SharePoint Shake with Facets

August 30, 2009

SharePoint. SharePoint. SharePoint. We have had a flurry of questions from organizations about the system, search, metadata, and facets. For a product that has been around in one form or another for years, the last week in August has been a SharePoint festival.

We did some digging for one client with a broken SharePoint search system. The question was, “Is there an easy way to add facets to our plain vanilla SharePoint search system?” The short answer is, No. The reason is that any Microsoft-provided component like the facet component, version 2.0, 2.5, or 3.0 requires dozens and dozens of manual steps. Get one wrong and you can create even more SharePoint shakes. We know when this happens because the certified SharePoint administrator has consumed so much coffee that her hands tremble from the combination of fatigue and caffeine. Ergo, SharePoint shakes.

This particular client did not want to buy or license a third party product. That is okay with us, but these tools from a wide range of vendors work pretty well. But the client is right.

We provided the client with several links. You may want to note these down because Microsoft does not keep its chickens in one coop and its cows in a field. The chickens and cows are mixed up and allowed to wander.

The free facet component is called MOSS Faceted Search. You can download it from Codeplex. Next you will need to documentation. We located what looked quite complete at another Codeplex page. The 3.0 version of the faceted search components are still in beta. If you have a copy of the 2.5 version, you may want to keep that handy in case the beta 3.0 goes south. You can restore your SharePoint and give 2.5 a whirl.

The documentation is detailed. It consists of:

You will need your arsenal of Microsoft tools in order to get the beta into gear.

We found Bob Mixon’s “SharePoint Search: Improving the Relevancy of Search Results” useful. The discussion of search scopes and metadata is useful. The observation I would offer is that Microsoft makes no real effort to deliver a finished product. Manual work is required. By way of contrast, a number of vendors offer a snap in solution for search that keeps these manual tasks to a minimum. A beta is a beta so be prepared for some excitement.

Stephen Arnold, August 30, 2009


One Response to “SharePoint Shake with Facets”

  1. A. Steven Anderson on August 30th, 2009 6:52 am

    You should’ve told your client to download and install Apache Solr. 😉

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