Setup Enterprise Search Page in SharePoint 2010

Hooray! My first SharePoint 2010 blog post!

I have been lucky enough to start working on my first SharePoint 2010 project. As you may know, things have definitely moved on from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010. Every new release of SharePoint seems to be a vast improvement over its predecessor that benefits both the end users and developers. But just as things get better and better, you’ll find yourself falling into the common trap of trying to apply what you have learnt in SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010. I know I did.

A good example of this is having a search page that allows users to search “All Sites” or “People”, something we would see in a SharePoint 2007 search page as standard:

MOSS 2007 Search

I was surprised to find out that this wasn’t the search I would get by default. The SharePoint 2010 search is quite basic and out-of-the-box as you can see from the screenshot below:

Sharepoint 2010 Original Search

In order to get a search page that includes both Site and People search (or as Enterprise Search as SharePoint 2010 now calls it), you have to carry out an additional step that simply requires creating a new site. So, go to “Site Actions” and click on “New Site”. When the popup opens, select the “Search” category and select “Enterprise Search”. Enter a page and name and URL name and click “Create”.

Sharepoint 2010 New Site Enterprise Search

If everything goes well, you should see a search page which looks like something like this:

Sharepoint 2010 Enterprise Search Page

Cool! So you now have the ability to carry out Site and People searches. But you may find the People search will not work if you carried out the same mistake I did where I missed out a key setting in Central Administration. I will blog about that within the next few days. TO BE CONTINUED...

Post Updated: 30/01/2011 - Enable People Search in SharePoint 2010

At Last! Created My Own eBay Style Search Using Solrnet

Over the last few months I have been carrying out endless amounts of research and development to find a way to create my own eCommerce styled search similar to the likes of what eBay and Amazon use. Otherwise known as “Faceted Search”, whereby the search results are filtered through a series of facets belonging to your search criteria. Each facet typically corresponds to the possible values of a property common to a set of objects.

Sounds very difficult and complex doesn’t it! Smile Even to this very day, I am sure eBay and Amazon must use some kind of “magic” to get their search to work in a seamlessly and efficient format.

There are numerous search solutions out there that could help you achieve in making this type of search. From my experience I couldn’t find any low cost out-of-the-box solutions that would help me in making my own search. Majority of the search vendors were not only very expensive but they also required a quote to tailor make a solution for you.

In the early stages I tried expanding my Lucene.NET knowledge, but I couldn’t find a flexible way to introduce facets into my search. I must admit I am not exactly an expert in Lucene and this could have also had a part to play in failing miserably.

When I thought all was lost and there was no chance in hell in being able to figure this thing out, I luckily came across a few blog and StackOverflow posts by a guy called Mauricio Scheffer. Mauricio seems to be the brains behind the .NET client version of a search platform called: SolrNet. SolrNet is a  Solr client library built for the .NET Framework. This is one of the strengths of Solr. It can be consumed within other development platforms such as Python and Ruby.

SolrNet just happened to be an ideal solution to what I was looking for and with just over a weeks development I was able to build my own basic search, which looks something like this:

SolrNet1 SolrNet2

As you can see from my screenshots, you can carry out a search by report type and/or global text search. In addition, the showing and hiding of the facet objects are purely dependent on the searches returned.

SolrNet is a very flexible package and I know just enough to implement the basics. But I was really surprised on how well the searches performed even with the most basic implementation. So I am looking forward to adding additional features as over the next few months and perfecting both my Solr search index and code.

I won’t be posting the code that I used to create my search since its quite a big project and tailor made specific to my database architecture. But here are a few links that I found useful to get me started in the world of SolrNet:

Multi Query Search Using Lucene.NET

Over the last few days I have been doing some research on the best way to implement search functionality for a site I am currently building. The site will consists mainly of news articles. The client wanted a search that would allow a user to search across all fields that related to a news article.

Originally, I envisaged writing my own SQL to query a few tables within my database to return some search results. But as I delved further into designing the database architecture in the early planning stages, I found that my original (somewhat closed minded) approach wouldn't be flexible nor scalable enough to search and extract all the information I required.

