All posts tagged SharePoint 2013

Live webinar with Matthew McDermott: Implementing a Content Search Project – Start to Finish

Live webinar with Matthew McDermott: Implementing a Content Search Project – Start to Finish

You have heard that SharePoint can find anything, but you are not seeing those results. You have important content that you want to find in the SharePoint Search center either in Office 365 or SharePoint on-premises. In this presentation Matthew will demonstrate how to run a search project for a specific kind of content, like Invoices, Templates, Sites, Contracts, Resumes, or whatever it is that you need to find. This session will outline the steps required for a successful search project and then demonstrate how to configure the content, the site, and the search center to deliver actionable results for your end users.
Come spend an hour and discover what you have been missing in SharePoint Search.

Register Now!

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Create a Search Service Status Dashboard

Last year I was introduced to the amazing work of Brian Pendergrass, Russ Maxwell, Brent Groom and Eric Dixon in the form of the SRx Core the SharePoint Search Health Reports. This suite of reports was created to help evaluate, monitor and maintain on-premises SharePoint farms by providing DEEP feedback and analysis of the SharePoint Search Service Application. The core is a set of “tests” that you can run collectively or independently and in detail to determine the overall health of your SharePoint Search Service Application (SSA).

Running the Tests

Running the tests starts with initializing the reports. Run:

. .\InitSRx.ps1

This will build a local cache and do some initialization of the object needed to run the reports.

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Agnes Molnar - Search Workshop

Workshop FAQ: Why Two Days?

The most common question I get about my upcoming workshop, SharePoint 2016 and Office 365 Search in Practice, is why I’ve decided to choose a two-day format.

I know it could be one day. Also, it could be three days, or even up to five.

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Advanced Search - Custom Property is added.

Configuring Advanced Search in SharePoint 2013 and 2016

“Advanced Search” is a great feature, although not utilized in many cases. Out-of-the-box, it provides a default set of available options, which are too general for most businesses. However, it can be enhanced with some easy customizations.

In this post, I’m going to demonstrate one of the most powerful configurations of “Advanced Search” in SharePoint 2013/2016 and Office 365: how to add our custom property filters.

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Workshop: SharePoint 2016 and Office 365 Search in Practice

I am happy and super excited to announce Search Explained Roadshow 2017! The first stop is Amsterdam, Netherlands with a 2-day workshop SharePoint 2016 and Office 365 Search in Practice.

Search and findability have evolved over the past several years into a new form. Search is no longer simply about “Search”. While Information Overload is the new reality of our lives, findability of relevant content gets more and more critical. The “old school” Search Center experience is outdated – we need something different, something better, something that is more efficient, more user friendly and more helpful.

In this two-day workshop, I will introduce proven steps and best practices, as well as common mistakes to avoid, demonstrated by live demos and exercises. The training provides you the guidance and action plan to take if you want to succeed with Search in your organization.

You will learn about: Read more…

Document Search custom Display Template

Custom Document Search Experience (Display Template)

When it comes to the search experience, the look-and-feel of the search results are always a big question. In most cases, the out-of-the-box “ten blue lines” experience is not enough, creating custom Display Templates is almost always required.
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Search Explained on Yammer

Search Q&A – Yammer Network Summary 2015 Q3/Q4

Search Explained’s Yammer network is a community of Search Enthusiasts, with more than 300 members as of today. The network is growing fast, with business decision makers, IT Pros, developers as well as end users joining from all around the world.

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Top 7 Posts from 2015

As the new year arrived to us, let me share the list of our most popular posts from 2015:

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Display Template for Tasks in SharePoint 2013 and Office 365

It’s a common requirement to create a “My Tasks” dashboard on the Intranet, where every user can see his/her own open tasks with status, due date and other information.

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SPC14 Recap

This year’s SharePoint Conference (held in Las Vegas, NV) was again a major success! I had the privilege of speaking on two sessions.

The first one was “Designing and Applying Information Architecture for SharePoint and Office 365”, together with Israel Vega. In this session, we have broken down the various components of SharePoint and Office 365 and demonstrated how to maximize the advantages of these components for content organization and discovery.

The second one was “Best practices for Information Architecture and Enterprise Search”. Here, I discussed the importance of a good IA design for search. I also discussed how search provides the foundation of a successful knowledge/information management, and discovery scenarios for content and people. I demonstrated best practices in planning, maintaining, and governance of information architecture (IA).

It was very rewarding to hear about the positive feedback from the audience. I am very glad to learn that many participants found the sessions very helpful. I am also extremely pleased that some of them considered the materials to be practical and useful references that they can go back to again and again.

Thank you everyone who attended my sessions! I truly hope to see you soon again.

Recordings of my sessions are available at http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Speakers/agnes-molnar.

Recordings of all SPC14 sessions can be found at http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/SharePoint-Conference/2014.

Project Server and Search – Part 5 User Experience

Recently, I had the honor to speak at the SharePoint and Project Conference Adriatics in Zagreb, Croatia. This week, I’ll demonstrate one of my topics in a 5-part series: Connecting Project Server Data to SharePoint Search. The outline will be:

User Experience

User Experience is very important in Search. As you can see above, despite having the data indexed, it is not sure it can be helpful for the end users without some configuration and “massage”.

First of all, the properties of your Project items.As you can see on the screenshot above, the “Title” is very unappealing by default. There might be some other properties you’re interested in for example Assigned To or Due Date. For configuring these, we have to modify the “Search Schema” in SharePoint 2013. For example, for title, we have to add a new mapping to “TaskName”, as this is the name of this field in the Project DB.

After modifying the “Search Schema”, we need one more Full Crawl to include the modified values in the index. Once the Full Crawl is done, the UI will be a bit more user friendly showing the “Task Name” values in the result set:

You might be also interested in “promoting” Project Server tasks if someone is searching for tasks in SharePoint. This can be very useful if you use Project Server very heavily and you do real and heavy task management there. With a Query Rule, the result can be something like this:

Of course, with the same Search-Driven logic, you can even create a “My Tasks” dashboard where you aggregate the SharePoint tasks and the Project Server Tasks into the same UI providing a good overview for the users about their current tasks, what’s in late, what’s upcoming, etc.

The next thing, once we have the proper metadata ready is the Hover Panel that is displayed when the user hovers the mouse over a search result. On this panel, we can display more details. For example: “Duration”, “Percentage Completed”, “Assigned To”, “Due Date”,” Description” etcetera. These can be added by the following steps:

  1. Create a Result Type for the Project Tasks, a new one for Risks, etc.
  2. Create custom Display Template for these Result Types and add the proper metadata (that has been created and prepared in the steps previously).

Finally, let me show you one more integration option. With the features described above, we can also integrate “People Search” results with Project Server items (of course, other types of data joins are also available depending on your business environment. For example, in “customer search” with the related project status information, etc.) On the picture below, you can see my user in “People Search” with her open Project Server tasks integrated to the Hover Panel. For this, I modified the People Result Type’s Hover Panel Display Template.

Summary

As you could see in this series, there are several options to integrate Project Server data into SharePoint Server 2013 Search. In this article, I made an overview of the following options:

  • Crawling Project Server portal
  • Federating Project Server portal search
  • Using Business Connectivity Services to get data directly from the Project Server database.

These methods can be useful for accessing other systems and databases as well.

Final Note: If you hit the limitations of these or need more customization, there’s one more, advanced option: a Custom Search Connector can be developed, on the top of the Search Connector Framework of SharePoint 2013.

 

Project Server and Search – Part 4 Business Connectivity Services

Recently, I had the honor to speak at the SharePoint and Project Conference Adriatics in Zagreb, Croatia. This week, I’ll demonstrate one of my topics in a 5-part series: Connecting Project Server Data to SharePoint Search. The outline will be:

Business Connectivity Services

The next and last option to get connected to Project Server data is using “Business Connectivity Services” (BCS).

BCS enables us to connect to 3rd party systems with any of these methods:

  • Direct database access
  • Web Service
  • oData Service

Although, from Search perspective, only reading the data is important, BCS can provide us complete interaction with the proper connection definitions and configuration, we can even write back to the data source (for example, modifying an entry). Of course, creating read-only connection is possible, and for Search it’s enough.

Obviously, this method works on-premises only, as we have to know the connection info to the databases. With this method, we can get connected directly to the Project Server report databases.

Steps of the configuration are:

  1. Create a Business Data Connectivity Service Application in SharePoint 2013.
  2. Create an External Content Type, pointing to the Project Server reporting DBs with SharePoint Designer.
    As a “side effect”, you’ll be able to create “External Lists” in SharePoint, in order to integrate your Project Server tasks, risks, etcetera into the SharePoint User Experience:
  3. Next, you have to create a content source for the External Content Type, defined above.
    Once the content source is done, you have to create a Crawl Rule to define the Crawler Account (if the Default Content Access Account doesn’t have full-read access on the Project Server database).
  4. Finally, do a Full Crawl.
  5. Check the results on the “Search” result set (they might be unattractive for now, but they should be there!):

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If you can see the Project Server tasks in the result set, then you are ready with the initial configuration.

