Faceted Search for SharePoint 2007 (MOSS)

I had seen the post on the Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies Team Blog the other day about faceted search, but for some reason, it didn’t make an impression.  Today, Scott Jamison posted about it, so I took another look.  (I’ve worked with Scott, and I pay attention when he touts something.)

This is really a cool option to enhance what SharePoint Search can do for you.  The most immediate use I thought of was for a company directory or facebook that is much more interactive than basic Search.  (I’ve posted a few other times about ways to build up this capability, but none of my ideas worked this well.)  Check out the WSS Demo site for an interactive demo.

A few other ideas from the Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies Team Blog post:

  • Music catalog: songs have attributes such as artist, title, length, genre, date.
  • Company white pages: directory of people with names, department, role, region.
  • Recipes: cuisine, main ingredients, cooking style, holiday.
  • Travel site: articles have authors, dates, places, prices.
  • Regulatory documents: product and part codes, machine types, expiration dates.
  • Image collection: artist, date, style, type of image, major colors, theme.

A new release is planned in a week or so, with these new features:

  • Multi-thread processing. 1st thread runs for up to 500 facets synchronously, while the 2nd thread is running asynchronously against up to ~30,000 facets.
  • Client side refresh (not AJAX) that updates only facets web part without page refresh.
  • Web part connections to pass Facet settings to the bread crumbs.

Extended facet schema now supports:

  • Facet icons — default icon per facet name complimented by an icon per facet value .
  • Friendly names for facet values.
  • Exclusions — allow exclude facet when values match pattern.
  • Built-in wildcard match, especially useful for exclusions.
  • Improved search syntax, added supports for sentences and quoted phrases.