From what I have researched, the general consensus is to either use SQL Full Text Search or Lucene.NET. Many have favoured the use of Lucene due to its richer querying language and generally more flexible since you have the ability to write a search index tailored to your project. From what I gather, Lucene can work with any type of text data. For example, you not only can index rows in your database but there are also solutions to support indexing physical files in your application. Neat!

I have written some basic code (below) with a couple methods to get started in creating a search index and carrying out a multi-query search across your whole index. You would further enhance this code to only carry out a full index once all required records have been added. Most implementations of Lucene would use incremental indexing, where documents already in the index are just updated individually, rather than deleting the whole index and building a new one every time. I plan to hook up and optimise my Lucene code into a service that would be scheduled to carry out an incremental index every midnight.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using Lucene;
using Lucene.Net;
using Lucene.Net.Store;
using Lucene.Net.Analysis;
using Lucene.Net.Analysis.Standard;
using Lucene.Net.Index;
using Lucene.Net.Documents;
using Lucene.Net.QueryParsers;
using Lucene.Net.Search;
using System.Configuration; 

namespace MES.DataManager.Search
{
    public class Lucene
    {
        public static void IndexSite()
        {           
                //The file location of the index
                string indexLocation = @ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["SearchIndexPath"];

                Directory searchDirectory = null;

                if (System.IO.Directory.Exists(indexLocation))
                    searchDirectory = FSDirectory.GetDirectory(indexLocation, false);
                else
                    searchDirectory = FSDirectory.GetDirectory(indexLocation, true); 

                //Create an analyzer to process the text
                Analyzer searchAnalyser = new StandardAnalyzer(); 

                //Create the index writer with the directory and analyzer.
                IndexWriter indexWriter = new IndexWriter(searchDirectory, searchAnalyser, true);

                //Iterate through Article table and populate the index
                foreach (Article a in ArticleBLL.GetArticleDetails())
                {
                    Document doc = new Document();

                    doc.Add(new Field("id", a.ID.ToString(), Field.Store.YES, Field.Index.UN_TOKENIZED, Field.TermVector.YES));
                    doc.Add(new Field("title", a.Title, Field.Store.YES, Field.Index.TOKENIZED, Field.TermVector.YES));
                    doc.Add(new Field("articletype", a.Type.TypeName, Field.Store.YES, Field.Index.TOKENIZED, Field.TermVector.YES)); 

                    if (!String.IsNullOrEmpty(a.Summary))
                        doc.Add(new Field("summary", a.Summary, Field.Store.YES, Field.Index.TOKENIZED, Field.TermVector.YES));                

                    if (!String.IsNullOrEmpty(a.ByLineShort))
                        doc.Add(new Field("bylineshort", a.ByLineShort, Field.Store.YES, Field.Index.TOKENIZED, Field.TermVector.YES));                    

                    if (!String.IsNullOrEmpty(a.ByLineLong))
                        doc.Add(new Field("bylinelong", a.ByLineLong, Field.Store.YES, Field.Index.TOKENIZED, Field.TermVector.YES));                   

                    if (!String.IsNullOrEmpty(a.BasicWords))
                        doc.Add(new Field("basicwords", a.BasicWords, Field.Store.YES, Field.Index.TOKENIZED, Field.TermVector.YES));                   

                    if (!String.IsNullOrEmpty(a.MediumWords))
                        doc.Add(new Field("mediumwords", a.MediumWords, Field.Store.YES, Field.Index.TOKENIZED, Field.TermVector.YES));                   

                    if (!String.IsNullOrEmpty(a.LongWords))
                        doc.Add(new Field("longwords", a.LongWords, Field.Store.YES, Field.Index.TOKENIZED, Field.TermVector.YES));  

                    //Write the document to the index
                    indexWriter.AddDocument(doc);
                }
                          

                //Optimize and close the writer
                indexWriter.Optimize();
                indexWriter.Close();         
        }

        public static List<CoreArticleDetail> SearchArticles(string searchTerm)
        {
            Analyzer analyzer = new StandardAnalyzer(); 

