SharePoint Conference 2012 – Search Driven Web Sites and Cross Site Publishing with SharePoint 2013

I was really looking forward to this presentation about Search driven web sites by Daniel Kogan primarily because of having multiple clients that we purposely had chosen an architecture that was a single site collection because of the need to display information quickly and without much development. I had also known that SharePoint 2013 had a new web part called the Content Search web part. Very practical applications!

Daniel started by talking why a search driven publishing model.

  • Primarily because of the site collection issue.
  • He also mentioned that the overall architecture does not really matter, for example SharePoint 2010 and 2013 have list thresholds. Now the content can be stretched across multiple lists and this should not matter.
  • This allows for more flexible and dynamic publishing
  • Separate storage and presentation which is something companies have been asking for
  • More efficient way of handling information

He went on to talk about some of the components of the new Search that help with this overall concept:

  • Content Search
  • Content Query
  • Term Content
  • Managed Navigation
  • Publishing Page

Along with these components the query can display basic information or a Query Rule can be applied. In a previous post I talked about Query Rules (a.k.a. Key Words) and how these can be connected to internal business rules. Query rules can also include related items and recommendations that can be displayed.

The building blocks of this solution include:

  • Content Search Web Parts
  • Display Templates
  • Query Builder
  • Query Rules
  • Content Catalogs
  • Managed Navigation

Catalogs is a new concept for SharePoint. More specifically it is found at the site or the library/list level. Once enabled this becomes the store for information and can be quickly displayed within the Content Search Web Parts.

Query within SharePoint 2013 has been created to help bring back many pieces of information or just 1 relevant piece of information (say a news article). This is what we call the Cross-Site Publishing component for SharePoint 2013.

Content Search Web Parts is the display component for the publishing information. This can use the Query Builder to whittle down the information needing to display. This Query Builder is a web based tool that makes it easy to create a Query string. SharePoint Farm administrators can also create queries and make them available. Once concern when using this web part is around how soon we will be able to see information once added into SharePoint. By using the continuous crawl information will be displayed relatively soon after adding into the environment.

Display templates utilize HTML and JavaScript to give different look and feels for the results. SharePoint 2013 already has multiple display templates already available. Organizations will need to understand HTML and JavaScript to be able to skin the results for their particular needs.

The SharePoint 2013 Term Store/Managed Metadata includes the capability of using information within the Navigation. The Term Store term set will need to be enabled to use with Managed Navigation. Once this has been enabled, the page hierarchy do not show up in the URL. These are replaced with the Term Store term hierarchy. For example you will not see Catalogs/Pages/Products/123xyz.aspx you could see category1/category2/123xyz.aspx. We could have used this for a couple of our SharePoint internet clients.

Because of the high use of Search within this scenario it will be quite important to make sure that search becomes a highly available service to build out the appropriate architecture. Happy searching!

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