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SharePoint 2013 Search Part 5 – Search-based Solutions

Working with clients I am always keen to bring the conversation about search forward in our discussion of a solution. Search is not something we ‘plug in’ or ‘turn on’ in the later stages of a SharePoint project. Search needs to be considered from the outset and built into the architecture if we are to get the most from it. In fact it’s possible that the whole conversation can become about search when we consider search-based solutions.
If you have not heard this term before, it is a new genre within SharePoint and now discussed a lot within the search community. The basic concept is that we use the search index as the primary repository of data and employ a combination of search queries and metadata refinement to surface data. It’s a highly flexible way to build an application and lends itself very well to module re-use.
The dashboard concept is a good way to understand search-based solutions. For example, I constructed a dashboard of Sports to help me decide what to do at the weekend:

Search-based solutions dashboard
My dashboard shows three categories of sports: fun sports, dangerous sports and sports for when it’s raining. These categories are surfaced using the Content Search WebPart (CSWP) from sports information in the search index. In this case the original source of the data is SharePoint, but the cool thing about search is that it could have originated from any source. We use the CSWP to filter and sort the sports into these categories and to display the top three results matching the search query. For example here’s how I configured the ‘FunRating’ sort:
With the improvements to KQL, better search WebParts, easier result customization and the overall improved user experience I think we are well equipped to build some great solutions with SharePoint 2013 search. Perficient already have some client work examples of SharePoint 2013 search-based solutions and they will be presented at the forthcoming SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas. Call by Perficient and see what we are working on…
SharePoint 2013 Search Series:
SharePoint 2013 Search Part 1 – What happened to FAST?
SharePoint 2013 Search Part 2 – Richer Query Language
SharePoint 2013 Search Part 3 – User Experience and WebParts
SharePoint 2013 Search Part 4 – Search Result Customization
SharePoint 2013 Search Part 5 – Search-based Solutions

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Chris Hines

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