            //Search by multiple fields
            MultiFieldQueryParser parser = new MultiFieldQueryParser(
                                                                new string[]
                                                                {
                                                                    "title",
                                                                    "summary",
                                                                    "bylineshort",
                                                                    "bylinelong",
                                                                    "basicwords",
                                                                    "mediumwords",
                                                                    "longwords"
                                                                },
                                                                analyzer); 

            Query query = parser.Parse(searchTerm); 

            //Create an index searcher that will perform the search
            IndexSearcher searcher = new IndexSearcher(@ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["SearchIndexPath"]); 

            //Execute the query
            Hits hits = searcher.Search(query);

            List<int> articleIDs = new List<int>(); 

            //Iterate through index and return all article id’s
            for (int i = 0; i < hits.Length(); i++)
            {
                Document doc = hits.Doc(i);

                articleIDs.Add(int.Parse(doc.Get("id")));
            } 

            return ArticleBLL.GetArticleSearchInformation(articleIDs);
        }

    }
}

As you can see, my example allows you to carry out a search across as many of your fields as you require which I am sure you will find useful. It took a lot of research to find out how to carry out a multi query search. Majority of the examples I found over the internet showed you how to search only one field.

The main advantage I can see straight away from using Lucene is that since the search data is held on disk, there is hardly any need to query the database. The only downside I can see is problems being caused by the possibility a corrupt index.

For more information on using Lucene, here are a couple of links that you may find useful to get started (I know I did):

http://www.codeproject.com/KB/library/IntroducingLucene.aspx http://ifdefined.com/blog/post/Full-Text-Search-in-ASPNET-using-LuceneNET.aspx

Watermarking Images On The Fly Using ASP.NET

Watermarking and general image manipulation within the .NET Framework has become quite an easy thing to carry out thanks to the features provided by the System.Drawing namespace. The System.Drawing namespace contains types to help you with…well…drawing and rendering images. I will not be covering the basic use of the System.Drawing class. But feel free to carry out a Google.

My example consists of using a .NET (aspx) page and a Generic Handler (ashx). The .NET page will allow me to select an image, add a logo to the top left and some text. The Generic Handler will contain all the magic needed to manipulate the image based on selections made within the .NET page. The screenshot (below) shows my basic program in action.

Image Watermarking

Firstly, let me start off by showing you the code for the Generic Handler.

ImageRenderJpeg.ashx

using System;
using System.Web;
using System.Drawing;
using System.Drawing.Imaging;
using System.Drawing.Drawing2D;

public class ImageRenderJpeg : IHttpHandler
{
    public void ProcessRequest(HttpContext context)
    {
        context.Response.ContentType = "image/jpeg";

        //Retrieve image details
        string imageUrl = context.Request.QueryString["ImageUrl"].ToString();
        string imageComment = context.Request.QueryString["ImageComment"].ToString();
        string imageIconUrl = context.Request.QueryString["Icon"].ToString();

        if (!String.IsNullOrEmpty(imageUrl))
        {
            //Get the location of the image
            Image imagePhoto = Image.FromFile(imageUrl);

            // Get dimensions of image
            int imageHeight = imagePhoto.Height;
            int imageWidth = imagePhoto.Width;

            //Create a new Bitmap
            Bitmap oBitmap = new Bitmap(imageWidth, imageHeight, PixelFormat.Format24bppRgb);

            //Load Background Graphic from Image
            Graphics oGraphics = Graphics.FromImage(oBitmap);
            oGraphics.SmoothingMode = SmoothingMode.HighQuality;
            oGraphics.DrawImage(imagePhoto, new Rectangle(0, 0, imageWidth, imageHeight), 0, 0, imageWidth, imageHeight, GraphicsUnit.Pixel);

