One of my main focuses the past 4-5 years has been leveraging the Search Infrastructure to help deliver dynamic content to portals and Intranets. In previous versions of SharePoint I leaned heavily on the underlying APIs to deliver custom solutions. This was both because the underlying APIs allowed more precise querying and because it gave me full control on what was rendered to the user.
I intend for this post to be a bit of a primer on the high level topics. I’ll be coming out with some specific task-driven follow up posts over the next few weeks that expand on these concepts and get into some examples of things that can be done through these new features.
Dynamic Content using Search Web Parts
For those that haven’t caught my session Dynamic Content using SharePoint Search here is a brief overview.
The web parts themselves are broken into the following categories:
- Content Rollup (Enterprise Feature)
- Search-Driven Content (Enterprise Feature)
Within the Content Rollup category resides the Content Search web part. This is a great replacement for the Content Query Web Part (CQWP) available in past versions of SharePoint. Unlike the CQWP, this utilizes the search service so it can pull matching results from anywhere in your farm, which means you are not limited to the current site collection.
The web part also supports new, previously unavailable display options including the ability to show the item as a slideshow.
The Search-Driven Content category contains a series of web parts that are all based on the Content Search web part, with a pre-set query to help you get started. This includes results that display specific types of content like the Videos, Web Pages, Wiki Pages, Pictures, Pages, and then also results that rely on the analytics features to deliver results pertaining to Popular Items, Recently Changed Items, and Recommended Items. The pre-configured queries are a great start, and using the query builder form you can dial in the specific results you are looking to display.
Search Display Templates
The display templates are stored in the Master Page Gallery for each site collection. You can find them by browsing to Site Settings, and clicking the Master pages and page layouts link under the Web Designer Galleries group. From within the gallery, browse into the display templates directory, and then into the Search directory for search specific display templates.
A good reference for the included display templates is available here on the TechNet/MSDN website: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj944947(v=office.15).aspx
Here is a good overview of how to work with the display templates: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/jj945138(v=office.15).aspx