Using Site Server Search

Many of the technologies embodied in Microsoft Site Server 3.0 you can unleash only with some software development. Let me tell you about one wizard-driven technology that is amazingly easy to configure and implement—Site Server Search.

The creation of Site Server Search index catalogs is wizard driven but can also be custom configured. You can gather information by using Search to crawl ODBC-compliant databases, Web sites, file systems, Microsoft Exchange Public folders, and newsgroups. The creation of Active Server Pages (ASP) that perform the searches against the catalogs is completely wizard driven.

You can create a Site Server Search in two ways: from the Site Server Service Admin (Microsoft Management Console—MMC) and from the Site Server Service Admin (HTML)—also called Web Admin. Access the Site Server Service Admin (MMC) on your Site Server machine by choosing Start, Programs, Microsoft Site Server, Administration, Site Server Service Admin (MMC). Access Web Admin by choosing Start, Programs, Microsoft Site Server, Administration, Site Server Service Admin (HTML). Here's the trick: You can create ODBC searches only from Web Admin.

Creating a Site Server 3.0 search is quite simple. Running the Catalog Definition Wizard facilitates the entire process. The Catalog Definition Wizard is a 4-step wizard in which you

  1. Give the index catalog a name
  2. Configure the starting address of the crawl
  3. Select the search hosts
  4. Start the catalog build (optional)

Let's say you want to create a search of the content (ASP, DOC, EXCH, HTM, HTML, PPT, TXT, XLS) on your Web site. First, run the Site Server Service Admin (MMC) on your Site Server machine. Click Search to expand the local server that is hosting the search services. Below that local server, the search services are Catalog Build Server and Search Server. Right-click Catalog Build Server, and select New Catalog Definition with a Wizard. Click Next on the opening screen, then give your index catalog a name—most likely, this name would be the name of your Web site. (Catalog names are restricted to 39 alphanumeric characters with no spaces.) Click Next to specify the type of crawl you're going to perform.

Three types of crawls are available (from Web Admin):

  • Web Link Crawl—follows links on your site and can optionally crawl off-site links to other Web sites, no matter where they are
  • File Crawl—starts in a directory on the file system and can optionally crawl the subdirectories contained therein
  • Exchange Crawl—crawls all messages in an Exchange Public folder

For this example, choose File Crawl, then click Next to configure where to start the crawl. Type D:\inetpub\wwwroot (or whatever drive you've installed your Web site on). The default is to crawl all subdirectories, so leave it at the default. Click Next to select the Search Host(s). (You can propagate your index catalog to multiple hosts, which you would most likely do in a Web farm.) For this example, check the default of your local server, and click Next to move to the final screen of the wizard. Select the Start Build Now check box, then click Finish. You can monitor the status either in the main window of Search in the MMC or in detail by accessing the Properties sheet of the Catalog Build server that is crawling, then selecting Status.

When the crawl is complete, ASP appears so that you can execute the search. Under the Search Server MMC snap-in you'll see the search catalog that you just built. Directly under the catalog, click Search, and the ASP that performs the search will execute in the MMC. Type in something to search for, and then click Search. You can copy the link to the pages hosted in the MMC into your site to give it search functionality.

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