            //Layer 1: Add an Image Logo to the top left
            if (!String.IsNullOrEmpty(imageIconUrl))
            {
                Image imageIcon = Image.FromFile(imageIconUrl);
                oGraphics.DrawImage(imageIcon, new Rectangle(5, 5, 124, 48), 0, 0, imageIcon.Width, imageIcon.Height, GraphicsUnit.Pixel);

                imageIcon.Dispose();
            }
            
            //Layer 2: Add Comment
            if (!String.IsNullOrEmpty(imageComment))
            {
                Font commentFont = new Font("Arial", 14, FontStyle.Regular); //Font Style
                StringFormat commentFormat = new StringFormat();
                commentFormat.Alignment = StringAlignment.Near; //Align text in left of layer

                SolidBrush commentBrush = new SolidBrush(Color.Black); //Font Colour

                oGraphics.FillRectangle(Brushes.Beige, 5, imageHeight - 55, imageWidth - 15, 50); //Create a rectangle with white background
                oGraphics.DrawString(imageComment, commentFont, commentBrush, new Rectangle(5, imageHeight - 55, imageWidth - 15, 50), commentFormat); //Add comment text inside rectangle
            }
            
            //Layer 3: Add Copyright watermark
            Font watermarkFont = new Font("Arial", 40, FontStyle.Bold); //Font Style
            SolidBrush semiTransBrush = new SolidBrush(Color.LightGray); //Font Colour
            StringFormat watermarkFormat = new StringFormat();
            watermarkFormat.Alignment = StringAlignment.Center; //Align text in center of image

            oGraphics.DrawString("Copyright",
                watermarkFont,
                semiTransBrush,
                new PointF(imageWidth / 2, imageHeight / 2), watermarkFormat);

            //Dispose of graphic objects
            imagePhoto.Dispose();
            oGraphics.Dispose();

            //Output image
            oBitmap.Save(context.Response.OutputStream, ImageFormat.Jpeg);
        }
        else
        {
        }

    }

    public bool IsReusable
    {
        get
        {
            return false;
        }
    }
}

You can see that I am manipulating my image based on the query string parameters I pass from my .NET page into my Generic Handler. Hopefully, my code is commented well enough to explain the general overview on what is going on.

The following code displays how my aspx page parses all the parameters needed to generate an image on the page:

Default.aspx

<%@ Page Language="C#" AutoEventWireup="true" CodeFile="Default.aspx.cs" Inherits="_Default" %>

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<head runat="server">
    <title>Image Generator</title>
</head>
<body>
    <form id="form1" runat="server">
    <div>
        Select an Image:
        <asp:DropDownList ID="ddlImage" runat="server">
            <asp:ListItem Text="*" Value="*">Select Image</asp:ListItem>
            <asp:ListItem Text="The Tumbler" Value="C:\Users\Surinder\Documents\Visual Studio 2010\WebSites\ImageCreator\Images\batmobile_Tumbler.jpg"></asp:ListItem>
            <asp:ListItem Text="Audi TT" Value="C:\Users\Surinder\Documents\Visual Studio 2010\WebSites\ImageCreator\Images\new-audi-tt-coupe.jpg"></asp:ListItem>
            <asp:ListItem Text="Volvo Concept" Value="C:\Users\Surinder\Documents\Visual Studio 2010\WebSites\ImageCreator\Images\volvo-s60-concept-interior1.jpg"></asp:ListItem>
        </asp:DropDownList>
        <br />
        <br />
        Add Logo: <asp:TextBox ID="txtImage" runat="server"></asp:TextBox>
        <br />
        <br />
        Add a comment:
        <asp:TextBox ID="txtComment" runat="server" TextMode="MultiLine" Width="500" Height="50"></asp:TextBox>
        <br />
        <br />
        <asp:Button ID="btnCreateImage" Text="Create Image" runat="server" onclick="btnCreateImage_Click" />
        <br />
        <br />
        <img id="imgRender" alt="Image Render" title="Image Render" runat="server" />        
    </div>
    </form>
</body>
</html>

