Metro Style SharePoint Search Results

As a proof of concept I created recently I wanted to see what can be quickly done to alter the out of the box search results layout. For the project I was working on, the context of where a keyword appears in a result was important so I wanted to increase the amount of preview text that the search core results web part returned by default. However, I didn’t want the user to be overwhelmed by too much text on screen so I decided to experiment with delivering the search results in a metro style live tile. My inspiration came from the Microsoft MSDN tiles I see virtually everyday when I visit their site: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/gg190735.aspx.

Here’s what I came up with:

image

Each result consists of two panels, the result panel simply contains an expanded preview of the document content with the out of the box hit highlighting. Over the top of the result panel is a semi transparent title panel that floats up when the results panel is hovered over. The title panel contains the standard search result details. In my environment I’ve set this up so that a single result only takes up as much height as an out of the box result does but clearly more pimagereview text is visible.

To implement this yourself, you’ll need to do four things:

1. Edit the search results page and expand the ‘Characters In URL’ parameter from 180 to 600. This will ensure that more preview text is returned as part of the search results response and that the results panel gets filled (in most cases). However, please note that this means the amount of data being transferred across the system for each search will increase and this might not be an appropriate thing to do in every environment.

2. Next, disable the ‘Use Location Visualization’ option. This will then allow you to override the XSL used by the search core results web part.

3. Override the default XSL used to render the results with the XSL used in my sample above. This can be downloaded from https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=941d17eca8c6632d&resid=941D17ECA8C6632D!397&parid=941D17ECA8C6632D!396&authkey=!ADsqmTHJv3MFfmk. The XSL I use overrides some of the default styles used by SharePoint but also relies on jQuery being available within the SharePoint site (see point #4).

4. Enable jQuery in the site collection. You can do this without having to write any managed code or change any of the master pages etc. by using ScriptLinks. I’ve posted a walkthrough of how to do this over here: https://sharepintblog.com/2011/11/30/use-jquery-in-sharepoint-without-updating-your-masterpage/

With the web part properties set and the XSL overridden, save the results page and you’ll see your search results displayed in metro style – live tiles (assuming you’ve already enabled jQuery).

If you want to adjust the look and feel of the tiles or their behaviour – float height, speed etc. simply update the XSL and reapply this to the search core results web part.

Enjoy.

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