Search Configuration Part 2: Getting the CMS Sites

By Support Group

Last time we talked, I used port 8732 to shake hands with the search server and learn the name of the Search Service Application. This time I will use port 8732 again but I am staying close to home and chatting with my cousin, the Ektron Windows Service.

With the search service application name displayed, my user clicked the Next button which sent me off on a hunt for CMS sites. Detecting the sites and gathering information such as where they are, the database connection string, and the version, is a lot of work given the amount of variables involved. Fortunately for me, my cousin the Ektron Windows Service is an expert at the task (he ought to be since he does it every time he starts!). Someday, I hope to have him explain a little more about the process. Anyway, I jump on port 8732 and place a call to my cousin. We exchange some pleasantries then I get down to business and ask him for any information he has on the CMS sites. There have been times in the past when my cousin ignored my call. When that happens I give the bad news to my user with a Failed to connect to the CMS server message. This is usually not my cousin's fault; it's just that sometimes the site may have some issues with its connection string, database server, license, WSPath value and so on. The EktronL4 event log is a good place to initially check for issues of this nature.

This time the response arrives with lots of information for all the CMS sites my cousin knows about. Using the information, I populate a drop-down menu which contains each CMS site, and display details about the current selection. Now I have a chanced to let my wild side show off a bit. If the currently selected site has already been registered with the search server to which I am connected, I display a message in beautiful forest green but if the site was registered to a different server, I use the flowery goldenrod; on the other hand, if the site is not registered, I go for a nice ripe tomato color.

For the selected site, I display the database, IIS site ID, URL, version, and the complete connection string. I permit my user to modify the connection string directly in my display but I really prefer that he make connection string changes in the site's web.config to maintain consistency. The screen also includes parameters needed by the search server such as crawl interval, authentication credentials, crawl filters, and so on. I personally do not pay much attention to what my user does with these parameters but I know they are very important to the search server; for example, the credentials should be the same account/password that were used during the search server install, and crawl filters should be set according to your needs; that is, if your site does not have Community Members, uncheck it. Also unless you have Community Content that must be crawled, leave it unselected because it can add to the crawl time even when there is no content; this is because for each membership user, there are four hidden folders that get crawled when Community Content is checked.

My user has made his selections, entered the domain, username, and password, and validated them by clicking the padlock button (located next to the password). Now he is ready to register the site. I suspect another, longer, trip to the search server is in the cards for me. See you next time on the 8732 express.

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