SharePoint 2010 : The Search User Interface - The Search Results Page (part 4) - Search Later from Windows Explorer

9/20/2013 4:43:55 AM

5. Search Later from Windows Explorer

The Search Action Links Web Part option provides the ability to search a location later from Windows Explorer in Windows 7. This allows for a user to establish federated search connections between the SharePoint 2010 Search Centers and the user's local machine. Once this connection is made, a user does not need to open SharePoint to search within the scope of the connection.

To establish a federated connector for the scope of the current search query, first execute the search query within the desired scope. On the search results page, select the search action on the far right as shown in Figure 16.


Figure 16. Windows Explorer connection button location

This action will download the connector and provide a prompt, asking if the user wants to establish the connection. The Add Search Connector prompt is shown in Figure 17. Choosing to add the connection will complete the handshake and open Windows Explorer on the local machine.


Figure 17. Adding the connector

By entering a search query into the Windows Explorer search box, queries can now be run against the established scope. When a query is executed, Windows passes the federated search to SharePoint 2010 and returns results in much the same way they would return in a SharePoint search center. Results return with actionable titles, keywords highlighted within the content snippets, and associated metadata. Figure 18 shows a set of federated search results with previews enabled in Windows Explorer.


Figure 18. Federated search results in Windows Explorer

Double-clicking a result will perform actions similar to clicking a result title in a search center. Microsoft Office documents will be opened in their corresponding programs. PDFs will open in Adobe Reader or other PDF viewer, and SharePoint sites will open in a new web browser window.

By default, the search result set in Windows Explorer will display only the first 20 results. To view the entire search results set, the search must be executed within SharePoint. A shortcut to executing the current query in SharePoint can be found at the top of the Windows Explorer Window. Selecting “Search on website” as shown in Figure 19 will open SharePoint in the browser and provide the full search result set in the corresponding search center.


Figure 19. “Search on website” button

If multiple federated search connections have been established on the local machine, they can be accessed by selecting the desired scope on the left side of Windows Explorer under Favorites.

Best Bets

Best bets are result suggestions pushed to users based on their search queries. Unlike the search suggestion functionality, which suggests a query, the Best Bets feature suggests a result. Best Bets suggestions occur based on specific keywords entered into the query and are presented as the first result(s) in a search result set. This result is slightly offset and marked with a star to stand out from the rest of the result set. For users, actioning a Best Bets result suggestion functions as any other search result of the same content type. The usefulness of the Best Bets feature for users is that if well managed, it drives the most relevant result to the start of a result set. Figure 20 provides an example of a best bet.


Figure 20. Search results page with a best bet

The Best Bets feature allows administrators to determine which results are most relevant for keywords. The goal of these is to feed content to the user based on the results that the administrators want the user to find first. Administrators can manually associate keywords with a Best Bets result. These are usually determined by analyzing the analytics for a given environment. SharePoint 2010 can also provide administrators with suggestions for Best Bets in a periodic report that factors in likely desired suggestions based on the aggregated metrics of an environment.

Note SharePoint 2010 Best Bets do not include HTML. For graphical best bets that use HTML, a third-party solution such as Ontolica Search or FAST for SharePoint 2010 is necessary. Public-facing SharePoint sites or those heavy on branding and marketing may want to consider this option.

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