Archive for category: Development

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.

Installing SharePoint 2013 SP1 with SQL Server 2014 on Windows Server 2012 R2 – Picture Love Story

30 May 2014
May 30, 2014

I am trying something new for me: This will be a huge picture post.

Today we have a bridge day in Germany and that means most of my colleagues and clients are taking the day off. Ideal time for me to replace my SharePoint installation and bring it to a new level. Why did I upgrade? Well, lets say I have a fable to try everything new out before customers asks me some questions about it –  and I kinda like shiney new stuff. Hands on, here we go.

Requirements

In this post I show you how to install a small SharePoint 2013 Development Environment in 49 pictures – and a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

You need

  • a virtualization environment with a preconfigured Active Directory (Azure, Hyper-V, VMWare –  I show it with Hyper-V on Windows 8.1 Update 1)
  • the installation images, I got mine from my activeMSDN subscription:
    • Windows Server 2012 R2 with Update (en_windows_server_2012_r2_with_update_x64_dvd_4065220.iso)
    • SQL Server 2014 (en_sql_server_2014_enterprise_edition_x64_dvd_3932700.iso)
    • SharePoint 2013 SP1 (en_sharepoint_server_2013_with_sp1_x64_dvd_3823428)
    • Visual Studio 2013 with Update 2 (en_visual_studio_premium_2013_with_update_2_x86_dvd_4238022)
    • AutoSPInstaller (version 3.96)
  • coffee & internet or some work during the installation.

How to “read” this post?

In this post I intentionally leave a lot out – most of this the “next next next” dialogs during setups or what I consider basic stuff. Sometimes I do not show how to get to a specific dialog – if you are stuck, please drop me a comment.

When you open one picture, you can jump to the next one if you just click on the image. – the description is above it.

 

Let’ start: Windows Server 2012 R2

1. Create a new VM - give it a cryptic name so only you understand whats in the box :)

1. Create a new VM – give it a cryptic name so only you understand whats in the box 🙂

2. Generation 2 has way shorter boot times and is more performant

2. Generation 2 has way shorter boot times and is more performant

3. Give it as much RAM as you can - I will change it later once I shut down my work VM.

3. Give it as much RAM as you can – I will change it later once I shut down my work VM.

4. You need some network to install those precious windows updates and tools later on

4. You need some network to install those precious windows updates and tools later on

5. Storage: 127GB is good enough, you could extend later on.

5. Storage: 127GB is good enough, you could extend later on.

6. Pre-mount the Windows Server 2012 R2 image

6. Pre-mount the Windows Server 2012 R2 image

7. Ready, steady, go! Start the machine.

7. Ready, steady, go! Start the machine.

8. Thats new with Generation 2 VMs - Full Screen, copy & paste transfer and much more.

8. Thats new with Generation 2 VMs – Full Screen, copy & paste transfer and much more.

9. Select your language options - I always install English with German keyboard layout so I dont need to break my fingers when I type @ or \

9. Select your language options – I always install English with German keyboard layout so I dont need to break my fingers when I type @ or \

10. Time for the first coffee

10. Time for the first coffee

11. I always use pass@word1 as password - don't tell anyone!

11. I always use pass@word1 as password – don’t tell anyone!

12. Network settings - I disable IPv6 because it complicates things for me.

12. Network settings – I disable IPv6 because it complicates things for me.

13. With this IP my Internet Connection Sharing does always work - DNS is my Active Directory Server.

13. With this IP my Internet Connection Sharing does always work – DNS is my Active Directory Server.

14. Time for the domain join and a decent name. Lets call the server sp2013-2.

14. Time for the domain join and a decent name. Lets call the server sp2013-2.

16. Lets try to join my domain "demo.com"

16. Lets try to join my domain “demo.com”

17. A prompt is always a good sign here. Enter Domain Admin credentials.

17. A prompt is always a good sign here. Enter Domain Admin credentials.

18. Yes! It worked.

18. Yes! It worked.

19. Important: Configure Windows Udpates. Because I frequently present, I dont want the updates to be downloaded or installed when I dont want it. Cell usage is quite costly, please ask dear windows!

19. Important: Configure Windows Udpates. Because I frequently present, I dont want the updates to be downloaded or installed when I dont want it. Cell usage is quite costly, please ask dear windows!

Install SQL Server 2014

20: Time for SQL Server 2014

20: Time for SQL Server 2014

21: Select what you need - for me only 3 checks. Database Engine is obvious.

21: Select what you need – for me only 3 checks. Database Engine is obvious.

22: Management Studio is important, too.

22: Management Studio is important, too.

23. Lets install - next next next, oh dear!

23. Lets install – next next next, oh dear!

24. Open server manager, top right go to "Add Roles and Features"

24. Open server manager, top right go to “Add Roles and Features”

25. Add .NET 3.5 and hit next

25. Add .NET 3.5 and hit next

26. I always add a named instance, lets call it SharePoint.

26. I always add a named instance, lets call it SharePoint.

27. Add some users with admin privileges.

27. Add some users with admin privileges.

28. Press next and wait until this screen appears. Coffee?

28. Press next and wait until this screen appears. Coffee?

Installing SharePoint 2013 SP1

Please note: you need bundled SP1 to install on Windows Server 2012 R2.

