Saturday, September 19, 2009

Windows 7 Federated Search

Windows 7 has a new federated search feature that queries remote data stores through Web servers, via the OpenSearch protocol, and enumerates the results as RSS or Atom XML feeds. Everything you need to know about extending the Windows 7 search index can be found on this MSDN article.

To add Federated Searches to your computer you need to run .osdx files. Below is a osdx for flicker search.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<OpenSearchDescription xmlns="" xmlns:ms-ose="">
<Description>Flickr OpenSearch via Windows 7 Search Federation.</Description>
<Url type="application/rss+xml" template="{searchTerms}&count={count}&page={startPage}&sort=interestingness-desc"/>
<Url type="text/html" template="{searchTerms}&m=text"/>

If you head over to this site there is lots of Federated Searches already made that you can just download and use:

Deployment Methods

There are two ways to deploy search connectors, pull deployment and push deployment.

Pull Deployment

Pull deployment describes any type of deployment in which the end user takes the initiative to install the search connectors. Common methods of pull deployment are:
- Attaching the .osdx file in an e-mail.
- Posting the file on a Web page.
- Providing a dynamic link on your intranet site

Push Deployment

Push deployment describes any type of deployment that does not depend on user initiative to install the search connectors. Common methods of push deployment are:
- Group Policy Preferences (GPP)
- Logon script
- Roaming profiles
- Imaging


Below we are going to go through a quick demo to show you what Federated Search looks like. Here I have a Flickr osdx file sitting on my desktop shown in the above code. Run it.

Click Add:

Now if you go into an explorer window Flickr will appear in your faverotes. In the screenshot below I did a search for the word plants in Flickr.

To delete custom federated searches navigate to the users profile, expand the new Searches folder and just delete the file.

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