Faceted Search 2.5 is much improved

Posted Thursday, August 14, 2008 1:44 PM by CoreyRoth

I was pleased to see that a new version of the Faceted Search web parts had come out recently.  On my last couple of projects, the Faceted Search worked, but it didn't quite meat all the clients needs.  Mainly it didn't work with fixed queries, advanced search or support the keyword OR syntax.   So I ended up writing my own faceted search controls.  They weren't as functional and were coded to meet the needs of specific needs of my clients.  They weren't as nice as Faceted Search, but they did got the job done.  So when a new version came out, I had to try it out as soon as possible.

If you are going to try them out, the first thing I recommend is to read the setup guide.  I didn't and just assumed the install process was the same as previous versions, and it was complete FAIL.  I went back and read the guide and that got me going somewhat.  There are a couple of things you need to remember to do.  First, remove the old version.  Deactivate the feature, retract the feature, and delete the solution.  Another thing you need to do is manually delete the web parts from the web part gallery.  The reason for this is that when you try to activate the new feature, you will get a file already exists error.  I wish more people would put code in their feature receivers to do that.  It's a pretty simple process and I should probably write something on it. 

The last thing you need to do is to be sure and download the version of Enterprise Library that is provided on the Faceted Search site.  The reason for this is that the faceted search controls require partial trust and the Enterprise Library has to be recompiled to allow partially trusted callers.  Hopefully, Microsoft will put this attribute in the library next time so that, it doesn't have to be added manually.  You will need to throw these DLLs in the GAC.  Don't assume that the existing version of Enterprise Library will work because the code looks for a version with a specific public key token.

After getting everything installed, I was pleased to see that I could now pass multiple values for the same managed property (i.e.: Color:"Red" Color:"Blue").  It also now has support for advanced search.  It has all sorts of other great new features that I haven't messed with yet.  On my setup, I did not have the caching database working correctly at first, so it puts the text Not Cached at the header of the facets control.  I really don't like that since the user doesn't really have any need for that information.  Not a deal breaker since I can just resolve the issue by getting my caching database setup correctly.  I would just modify the source code for the web part and recompile, but unfortunately it's not available yet.  Anyhow, the Faceted Search web parts are really nice now and from my experience users really like them.  If you haven't used them before, I encourage you to go try it.


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