Extending the System Center Content Search Windows Gadget

Extending the System Center Content Search Windows Gadget

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A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the System Center Content Search Windows Gadget.

This gadget makes it easier to find help for Microsoft System Center products because it uses Live Search macros to search specific sites instead of the entire web. Search results are only returned from sites that are known to contain helpful information about System Center products.

But did you know you can easily extend this Gadget to have your own searches included? I’ve added my own website to the System Center Content Search Gadget (SCCSG).

clip_image002

But you can much more than that. What about creating your own Windows Live Search Macro and adding it to the SCCSG?

Ok let’s start. Here is an example. Maybe you also have this issue I sometimes have. You have seen some answer to your OpsMgr question in one of your RSS feed websites, but don’t know where anymore and didn’t save all the rss posts in your favorite RSS Reader. You can use Windows Live Search and only search in Feeds, but that would also include some websites to which you didn’t subscribe.

Live Search Macros

But did you know you can create your own Live Search Macros? These are like mini search engines tailored to any topic. When you create a search macro, a home page is automatically created. That way, your search macro is easy to use, easy to save as a favorite, and simple to share with your family and friends. And you know what? These Live Search Macros are also used in the SCCSG!

Just take a look at the flyout.js file in the C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\Gadgets\systemCenterContentSearch.gadget\js\flyout.js

image

As you can see they used a Live Search Macro. Just open the next Live Search Macro “http://search.live.com/macros/microsoft_user_assistance/sc_operations_manager_technet/?FORM=OIJT” and you will be able to  search the System Center Operations Manager documentation in the TechNet library. How cool is that?

Ok, now we know we can create our own Live Search Macros let’s start creating one for our own RSS feeds. Here are the steps:

  1. Export your RSS feeds to an OPML file (xml file). In Outlook you do this by going to File –> Import and Export. And selecting Export RSS Feed to an OPML file. Save that file somewhere and open it with your favorite Text Editor.
    It should look something like this.
    image
  2. The next step is to use these URL’s in your own Live Search Macro. Please go to the Live Search Macro website and sign in with your Windows Live ID.
  3. Click on Get Started and start with a Basic Macro (a list of Web sites that your Macro should search). Click on Next.
  4. Now you can add 30 sites from your exported RSS feed OPML to your own Live Search Macro. Just copy them from your exported OPML file to the Live Search Macro website. Keep in mind that you want to search the website not the feed. So remove the rss.xml and other feed extensions from the URLs in your exported OPML file. I would suggest to only keep the website URL.
    image
    You can test your macro and compare it to the Results from Windows Live Search.
  5. Click on Save Macro and choose a Macro Name.In my case http://search.live.com/macros/stefan_stranger/rssfeed1/ (because I’ve more than 30 feeds I needed to create more than one macro ;-)

Now your own Live Search Macro is ready to be used in the SCCSG. To add your own Live Search Marco to SCCSG you need to make a copy of the flyout.js file in the C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\Gadgets\systemCenterContentSearch.gadget\js\ folder. This is your backup if something goes wrong ;-)

Steps to extend the SCCSG with your own Live Search Macro:

  1. Open the flyout.js file in your favorite text editor.
  2. Search for the section about OpsMgr (or some other section you think is appropriate)
    image
  3. Add the next lines behind the last search section. In bold what you should edit yourself. The best way is copying and pasting some other lines already in the file and edit those. Don’t forget to add  “,”!
    ,
    {
           "type":"web",
            "caption":"MySearch",
            "searchParam":"( macro:macro:best_of_opsmgr_searches.feed1 )"
    }
  4. Save the flyout.js file and open the SCCSG and check if your own search is added.
     image

Yes it worked! So now you have added your own Windows Live Search Macro to the SCCSG!

Be creative and let me know which great OpsMgr Macros you have created. Have fun!

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  • People, Today I started to move my weblog ( http://weblog.stranger.nl ) to a Microsoft hosted weblog