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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Searching Website with Microsoft Index Services in .NET

Introduction
Virtually every Web application has a search functionality, from big eCommerce sites like Amazon.com, down to small blogs or personal sites that might have only a handful of pages. Search has become so ubiquitous that when visitors to your site want to find some past article they read, they'll immediately start hunting for the search capability.

From the website developer's perspective, providing search capabilities requires two steps:

  1. First, you must create an index of the site's contents. An index of a website is synonymous to the index in a book. If you want to read about a particular topic in the book you can quickly find the page(s) through the index, as opposed to having to read through the book's entire contents.
  2. Once an index has been created you need to be able to search through the index. Essentially, a user will enter a search string and you'll need to find the matching, relevant results in the index, displaying them to the user.

Configuring Microsoft Indexing Services
The first step in creating an index for your search application is to configure Indexing Services on the IIS server that your Web application will be running. To do this you need access to the Web server itself. Open the Microsoft management console by clicking Start, then Run; type mmc and click Ok. Next, to open the Indexing Services snap-in, you must:

  • Click file,
  • Click Add/Remove Snap-In,
  • Click Add,
  • Select the Indexing Service Snap-In,
  • Click Add,
  • Click Finish,
  • Close the dialog

Continue… After following these steps you should see something akin to the screenshot below.

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