Thursday, 5 June 2008

MS Search Server 2008 Part 4 - What is Federated Search?

This is the 5th post of a serie on MS Search Server 2008:

MS Search Server 2008 Part 1 - What is MSS 2008?
MS Search Server 2008 Part 2 - Versions
MS Search Server 2008 Part 3 - Product Improvements
MS Search Server 2008 Part 4 - MS Search Server 2008 compared to MS Offiche SharePoint Server 2007


The federated search is a new search functionality that comes with the release of MS Search Server 2008. The new webparts can display search results from other non-sharepoint sources like Yahoo,, Technet, wikipedia, Flickr, ...

They can also be used to display search results form a custom database or a 3rd party application like Symantec Enterprise Vault, Coveo, EMC, ... And last but not least federated search can be used to search in remote SharePoint Farms (!!!)


  • Federated Results Webpart: connects to a single federated location and displays the top X results returned from the location.

  • Top Federated Results Webpart: connects to multiple federated locations and displays the top X results from the first location to return a result in the order of the configured locations

How does it work?

  • The server will send a query to the other search engine or application as a parameterized URL, for example :{searchTerms}

  • The external search engine returns and renders the result in a predefined XML format
  • The federated results webpart renders the xml on the screen based on the XSLT formatting rules.

All these operations are defined in one XML file, the .FLD file. FLD stands for Federated Location Definition.

This file describes the following:

  • how and when the queries will be federated to the location
  • the formatting of the results in XSLT
  • the authentication settings

Here you can download some sample connectors files + a list of the MS Partners who already have a solution for the Federated Search:

Some Screenshots

Sample of a federated results webpart showing results from MS Live search:

Sample of a federated results webpart showing results from You Tube:

Management of the Federated Locations in the SharePoint administration website:

SAP .NET Connector 2.0 and SharePoint 2007 ?

How do we upgrade webparts from SharePoint 2003 that are using the SAP .NET Connector 2.0 to SharePoint 2007.

Answer ...
First of all you need to upgrade your webpart to framework 2.0 using the SharePoint 2007 DLLs. Problem is here that there is no SAP .NET Connector for framework 2.0. (SAP .NET Connetor 2.0 is still based on Framework 1.1).

Here you can find an article describing how to use the SAP Connector in Visual Studio 2005. The solution also should work with Visual Studio 2008

Currently, SAP Connector for .NET is not supported in Microsoft Visual Studio 2005. We suggest a workaround that enables easy design-time connectivity to SAP backend systems in Visual Studio 2005 by creating the .NET Connector proxies in Visual Studio 2003 and porting them to Visual Studio 2005.

Important to know is that this component is discontinued, so they will not provide newer versions of the SAP .NET Connector. You now should use the webservices solution with SAP Netweaver.

Some extra links: