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Thursday, August 22, 2013

SharePoint Search - What cannot be found?

SharePoint 2010 has awesome search capabilities! That being said, it still is SharePoint. You have got to remember that SharePoint is a platform. Platforms are build with greatness in mind.... so it is not a custom solution for your specific problem!

Like all platforms the search capabilities have their limits. If you know them you can respond to them. This blog is about what you can do with search and what you cannot do with search.

Consider the following scenario: Document Management
First a little story so we can pin point requirements... and some cannot's!
So you have your SharePoint environment all configured to work as Document Management System (DMS). How awesome is that!

So how does this DMS work?

You upload your documents to the drop-off library. You configured a content organizer rule (or 500 of them, not counting your Record Center) that makes sure that your document automagicly moves to the correct document library.

Your DMS also supports Document-ID's. So the document you created in your Dropp-Off Library gets a unique and one of kind ID.

Now, some business-joker wants to locate 'his' document. Geeees the nerve of some people. So, where is it? You uploaded one document? Well, give me 5 minutes and we'll have it located! But what if we are working in a reasonable sized company and we are processing 5.000 or more documents per month? That's about 170 documents per day.

SharePoint Search to the rescue! You have content organiser rules in place so you know your content (otherwise you cannot create good content organizer rules). Let's say the document that the user wants to locate is a complaint.

Try using the CQWP in such an environment :-) look at this blog about that hell! So you configured search to display all non-handled complaints and.... nothing?! WTF?

So why is that? Dunno :-) but perhaps it is because one of the following limits, boundries or other functionalities:
  • Documents in the drop-off library aren't crawled
  • Checked out documents aren't crawled
  • Search can only find what it crawled via an incremental or full crawl.
So what does this mean in real life scenario's:
  • The document was uploaded to the drop-off library but wasn't (yet) indexed so SharePoint does a check-out and the complaint will not be processed!
  • The document wasn't indexed correct at the drop-off library so SharePoint does a check-out and the complaint will not be processed! Documents in a drop-off library aren't visible for search and thus the complaint cannot be found by the end user!
  • The document was uploaded via an automated process with incorrect metadata and thus it is again checked out.
  • The document was uploaded via an automated process with correct metadata but the content organizer rules didn't run yet (scheduled daily by default).
  • The document was processed correct but
I mentioned the document-id feature earlier. When you create a document center there is a little box in wich you can enter a specific document-id. This box uses search capabilities so all the issues/functionalities mentioned above count for this little gem also!


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