In the last part of this series, I’ll demonstrate some tricks for UI enhancements. Stay tuned:

  • Part 5 (Dec 13, 2013) – User Experience

 

Project Server and Search – Part 3 Federation

Recently, I had the honor to speak at the SharePoint and Project Conference Adriatics in Zagreb, Croatia. This week, I’ll demonstrate one of my topics in a 5-part series: Connecting Project Server Data to SharePoint Search. The outline will be:

Federating Project Server Search

Federation as a feature is not new. It is available since MOSS 2007 SP2.

With this feature, we can use any OpenSearch 1.0/1.1 remote index to get results from. For example, we can use Project Server’s own index and can provide the items remotely. And if one searches for [Agnes], the result can contain my tasks directly from the Project Server’s index:

In SharePoint 2013, we can get this functionality by creating a “Result Source”. If our Project Server is on-premise, the configuration of Result Sources is kind of obvious.

If we have Project Server online (in Office 365), configuration of the Result Source need some more attention as we have to configure the two-way-trust between our on-premise SharePoint farm and our Project Server Online with SSO directory synchronization, etc.

But be aware, besides from being a very good option in hybrid environments, ”Federation” also has some limitations. For example, federated results cannot be aggregated with the other results. On the screenshot below, the main result set and “MS Project Tasks for ‘Agnes’” cannot be merged together. Also, if you have more federated locations defined, each one will be displayed separately.

In the next parts of this series, I’ll introduce one more way to connect Project Server Data to Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2013 (BCS) as well as some tricks for UI enhancements. Stay tuned:

  • Part 4 (Dec 12, 2013) – Business Connectivity Services
  • Part 5 (Dec 13, 2013) – User Experience

 

Project Server and Search – Part 2 Direct Crawl

Recently, I had the honor to speak at the SharePoint and Project Conference Adriatics in Zagreb, Croatia. This week, I’ll demonstrate one of my topics in a 5-part series: Connecting Project Server Data to SharePoint Search. The outline will be:

Direct Crawl

If our Project Server is on-premises and in the same domain as our SharePoint farm (or if we have two-way trust between the two domains), one of the easiest way might be to crawl the Project portal content as a remote SharePoint site.

For this, the only thing we have to do is to create a content source with our Project Server portal’s URL as the “Start Address”:

We also have to configure the content access account, by creating a Crawl Rule for this site:

With this option, we’ll have the Project Server items integrated into our SharePoint Search result set, with the full functionality (refiners, hover panel, etc.):

In the next parts of this series, I’ll overview some other ways to connect Project Server Data to Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2013 as well as some tricks for UI enhancements. Stay tuned:

  • Part 3 (Dec 11, 2013) – Federating Project Server Search
  • Part 4 (Dec 12, 2013) – Business Connectivity Services
  • Part 5 (Dec 13, 2013) – User Experience

 

Project Server and Search – Part 1

Recently, I had the honor to speak at the SharePoint and Project Conference Adriatics in Zagreb, Croatia. This week, I’ll demonstrate one of my topics in a 5-part series: Connecting Project Server Data to SharePoint Search. The outline will be:

  • Part 1 – The Story, The Background and Search in Project Server
  • Part 2 – Direct Crawl
  • Part 3 – Federating Project Server Search
  • Part 4 – Business Connectivity Services
  • Part 5 – User Experience

The Story

Last year, my Search Troubleshooting session was rated as the #1 and Nenad Trajkovski, Project MVP got the 2nd place. That was the time when we decided to make a session together this year – this is how the idea of our “Ms Search and Mr Project” session was born. The idea was to show how we can get the basic Project Server concepts (tasks, risks, etc.) and make available them to search in by SharePoint.

This kind of integration is very important, not with Project Server only, but with any kind of back-end systems. We have a lot of different systems, each storing different information, and your enterprise needs all of them. You have a lot of content (maybe you don’t even know some of them!) at disparate locations, structured and unstructured data as well. For example, you have documents, emails, CRM entries, project tasks and risks, database entries, etc. With search-based integration, you can create dashboards like “Customer Management” or “Project Dashboard”, but you also can view your open task aggregated from SharePoint and Project Server.

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The Background

In Project Server, we can create projects with resources, tasks, risks, etc. Everything is stored in databases and “Project Server” also has its own portal built on (what a surprise!), SharePoint technologies. The portal can be on-premises or in Office365.

The Project Server portal has its own Search solution that is a kind of “basic” Search. This can be customized on the UI (see the last part of this series), but we don’t have real “enterprise” search features – for example, we cannot crawl any other content sources therefore we cannot integrate our Project Server data into our enterprise data.

In the next parts of this series, I’ll overview how Project Server Data can be connected to the Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2013. Stay tuned:

  • Part 2 (Dec 10, 2013) – Direct Crawl
  • Part 3 (Dec 11, 2013) – Federating Project Server Search
  • Part 4 (Dec 12, 2013) – Business Connectivity Services
  • Part 5 (Dec 13, 2013) – User Experience

 

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