Default.aspx.cs

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Web;
using System.Web.UI;
using System.Web.UI.WebControls;

public partial class _Default : System.Web.UI.Page 
{
    protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
    {
        if (ddlImage.SelectedValue == "*")
        {
            imgRender.Visible = false;
        }
        else
        {
            imgRender.Visible = true;
        }
    }

    protected void btnCreateImage_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
    {
        if (ddlImage.SelectedValue != "*")
        {
            //The Image source will be pointed to our Generic Handler to display the image.
            imgRender.Src = String.Format("ImageRenderJpeg.ashx?ImageUrl={0}&ImageComment={1}&Icon={2}", ddlImage.SelectedValue, txtComment.Text, txtImage.Text);
        }
    }
}

Cannot Delete File: The file is in use by another program or user

Arrrgh!!! Microsoft has to be the yearly winner for the “Most Stupid Error Message” award for displaying the most excruciatingly annoying error messages in any of their products. The main reason for their annoyance is because majority of the error messages tells you something is wrong, but not the source of the error. A good example of this is: “Cannot delete file. This file is in use by another program or user”.

I am not expecting the error message to tell me the exact cause of the error but at least some meaningful information on what could be the issue. Anyway, back to the error at hand…

I found a really great bit of free software that fixes the problem. Its called Unlocker and you can download it here. It allows you to see exactly what processes are currently using the file you are trying to delete, edit or move. What’s even better is that Unlocker can kill the processes within its UI.

Making Calculations In LINQ

I am currently working on an ASP.NET 4.0  e-commerce site using Entity Framework alongside LINQ. I came across a small issue when I needed to carry out some calculations based on product pricing and the discounts that would need to be applied based on a specific customers allowance.

You maybe thinking, what’s the issue? Well I wanted to be able to make the calculations within my LINQ query since both product pricing and customer discount amounts are stored in the database. So initially wrote the following code:

using (MyEntities myContext = new MyEntities())
{
    int productPrice = (from p in myContext.Products
                        where p.ProductID == 1
                        select p.Price).SingleOrDefault(); 
 
    int customerDiscount = (from cd in myContext.CustomerDiscounts
                            where cd.CustomerID == 15
                            select cd.Discount).SingleOrDefault(); 
 
    int productDiscountedPrice = productPrice - ((productPrice * customerDiscount) / 100);
}

As you can see from my code above, I had to write two separate LINQ queries in order to get the values I wanted and then base my calculations on those values. But I was determined to carry out my calculations in one query. Luckily, LINQ has has a really cool keyword that I totally missed. It’s the “let” keyword which allows you to declare a variable and assign it a calculated value.

using (MyEntities myContext = new MyEntities())
{
    int productDiscount = (from cd in myContext.CustomerDiscounts
                           join p in myContext.Products on cd.ProductID equals cd.ProductID
                           where p.ProductID == 1 && cd.CustomerID == 15
                           let discountAmount = p.Price - ((p.Price * cd.Discount) / 100)
                           select discountAmount).SingleOrDefault();
}

Since my database schema allowed me to join my “CustomerDiscount” and “Products” table, I was able to join the two tables and retrieve values I required through one query.

Handling Unsupported Internet Explorer 6 Users

Web browsers have come a long way since the days of Internet Explorer 6 release back in 2001. You would think 9 years on we would have all dumped this piece of software in the garbage heap by now. Alas, we still have users to this very date who still use IE6 either due to personal preference or by force (company IT policies).

As everyone knows, developing a site to be compliant with main stream browsers in addition to carrying out additional fixes to fit in with the slim 6.7% of global users can be a real pain. So instead of trying to fit your site around the small number of IE6 users, why not just knock some common sense into them and notify them to upgrade.

Thankfully, there is a really easy and polite way to do this. Go to http://code.google.com/p/ie6-upgrade-warning/ and download the JavaScript file and embed the following code to your webpage…

<!--[if lte IE 6]>
    <script src="js/ie6/warning.js"></script>
    <script>window.onload=function(){e("js/ie6/")}</script>
<![endif]-->

…which outputs the following result:

IE6 Upgrade Warning

As great as this idea is I don’t see many web developers or web agencies implementing this on the sites they create unless really needed. Nevertheless, its step in the right direction to hopefully put a final nail into that IE6 coffin!

iPhone SDK Error: Base SDK Missing

I am currently in the process of learning how to build applications for the iPhone. I have recently upgraded from the iPhone SDK 3.0 simulator to the iPhone SDK 4.0 simulator. But this caused some issues when trying to run some of my previous applications I developed prior to when I had the iPhone 3.0 simulator installed.

