In this article we can explore one of the core features of SharePoint. It is considered to be the Enterprise Feature of SharePoint. SharePoint allows configuration of searches based on various parameters. In short we can configure the breadth and depth of the search.
Internally, SharePoint 2010 Search is a service application. The Search Engine can Index SharePoint Sites, External contents, Files, Web sites etc.
The following are the server roles inside the SharePoint Search:
- Query Servers
- Search Center
Crawlers represent small programs which are scheduled to run on specific intervals. The Crawlers pass through each Content Source and Index the words in one location. These programs will be scanning Documents, Files and other Content Sources. Crawling consists of Full Crawl and Incremental Crawl. We can manually start the crawling process as well as schedule it.
The Indexer will create index files which contains the words and corresponding content source information for easier access. The indexing server can be configured to be a separate machine in a farm.
As the crawler will be encountering many file types like Word Document, PDF Document, Excel Document, Web sites, Text Files etc. it will be run out of logic on indexing these. We need to specify external Index Filters to tell how to index those file types. These Index Filters are also known as IFilter. The IFilter reads the contents of the file, creates the index keywords based on the content. Administrators need to configure each file type with an appropriate IFilter.
The Query Server is responsible for handling user search queries. In a farm environment query server can be configured to be a separate machine. The query serve operates on the index files for returning search results.
Search Center is a site inside SharePoint 2010 oriented towards Search. It allows configuring of Results, Advanced Search options, Navigation Elements etc. The user can create his own Search Site by using the Basic Search Center template.
Experimenting with Search
Now we can start experimenting with the Search User Interface and the functionality. The default Search box is available on the site as shown below:
Now we can try searching some text. Enter the address word of a contact and click the search button.
You will see the following results showing the data from Manager List and Edit form.
The search result fetched the contents of all list items inside the site. Now we can try searching with keyword Manager. The result will include the Manager list item name too.
In this article we have learned the search feature of SharePoint. Although Search is configured by SharePoint Administrators, still the developer can use the extended Search web services, programmatic retrieval of content using Object Model etc.