Friday, February 16, 2007

MondoSearch for EPiServer (Part 1)

Last year, while I was creating the MondoSearch for Sitecore integration I was at the same time technical-contact/project manager for the MondoSearch for EPiServer integration. Besides from keeping me busy for half a year, this provided an excellent opportunity to learn a lot about these two state-of-the-art content management systems, each with their own strengths and difficulties.

With the EPiServer I was so lucky to be working with the former (now again current) EPiServer Product Chief, Roger Wirz, through his company Briomera. In the end I was very pleased with the results of our joint work - it turned out to be quite a cool integration of the products, deeper integrated than any other EPiServer search tool I've seen. In November and December I got to travel around Sweden and demonstrate it to EPiServer partners in both Gothenburg and Stockholm. It got a lot of interest, and several customers are already making their own implementations based on the integration.

I've been wanting to share some screenshots of the integration with you all, so here goes.

Just as with the Sitecore Integration, the integration for EPiServer is also based on the MondoSearch Integration Services, which is a set of XML Web Services, that's based on MQL and DataSets.
In the Configuration section it's possible to setup the connection strings and urls to all of the web-services as well as using the Diagnostic tool to check that all services are up and running. This is a handy one-place-stop for trouble-shooting.

If we stay in the Admin section of EPiServer we might draw our attention to the Crawler Control.
This is where you can control the indexer, see crawler logs, manually start a new crawl, and also setup an EPiServer Heart Beat that on regular intervals checks if it's time to start the crawler - and if the last crawl went okay.

When it comes to the actual search implementation, we've adjusted the standard MondoSearch Template 1 to work within EPiServer, and also created a PageType for it.
By adding a User Control with meta-tags to all the pages we're also able to enhance the meta information on the pages as well as categorize either using EPiServers categories, or the built-in MondoSearch Categories.
All text-strings used on the search-page can be found in EPiServer style language xml's and can quite easily be translated.
In the integration we've also included support for 2 authorization methodologies in order to fully support EPiServers authorization. This means that when you search on your EPiServer you'll only get back the results you are allowed to see.

Since the Editor search that comes with EPiServer sometimes can leave you wanting a bit more we also included an Editor Search based on the MondoSearch index of the website. This is an easy way for editors to find the documents they want to edit.

This was a brief introduction to the configuration and searching facilities in MondoSearch for EPiServer. When I have time I'll post some more screenshots of the neat interaction with BehaviorTracking and InformationManager from within EPiServer.

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