SharePoint 2013 Hosting – FAST Search in SharePoint 2013

Microsoft has fully integrated the FAST search technology into SharePoint. The end result – a single, unified search platform. What this means is that we now get nearly the full potential of the FAST search engine, with the simplicity inherent in managing the traditional SharePoint Search technology.

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General notes:

  • SP2013 provides a complete client-side object model (CSOM) for on-premise, off-premise and mobile interaction with search.
  • There is no longer any support for SQL syntax. You must use either keyword syntax or FQL.
  • REST service is available for remote client interaction with the search engine.
  • Along the same lines, the Search Query Web Service (search.asmx) is depreciated. If you have clients with custom code interacting with the service they need to plan a migration at time of upgrade.
  • Lots of enhancements to the keyword query language – Near, ONear, XRank.
  • Farewell to XSLT for results. Instead we have Display Templates and Result Types. These are HTML, CSS, and JS templates, with their own gallery, that allow us to style and control display of results (including the application of rules based on content). Pretty slick and very easy to debug compared to the current world.
  • Custom security trimmers are now supported.
  • Integration with the term store for property extraction features, ignore list, spell checks, etc. I will so miss the xml schemas associated with these features.
  • While the features of the FAST pipeline are in the product, the pipeline is no longer exposed for extensibility. We can, however, call out to web services during processing which should give us the same results.
  • The web analytics service application from 2010 has been replaced with a Analytics Process Component within the search service.
  • New search engine is employed across the platform including in-line search and eDiscovery, and is an integral part of other products such as Exchange.
  • We can now define “Query Conditions” that cause a rule to be triggered (e.g. the presence of specified words in the query). The Query Processing component also enables results sets returned by the search engine to be processed, according to rules, before being displayed to the user. Applications for this include additional search-time security trimming.
  • Best Bets now called “Promoted Results”