29. Finally - the base is set, lets install SharePoint 2013 SP1.

29. Finally – the base is set, lets install SharePoint 2013 SP1.

30. I install the PreReqs manually with the GUI - am I old school or what?

30. I install the PreReqs manually with the GUI – am I old school or what?

31. Then I configure my AutoSPInstaller File with everything I need: From Search to BCS - with a single WebApp that contains everything (Best Practice)

31. Then I configure my AutoSPInstaller File with everything I need: From Search to BCS – with a single WebApp that contains everything (Best Practice)

You can grab my config file here: AutoSPInstallerInput.xml (just rename the extension and drop it to the AutoSPInstaller SP Folder)

32. Copy the binaries to the SharePoint 2013 folder inside the AutoSPInstaller dir

32. Copy the binaries to the SharePoint 2013 folder inside the AutoSPInstaller dir

33. The farm user needs some rights - my user is called spfarm

33. The farm user needs some rights – my user is called spfarm

34. Give it DB Creator and Security Admin rights.

34. Give it DB Creator and Security Admin rights.

35. Hit play or better start the magic AutoSPInstallerLaunch.bat

35. Hit play or better start the magic AutoSPInstallerLaunch.bat

36. Green lines are good lines

36. Green lines are good lines

37. At least no red lines, right?

37. At least no red lines, right?

38. A familiar window

38. A familiar window

39. Some progress - coffee?

39. Some progress – coffee?

40. Green green green.

40. Green green green.

41. Creating web apps, service applications, site collections, configuration - this tool is soooo impressive.

41. Creating web apps, service applications, site collections, configuration – this tool is soooo impressive.

42. Voila - Central Admin opens, no red health issue thingy.

42. Voila – Central Admin opens, no red health issue thingy.

Install Visual Studio 2013 with Update 2

43. Installing Visual Studio is so easy, I skip the screenshots. Hit next next next.

43. Installing Visual Studio is so easy, I skip the screenshots. Hit next next next.

44. There we go.

44. There we go.

Install the tools

45. Installing 10 SharePoint must have tools - chocolatey is the answer!

45. Installing 10 SharePoint must have tools – chocolatey is the answer!

Go to http://chocolatey.org to get the package manager to install other tools. Read this post for more info. Then open a new PowerShell and copy this into it:

cinst 7zip cksdev11 dotPeek gitextensions GoogleChrome notepadplusplus SearchQueryTool SharePoint.HiveShortcut.Desktop SharePoint.HiveShortcut.Explorer SharePointManager2013 SPCAF SPSF ulsviewer cksdev2012

46: Chocolatey - sweet!

46: Chocolatey – sweet!

47: Go go go!

47: Go go go!

48: Green lines indicate new SharePoint Tools installed.

48: Green lines indicate new SharePoint Tools installed.

49: Voila, tools installed - actual work can start now!

49: Voila, tools installed – actual work can start now!

Closing thoughts

Well, writing and preparing this blog post took longer than the actual installation – AutoSPInstaller did a decent job, installing my “baseline” SharePoint Toolbox with chocolatey is easy – welcome brave new world! If I could focus on this 100% full time, I think I can install everything in roughly 2 hours, not bad, right?

To be honest, not everything worked like a charm during this setup – how could it? I did not prepare a thing: I had to run autospinstaller like 10 times to install SharePoint – but everytime I forgot a value and the tool was so nice to tell me what was missing – but you can always restart the tool and it continues, awesome! Additionally some of the chocolatey packages failed during install – I will try to fix some of them (you cant complain cause the tools are free, right?). There is room for improvement here.

But to close this post, installing everything from scratch was good fun!

Do you like the style of the picture post? If so, please leave a comment!

SPC14: Futuristic Search applications using Kinect and Yammer!

05 Mar 2014
March 5, 2014

Use your body and voice to search SharePoint and Yammer. Learn how you can utilize SharePoint 2013 Search to index your Enterprise Yammer content on-premises in addition to your regular SharePoint content, then use futuristic UI design and Natural User Interface (NUI) features of the latest Kinect SDK and Kinect Sensors for Windows to build rich NUI and voice controlled search applications. It’s possible. It’s cool and a little crazy – much to be learned. And not a keystroke will be wasted.

My notes for the session: “Futuristic Search applications using Kinect and Yammer!” by Chris Givens and and Ben Lower at SPC 2014 In Las Vegas.

IMG_1859

Yammer Search

Yammer offers a search rest endpoint but its not used for this – you need Enterprise Yammer to export data, that’s how Chris did it.

IMG_1860

On-Premise Integration

To integrate the extracted data you need a BCS connector to get the data into the search index.

  1. Connector (reading the data)
  2. Result Types / Content Source (connect it to the search service application)
  3. Display Templates (make it look nice)

Dang – this demo took a while to create – and we only saw 50% so far.

IMG_1861

Kinect Basics

Ben explained the basics of Kinect – wow, impressive. Natural User Interface, User Engagement – its crazy what is possible with the little box. Relate this to SharePoint and you would need 7 servers Smiley

Kinect can detect when your cat jumps on the couch and can yell “hell no!” in the owners voice!

SDK is available for free – grab it and do amazing stuff.

Kinect can listen and speaking – and so much more. Ben showed a demo application – simply impressive.

IMG_1869IMG_1865IMG_1866IMG_1867IMG_1868

Minority Report Demo

Creating this demo took him 5 weeks – applause for that!

IMG_1864

Natural language searching

IMG_1862

Grabbing and moving stuff with your hand

IMG_1863

I don’t have a good photo, but Chris said “Search Chris” and his app connected to SharePoint search and read out the yammer search results – very slick one!

Summary

I am a search guy, so this session was a must for me: Fun, search and new technology – very good mix, I like it a lot. Especially that you connect technologies that are not related and get something out of it is really cool. Minority Report Technology for Consumers connected to SharePoint, epic.

Asking a question got me this book – thanks for that, I had a blast.

IMG_1870

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