Archive for month: January, 2015

Its over! (My 2014 Review)

04 Jan 2015
January 4, 2015

Traditions are traditions – at least when you repeat at least once, right? So last year I started to review my year with SharePoint – lets do it again.

Conferences & Social

2013 started great – after several attempts I convinced my company to send me to the very last SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas – and it was epic. Not only that I covered 30 SharePoint sessions, I met friends and new friends – I knew some of them via Twitter for a long time, but meeting in person is a totally different story, of course! If you wanna relieve my experience including my summary you can read my posts here.

On the speaking side, I submitted 10-15 sessions this year, some where accepted, some rejected. I was accepted in Zürich, Switzerland at Collaboration Days (international speaker, yay!) and in Duesseldorf at ShareConf, Germany – I had good fun and received good feedback. The most challenging speaking engagement was SP24 – even tho my session was pre-recorded. My inner devil forced me to record my session (50 Minutes) multiple times – in the end I did not need a script, even for the jokes 😉

Additionally I visted the User Group in Munich several times – of course I had a search talk there. Will continue that in 2015, for sure.

With Dave Hollembaek, we started an “informal gathering” / Stammtisch about Enterprise Search (we are not limited to SharePoint, but focused) in Munich – if you wanna join, please feel free!

More conferences are on my roadmap for 2015! 

Blogs & Comments

I spent some time with my little blog this year – new theme with mobile support and 31 blog posts – on the statistics side (I love analytics!) I had 78,783 views on my blog (82% more than 2013) and 133 comments (29% more than 2013) with 103 blog posts in total.

 

Posting Patterns 2014 - Ipost on Wednesdays

Posting Patterns 2014 – Ipost on Wednesdays

My most viewed posts:

1. #SharePoint 2013 – Create a Search Service Application and Search Topology with Powershell 53 comments 14,409 views
2. Install Office Web Apps 2013 for SharePoint 2013 – with PDF Preview 53 comments 12,536 views
3. Cache cluster is down, restart the cache cluster and Retry 11 comments 6,665 views
4. Installing SharePoint 2013 SP1 with SQL Server 2014 on Windows Server 2012 R2 – Picture Love Story 6 comments 6,465 views
5. Powershell: List all IIS WebApplications (.net version, state, identity) 19 comments 5,797 views

4. was published in 2014 – the others are older posts.

Where do all the visitors come from?

USAUnited States 22,490 views
GermanyGermany 6,237 views
IndiaIndia 5,177 views
UKUnited Kingdom 4,789 views
CanadaCanada 3,342 views

In total my blog was visited from 176 countries.

Search Projects

When I look at my projects of 2014 most of them were somehow SharePoint Search-related. My clients are obviously the best – so they gave my some pretty nice challenges, mostly integration of SAP or third party systems – or indexing huge volumns (90,000,000 items in 2 weeks). Thanks for the continued trust!

SharePoint Certifications

I only managed to pass two Certifications last year – but a new years resolution is to finish both my MCSE (only 70-332 missing!!!) and MCSD for SharePoint 2013. I tried to register for a training, but I was greated with:

After December 31st, 2014 if you wish to take a Microsoft certification exam, please visit the Microsoft Learning web site for further information.

So I tried to scheduled an online proctored exam – but Germany is not on the list… so I scheduled a on-site exam beginning of January. Yay!

Predictions

  • 2015 will be the year of search! Again.

For 2014 I predicted that the Service Pack 1 for SharePoint 2013 will bring some major search enhancements – some under the hood features were added, but I am still waiting for the long “announced” push API. I hope to see Delve for on-prem installations, too – but I think that will stay a wish. On the other side, that will hopefully push some to the cloud – or hybrid at least.

  • Hosting on Azure for Dev/Test will even more accelerate – even in Germany.

I said the same almost last year. But I saw some changes, some new clients moved directly to Office 365 – some at least looked at it. Cloud is still not very popular in Germany, in 2015 I hopefully see some more traction.

Happy New Year!

I wish you all a healthy and wealthy Happy New Year. Hope to see you soon!

SharePoint Search: What Managed Properties do my Items have? (Or: Search Query Tool v2.2. – the missing manual)

01 Jan 2015
January 1, 2015

Creating Search Driven Applications is very easy with SharePoint 2013 – sometimes.

For a really simple example you need 6 steps for SharePoint content (read detailed article here)

  1. Add some columns with values to a list
  2. Full crawl
  3. Create a Managed Property with the corresponding mapping
  4. Full Crawl
  5. Drop a Search WebPart (Search Result WebPart, Content By Search or one of the other options)
  6. Create a query that fits your needs

Bam! Easy, performant solution* and almost maintenance free (*depends on your query).

So? Where is/are the Problem(s)?

Most of the time its a challenge to create the search query (read this: Search Queries explained, 12 parts!) – for the most queries you need to understand what properties you have and can use to answer the business needs. For that you always have the same challenges:

  1. Are the items in the index already?
  2. Can you see it / who can see it?
  3. What properties are available for those items?
  4. Are the properties available on all items?
  5. How often do the items change?
  6. Ranking? Why is that item higher ranked?
  7. What should be visualized and how?
  8. Does my query work (at all)?

And of course many more.

So how to tackle some/all of the problems? Search Query Tool to the rescue!

First of all, there is one tool that gives you a head start: Search Query Tool for SharePoint 2013 (free, codeplex). It is so nice, I had to contribute some time and love, too.

In the following I will show some of the main features of it that help me almost daily:

 

Search Query Tool 2.2

Search Query Tool 2.2

  1. REST URL with all selected parameters – awesome to create JavaScript apps or apps outside of SharePoint
  2. Query Options – so many and really interesting options. You don’t want Phonetic Queries? There are plenty of different options here, almost all have a descriptive tooltip. Some of the fields have a tiny box right to a textbox, click on it for some useful default values. Quite handy if you don’t know how to put values in.
  3. Result Tabs – you get all the results here:
    1. Status: How many results (with and without duplicates) where delivered in what time.
    2. Raw: Unformatted JSON results (ugly, most of the time I skip that tab) – response headers are sometimes interesting in the case of an error.
    3. Primary Results: 99% of the time I am in this tab.

      Primary Results - shows the standard and selected properties

      Primary Results – shows the default or the Select Properties

    4. Refinement Results: What refiners do you get with the current query. You have to use the Refiners box in the Query Options (2) to see some results.

      What refiners would you get for the current query?

      What refiners would you get for the current query?

    5. Secondary Results: Skipping that most of the times, kinda useless IMHO.
    6. Suggestion Results: You have to use a suggestion query for that.
      Share suggests SharePoint

      Share suggests SharePoint

       

    7. Debug – I cover that in a future blog post.
  4. All connection options. Very useful to test search with different accounts. You can save the connection information via the menu File >> Save Connection Properties.
  5. The advanced options. I always enable the experimental features!
    1. They enable a preview in the tool for supported files (office and web pages)

      Preview for supported files (OWA is a requirement)

      Preview for supported files (OWA is a requirement)

    2. And most importantly it adds the button that I use most of the time: View all Properties
      The "magic" view all properties link

      The “magic” view all properties link

      The dialog showing all available properties

      The dialog showing all available properties

      The dialog shows all Managed Properties of the selected it. For that it needs the Property Workid, so make sure its in the Select Properties field (otherwise the tool will yell at you!).
      There are differences for SharePoint Online – maybe they will patch it so on-prem faces the same challenge. But once again Mikael Svenson has a solution for that.

Final words

Quite a lot of features for a FREE tool – but for Search challenges it’s really essential. Did I notice it has a freshness boost generator? Or did I mention that it supports the Office Graph Language (GQL), too?

Can you solve all problems with it? I hope so – if not, please drop me a comment or directly on the discussion page.

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