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Deploying Search Connectors in Windows Federated Search

[This documentation is preliminary and is subject to change.]

Explains how a user registers a new remote data store with Windows federated search by opening an OpenSearch Description (.osdx) file, methods of deploying an .osdx file, and how to track usage of your OpenSearch service.

This topic is organized as follows:

The .searchconnector-ms (Search Connector) File

After you have created an .osdx file that describes how to connect to the Web service, and how to map any custom elements in your RSS or Atom XML, you give the .osdx to your user, and the following events occur:
  • Your user registers a new remote data store with Windows federated search by opening an .osdx file. When the user does so:
    • A .searchconnector-ms file is created in the Windows Searches folder (%userprofile%/Searches).
    • A shortcut to the .searchconnector-ms file is created in the Links folder (%userprofile%/Links).
    • A shortcut appears in the Windows Explorer navigation Favorites pane, allowing the user to navigate into the new data store, and query the Web service.

Deploy the Search Connector

Note  A data store that already has an OpenSearch Web service that is compatible with Windows federated search can be added to Windows Explorer when users open an .osdx file.

Deployment Methods

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, for example, that generates custom .osdx files based on user choices or the current scope within a site

For the file to be downloaded when the user clicks the link in their browser, the Web server hosting the Web service must be configured to deliver the .osdx as a file. Hence, you must configure the MIME Types on the Web server to treat .osdx files as "application/opensearchdescription+xml". Optionally, you can use the icon supplied by Microsoft to identify search connector link.

Note  Consider hiding the link from users using computing with operating systems prior to Windows 7. The version for Windows 7 is 6.1. The browser agent string contains Windows NT 6.1.

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

Tracking Usage

To track the usage of your OpenSearch service by users searching from Windows Explorer, filter your Web server log files for this user agent string: Windows-Search+(Windows+NT+6.1).

Additional Resources

  • For a demonstration of how to create an OpenSearch Web service for a SQL database, see the Windows 7: Empower Users to Find, Visualize and Organize their Data with Libraries and the Explorer World Wide Web link video presentation given at PDC (October 2008).
  • For information on Windows system-defined properties, see System-Defined Properties for Custom File Formats.
  • For information on Shell system properties, see System Properties.
  • SharePoint Search Server 2008 and MOSS 2007 SP2 also support federated search of remote servers using OpenSearch. For more information about federated search and Search Server 2008 deployment with Office SharePoint Server 2007, see Welcome to Microsoft Search Server 2008.
  • See the Microsoft Download Center Web site for the following downloadable resources:
    • Windows 7 Federated Search Provider Implementer's Guide
    • Search Server 2008 Sample: Federated Search Connector Sample
  • For more information about the OpenSearch standard, see the OpenSearch World Wide Web link Web site.

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