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What's new within SharePoint 2013 Search - Part 2: What happens with FAST in SharePoint 2013

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You may also be interested in: The SharePoint Shepherd's Guide for End Users from SharePoint Shepherd

 

Editor's note: Contributor Nicki Borell is a SharePoint Evangelist & Consultant for Experts Inside. Follow him @NickiBorell.

Fact 1: In SharePoint 2013 the two Search Engines “SharePoint Search” and “FAST Search Server for SharePoint” were combined in one Search Engine.

Fact 2: FAST as a standalone product is still available and supported. Click link for details: http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/search/default.aspx?sort=PN&alpha=fast

Future of FAST ESP: Read this statement by Rob Va from July 16: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/fastinternetesp/thread/86e5e64f-1fd0-4ee4-a025-1dea0f1693df

 

Mostly all the features / functions that we know from FAST Search Central Admin sites have been integrated in Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2013:

2012-08-22-2013Search-Part02-01.jpg

Let’s have a look at the feature and functions level:

Managed Properties:

The technique with crawled properties and managed properties was similar in SharePoint Enterprise Search and FAST Search Server for SharePoint. But with FAST we had additional configuration options:

The functions / fields: Name, Type and Mappings to Crawled Properties were the same in both SharePoint 2010 Search Engines.

The features Sort Property, Query Property, Refiner Property and Full-text Index Mapping moved into the new Managed Property configuration:

2012-08-22-2013Search-Part02-02.jpg

There are some more options in the new SharePoint 2013 Managed Property configuration, but this will be part of “Part IV: Admin Stuff”.

Crawled Properties:

Crawled Properties are the same in FAST, Enterprise Search, and SharePoint 2013 Search.

Managed Property Extraction:

This section was completely reworked. In FAST 2010 we have to work with some PowerShell calls like: Get-FASTSearchResource dictionaries\spellcheck\sk_spell_iseck_en.txt and dictionary files based on an XML structure to include new terms. In SharePoint 2013 this feature uses the Managed Metadata / Termstore to handle the term / dictionaries for company individual property extraction:

2012-08-22-2013Search-Part02-03.jpg

You can see that the function for ignore list and spell checking also moved to the Termstore. We will take a detailed look at this in Part III.

FAST Service Application:

So in fact with only one integrated Search Engine left we didn’t have to configure the different Shared Service Applications for FAST Content and Fast Query as we have to in SharePoint 2010:

2012-08-22-2013Search-Part02-04.jpg

Query Language / FAST Query Language:

FAST brings its own Query Language which is just different / extended from the SharePoint Search Query Language. Some of its characteristics are now found in Search Query Language. For example the XRANK Operator:

In SharePoint Server 2010, the XRANK operator was available only with FAST Query language (FQL). The XRANK operator provides dynamic control of ranking.

SharePoint 2013 Search no longer supports SQL syntax. Search in SharePoint 2013 supports FQL syntax and KQL syntax for custom search solutions.

For more details about building Search Queries in SharePoint 2013 Search have a look here:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/sharepoint/ee558911(v=office.15)

FAST Stuff:

FAST stuff and FAST specific components like the “extended WebCrawler” or commanding tools like indexerinfo.exe are no longer part of SharePoint, at least not part of the SharePoint 2013 Preview version.

Developing custom connectors / crawler is now standardized.

Content Processing:

In FAST for SharePoint 2010 we had the Advanced Content Processing Pipeline architecture:

2012-08-22-2013Search-Part02-05.jpg

In SharePoint 2013 this is part of the common Search Architecture.

Next parts in this series:

Part III: A look in the deep what’s behind the new Search functions like “Search Dictionaries”, “Query Builder”, “Query Client Type”
Part IV: Admin Stuff
Part V: Frontend Stuff

Categories: SPF 2013; FAST Search; Search; dev; MOSS; WSS

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