, create announcements, use the product catalog and please, look into the product catalog, it has nothing to do with products.

It’s actually just building catalogs like announcements, calendars, events and you can go and fetch whatever you want, it is extremely cool, you should definitely look into search and how to better make your SharePoint environment using all of these web parts and cool features.

Again, thank you for coming to another episode of “Between Two Farms”, this time with SharePoint search.


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