Another Take on Visual SharePoint

February 16, 2012

We noted the excellent article “How to Do Visual Best Bets for Built In SharePoint Search”. Mikael Svenson has done a very good job of explaining the details of an earlier article about best bets (content which may of interest to a user) enhancements to SharePoint FS4SP.

Users find useful suggestions and content flagged as having particular relevance to a query. The suggestions in many systems are in the form of “facets” or highlighted results. Busy users can scan the results list and note the suggestions. A visual component can make it even easier for a SharePoint user to spot potentially useful content.

We learned from Mr. Svenson:

Visual Best Bets is a feature of FAST Search for SharePoint which lets you point to a file with html content to be displayed above your search results. For example an image, Silverlight or flash content can be used to graphically enhance what is linked to the keyword term. The Visual Web Part uses an iframe to accomplish this and loads up your content inside the iframe. This is useful as you can easily edit the html file at will. But why go the extra mile for a separate file, or opt in for FS4SP for this feature? The Best Bet web part support the showing of keywords and keyword definitions. Keyword definitions are formatted as html. And a definition with html formatting is in effect a Visual Best Bet. (If you have more than one Visual Best Bet you want to assign to the keyword you would have to add them all to the same html for this to work.)

We agree, and we want to add that there are numerous other options available to a SharePoint licensee. These range from the integration of visual displays from Microsoft-certified third party developers to custom code. One company with some interesting technologies is Nevron. The firm’s components can convert a SharePoint page into an advanced dashboard or a report. The user no longer looks at a results list. With Nevron-type technology, the user sees a report which answers a specific business question.

At Search Technologies, the technical team can implement FS4SP via PowerShell or other system, integrate third party components, or develop a customized solution to meet a SharePoint licensee’s specific needs. To learn more about Search Technologies’ customization and FS4SP services, navigate to the Search Technologies’ Web site.

Iain Fletcher, February 16, 2012

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