Normally, the dropdown box within the XCode window allows you to select different simulators. For example: iPad Simulator 3.2 or iPhone Simulator 4.0. As you can see from my screenshot (below), none of these options were available.

Base SDK Missing

Apparently, the iPhone 4.0 SDK can still have the ability to run iPhone 3.0 applications and this is something we should be doing from now on. This requires a couple of changes to carry out in your older 3.0 projects.

Firstly, you will need to go to Project > Edit Project Settings. When the window appears, click on the Build tab and change the “Base SDK” value to “iPhone Simulator 4.0”.

Edit Project Settings

Secondly, go to Project > Edit Active Target. When the window appears, you will have to carry out the same procedure as you carried out in the “Edit Project Settings” whereby you click on the Build tab and change the “Base SDK” value to “iPhone Simulator 4.0”.

Edit Project Target If you have carried out the changes correctly, you should be able to Build and Run your project successfully. I admit this is not exactly ideal to do this if you have many iPhone 3.0 application projects. But I suppose this fix is better than nothing and plus its quite a quick change.

Do Not Ignore Android’s Low Memory Warning

Android Memory I have a HTC Hero which was recently upgraded from Android 1.5 to 2.1 a few months back. It has definitely been a significant and worthwhile upgrade packing in lots of new extra features and most importantly extra applications to download from the Android Market.

The only downside to the upgrade is that I now have less memory to play with and this can cause a detrimental effect if you get the “Phone memory is running low” warning. Since I received this warning I found that all my Google Synchronisation tasks stopped syncing automatically. Even if I tried manually starting the synchronisation service nothing would happen. In addition, I couldn’t even download any applications from the Android Market.

Soon as I went on a massive clear out on my phone and resolved the low memory error, my Google Synchronisation worked instantaneously. All the problems I previously had were magically rectified. Its just a shame that all the applications get stored onto the phone memory rather than the external memory.

The weirdest thing is that I still had around 14MB of free space on my phone prior to having my cleanup. I find it a little strange the low memory threshold is set so high.

I guess its good to know that Google has rectified this issue by allowing applications to be stored on external memory in their Android 2.2 release. Unfortunately, it highly unlikely my HTC Hero will see this update.

Mac OS X Snow Leopard VMware Environment Freezing

Over the last week or so, I have had the most frustrating time creating a Mac OS X Snow Leopard environment using VMware. I won’t go into the whole process I went through to create my Virtual Machine. There are many online articles for you to Google (or Bing :-P) that show you the step-by-step procedures on how to create a Mac OS virtual environment.

All I can say it took a lot of blood, sweat and tears! You may find that you need to cross-reference between a few sites in order to get the winning combination for a working VMware environment.

Anyway, if you are one of the lucky ones to have successfully built a Snow Leopard environment, you may have come across an issue whereby your VMware environment randomly freezes for no apparent reason. Now this is quite annoying. After much searching and constant VMware configuration changes, I could not get to the bottom of the issue. I knew that it could not have been to do with the setup, after all I had a fully functioning Mac environment.

What I noticed is that my environment would never freeze whilst I was using it. It only froze if I left it idle for long periods of time. You are now probably thinking:

GET TO THE POINT! HOW DID YOU FIX IT???

Well the cause of the environment to freeze is due to the Energy Saver settings found under System Preferences in your Mac OS (Apple icon > System Preferences > Energy Saver). You will find that it is default to 15 minutes idle time before going into sleep mode. All you need to do is set both Computer Sleep and Display Sleep to Never. As a precaution I also unticked the “Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible"

MacOSEnergySaver