An Open Letter to Microsoft on Enterprise Search

Posted Tuesday, November 11, 2008 1:32 PM by CoreyRoth

The Enterprise Search component of MOSS 2007 and Search Server are great products and they can do a lot of great things out of the box, however I repeatedly see the same requests from clients.  I also see people having the same issues in the forums all the time.  I would like to summarize a list of things, we as a community, would like to see addressed in the future.  With the acquisition of Fast, a lot of these could become non-issues, but in the meantime this is what people are experiencing now.  Please add your comments or let me know anything you think I missed. 

  • Wildcard Searching - Yes, Enterprise Search supports it but not out of the box.  WildcardSearchWebPart helps, but it's just a hack and this functionality should be built in.  It doesn't help with People Search though.
  • Unseal classes in Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Web - We are given limited functionality in displaying search results out of the box, help us out by not making these classes sealed so that we can add our own functionality.  You did this with the Federated Search classes and it was a step in the right direction.
  • Provide links to document libraries, sites, and editing of results containing documents.  The Document Link Handler helps with this.
  • Provide zip and download support - LiveLink has a lot of these types of options and users want them.
  • Allow custom sorting using managed properties in the CoreResultsWebPart.
  • Include faceted search out of the box.
  • Add keyword specific features to Full Text SQL Queries - It turns out people want wildcard searching and a variety of other features that word only when performing a keyword search.  Things like Best Bets, RSS, Keyword Highlighting, and Search Summary do not work when using Full Text SQL.
  • Display more accurate result counts - I know this is the nature of a way a search engine works.  In the case where I am using the BDC to index a table full of widgets, the end user always knows exactly how many widgets there are and he or she starts to ask questions.
  • Fix the page where you map crawled properties - It is not resizable and you can't see what you are picking when the crawled property has a long name.  It would also be nice if you could select more than one at a time.
  • Stop using WSS Search in MOSS - You can work around this, but there should be no reason why a call is made to OSSSearchResults.aspx on a MOSS server.  The WSS search page offers next to 0 customization options.
  • Provide a way to see which IFilters you have installed.
  • Provide and stsadm command to import/export Content Sources, Managed Properties, Crawled Properties, and Scopes.  Thank you SSSPPC for helping with that right now.

Ok, I know I am asking a lot, but just take a look at the forums, these are real issues people deal with every day.  I still enjoy working with the product every day and am so thankful that the community has given so much to make it better.  I am very excited what the next version of search will have in store for us.  However, these are things that should be addressed in one way or another lest companies start going out and buying Google Search Appliances.    If you have anything you would like to add, please leave a comment.  Thanks.


# re: An Open Letter to Microsoft on Enterprise Search

Monday, November 24, 2008 5:48 PM by JoshNoble


I was recently turned onto these blogs to better understand what my customers are looking for.  I understand that this was directed at Microsoft but I just want to let you know that although it may not be free, there is a single product which addresses most of the issues that you presented.  Ontolica Search is a web part developed by SurfRay.  Although it doesn't fix everything you listed, it knocks out a large chunk.  Check it out at

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