FAST has released a set of installable Web parts (Web parts are reusable UI components for building SharePoint sites) for quickly integrating FAST ESP with SharePoint Server 2007. These Web parts allow SharePoint administrators to build ESP-based search sites inside SharePoint Server 2007 by simply dropping in and configuring the appropriate components.

 

Web Parts Functionality
These new ESP Web parts provide much of the functionality demonstrated in the FF08 SharePoint demonstration. Specifically, ESP search capabilities can be exposed within SharePoint Server 2007 sites using the following Web parts:
- Search Box -- Web part that supports creation of a search box for query term submission
- Result List -- Web part that displays search results and supports sorting, pagination, and navigator-based filtering
- Navigators -- Web part for displaying dynamic navigators that profile search results across a set of pre-defined dimensions and allow users to refine the search through navigation clicks
- Breadcrumb -- Web part for displaying the search term(s) and list of navigators used to obtain the current result set
- Search Site Template – Template for linking together the various Web parts to build a complete search site in one step

 

Codeplex Release
The Web parts have been released as a free downloadable package (including both compiled code and source code) on Codeplex, the Microsoft-hosted open source project site.

 

You can find the Codeplex project for the ESP Web parts at www.codeplex.com/espwebparts

 

We have released the Web parts on Codeplex for several reasons:
 1.) To foster a developer community that can grow and scale our integration capabilities faster
 2.) To provide a forum for custom code solutions on top of SharePoint
 3.) To encourage partner created solutions in the SharePoint space

 

While Microsoft and FAST will not directly support these Web parts and do not intend to provide a future upgrade path, the Web parts are production quality and are fully intended for production use by customers and partners.

 

Developer Community
Given the reach of SharePoint and the power of ESP search we believe the project will generate tremendous interest in the marketplace. We hope to see the project grow into an active technology exchange for ESP/SharePoint integration components and are working to foster a strong developer community around the project. With the level of demand we expect to see for ESP/SharePoint integration, this developer community will be critical path to helping us grow and scale our integration capabilities. The Web parts themselves have been designed to be open and extensible, allowing developers to customize them to fit diverse branding and user experience requirements or extend them to fit new search requirements. This is our first open source initiative at FAST and we're looking forward to an enthusiastic response.