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Working with Microsoft FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint

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Should you care about search? The answer is “Yes!” However, the reason you should care constantly changes. Back in 1997 when FAST was founded, most people viewed search as a mature and commoditized technology. AltaVista was the leader in web search and Verity had won the enterprise search race. Internet portals cared about search because it was critical for attracting visitors—but those same portals did not anticipate how search would later transform both online monetization and user experiences at large.

As the leader of FAST, I am very pleased that our product has become so widely used and successful that this book is now a necessity. I hope (and expect) that Microsoft FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint (FS4SP) will be further embraced and utilized at an increasing rate because of it.

In 2008 when Microsoft acquired FAST, search had already become one of the most important Internet applications and was in the process of becoming a back-end requirement for digital advertising. FS4SP is the first release from the combined Microsoft and FAST team. The goal was to make advanced search technology available for the masses. Strong search in the context of the Microsoft SharePoint collaboration suite has numerous applications, enabling effective information sharing with customers, partners, and employees.

This book takes a hands-on approach. It combines a bottom-up architectural presentation and explanation with a top-down scenario-driven analysis and examples of how you can take full advantage of FS4SP. You will find classical search pages, ways to enrich search experiences with visualization and navigation, as well as examples on how to build high-value solutions based on search-driven experiences. The example applications are taken from both productivity scenarios inside the firewall and from digital marketing scenarios such as e-commerce.

Search enables organizations to make the critical transition from huge disparate content repositories to highly contextual information that’s targeted to each individual user. Such contextual information will make your SharePoint solutions excel. End users should be able to explore and navigate information based on terms they understand and terms that are critical for the task at hand. This book explains a practical approach for reaching those goals.
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