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Repair federated locations (Office SharePoint Server)

SharePoint 2007

Updated: July 31, 2008

Applies To: Office SharePoint Server 2007

Updated: 2008-07-31

NoteNote:

Unless otherwise noted, the information in this article applies to Office SharePoint Server 2007 with the Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Servers.

In Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, federation enables end users to issue a query that searches multiple sources and combines the results into a single search results page. These sources can be enterprise content repositories, other search engines, or portions of your Office SharePoint Server 2007 index. The source is defined by a federated location.

Configuration issues might occasionally cause federated search results to appear incorrectly or not at all. This article describes some of the common scenarios in which federated locations can stop working correctly and it provides troubleshooting information to help you resolve such issues.

NoteNote:

If you are unfamiliar with federated locations, please read Federating search results from other locations (Office SharePoint Server).

Correcting configuration errors

Office SharePoint Server 2007 provides limited contextual error checking when you create or import a federated location by attempting to verify the information that you enter on the Add Federated Location or Edit Federated Location pages. For example, omitting required information or entering invalid data in the fields on the Add Federated Location page will cause an error message to be displayed, in which case the location cannot be saved until the problem is corrected.

NoteNote:

Error checking on Office SharePoint Server 2007 federation configuration pages does not provide validation of feed URLs, security credentials, or custom XSL code. You should manually verify such information before entering it on the configuration pages for federated locations.

Testing search results

After you have created a federated location, ensure that it is correctly configured by connecting it to the Federated Search Results and the Top Federated Results Web Parts and then submitting a test query.

At first glance, a federated location that returns search results might appear be working correctly. However, if the location was newly created, imported or recently modified, you should carefully review the search results before you make them available to your users.

Resolving incorrect search results

If the search results appear incorrect or incomplete, try one or more of the following troubleshooting steps:

Problem Verification Test More Information

Federated results are different from source results.

Verify that you have specified a valid Query Template.

On the Edit Federated Location page, in the Location Information section, verify the syntax of the Query Template that you have specified.

If the template is invalid, it will not correctly pass queries to its associated location.

Note   Query templates are case-sensitive.

"More Links" does not work or does not go to its expected destination.

Verify that you have specified a valid "More Results" Link Template.

On the Edit Federated Location page, in the Location Information section, verify the syntax of the "More Results" Link Template that you have specified.

If the template is invalid, full search results will not be correctly displayed when a user clicks the More Results link.

Search results appear poorly formatted, do not incorporate the expected source metadata (text or images), or the location does not render properly in a Windows SharePoint Services-compatible editor.

Verify the validity of any custom XSL code, formatting properties, or sample data that you have entered for either the Federated Results Web Part or the Top Federated Results Web Part.

If you have not done so already, you may want to customize the XSL and Properties defaults to return more appropriate data for the location.

On the Edit Federated Location page, in the Display Information section, verify the validity of any custom code you have entered in the XSL, Properties, or Sample Data fields. Office SharePoint Server 2007 does not automatically validate code in these fields, and it is the responsibility of the administrator to ensure that valid code is entered.

If you suspect an error in the XSL or Properties code, copy any customized code you have entered, select the Use Default Formatting check box to reset the default code, and then carefully re-add any custom code to resume testing.

As with all custom coding, start with a simple modification, save it, and test the location. Then, gradually add more complex code to the fields in this section and test the results again.

Results appear altered or do not appear properly in different browsers or at screen resolutions.

Verify the results in another Web browser and at different screen resolutions.

End users might have different computer and monitor configurations than you do. To thoroughly verify the expected display of federated search results, test the location in different Web browsers and at higher and lower screen resolutions.

If there are problems with the rending, you can likely resolve this through modifications to the location's XSL.

Other issues.

Check the ULS server logs for error messages that were logged at the time the federated location query was executed.

Unified Logging Service (ULS) log files in Windows SharePoint Services provide a running audit trail that warns of any error conditions that are detected. In most cases, checking the ULS logs can uncover important troubleshooting clues.

Resolving missing search results

If the location does not appear to return any search results, try one or more of the following troubleshooting steps:

Problem Verification Test More Information

No results are displayed, or a Location not found error message appears.

Verify that the source or host feed is working correctly.

A temporary problem at the host source might occasionally prevent a federated location from fetching and displaying search results from that source.

Try manually browsing or connecting to the host source to ensure that it is working correctly outside of the federation system.

Ensure also that the Query Template is specified correctly.

No results are displayed, or a Location not found error message appears.

Verify that Office SharePoint Server 2007 is properly configured to use a proxy server for search.

Search services administrators can specify proxy server settings for crawling content and querying federated sources on computers in other networks, such as the Internet. In many cases it is necessary to use a proxy server to bypass intranet security restrictions.

If the ULS logs for your server contain HTTP errors (such as 404 Not Found errors), and your corporate network uses a proxy server to connect to the Internet, ensure that federation proxy settings are properly configured.

For more information, see Configure proxy settings for federated sources (Office SharePoint Server).

No results are displayed or an Invalid Authentication error message appears.

Verify that locations requiring authentication are properly passing the necessary credentials.

If one or more of your federated locations requires user authentication, verify that you have specified the necessary credentials in the Specify Credentials section on the Edit Federated Location page.

If, on the Edit Federated Location page, the Location Type is set to Search Index on this Server, Office SharePoint Server 2007 uses default authentication. However, if the Location Type is set to OpenSearch 1.0/1.1, the Specify Credentials section will offer advanced options, including several user-based authentication protocols. If you are using a user-based authentication protocol, ensure that you either have Kerberos enabled or you are collecting user credentials through your own Web Part.

No results are displayed or a visualization error appears.

Verify the validity of any custom XSL code, formatting properties, or sample data that you have entered for either the Federated Results Web Part or the Top Federated Results Web Part.

On the Edit Federated Location page, in the Display Information section, verify the validity of any custom code you have entered in the XSL, Properties, or Sample Data fields. Office SharePoint Server 2007 does not automatically validate code in these fields, and it is the responsibility of the administrator to ensure that valid code is entered.

If you suspect an error in the XSL or Properties code, copy any customized code you have entered, select the Use Default Formatting check box to reset the default code, and then carefully re-add any custom code to resume testing.

As with all custom coding, start with a simple modification, save it, and test the results. Then, gradually add more complex code to the fields in this section and test the results again.

No results are displayed.

Verify that the trigger type you have selected matches the query for your location.

A federated location is searched only when a user's query matches the trigger for that location.

On the Edit Federated Location page, in the General Information section, verify that the appropriate Trigger type is selected. If the current selection is set to Prefix or Pattern, try changing it to Always and test whether any search results appear.

Other issues.

Check the ULS server logs for error messages that were logged at the time the federated location query was executed.

Unified Logging Service (ULS) log files in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 provide a running audit trail that warns of any error conditions that are detected. In most cases, checking the ULS logs can uncover important troubleshooting clues.

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