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Welcome to The blog of whall

Come on in and stay a while… laugh a little. Maybe even think. Read more...

Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

I love our little set up.  We pay a consultant to come here and fix SharePoint stuff for us, and since we paid for his time, we own the resulting work.  And then *I* get to blog about it.  I figure it’s a fair trade – he does the work, I get the credit.  Isn’t that the way life is supposed to work?

By the way, if you need SharePoint help, consider engaging Catapult Systems – top notch help, let me tell you.  In particular, Matt McDermott has been a fantastic resource many times for our company.  I think his full name is Matthew, but he goes by Matt.  I keep forgetting to ask him where he keeps the excess “hew”. 

Catapult Systems Logo
Use them.  Really.

So maybe we’ll change our relationship to this: HE does the work but *I* explain it to the masses.   That’s what this entry is – a technical explanation of something we solved in SharePoint – namely, how to do something really cool with search.

First, a quick introduction.  SharePoint is a Microsoft product that gives companies a great intranet tool, collaboration platform, document search, a portal, and a ton of other great things.  I depend on it daily, as do many groups at our company.

One of the recent projects we engaged Matt for was to help us with the technical side of rebranding our intranet.  There are many things you can do out-of-the-box, but some of the ones we wanted to do weren’t so easy.  And one of the things that kept eluding me was how to get a better “Search” web part on our main home page.  We didn’t want the generic search that it includes at the top of the typical SharePoint area:

sharepoint generic search

And we didn’t want the overkill “Advanced search web part” that is on the main built-in search page:

Sharepoint Advanced Search Web Part
(click to enlarge) 

But instead, we wanted something between the two and that could fit nicely on the right side in its own Web Part Zone, plus give employees two main functions: an easy and smart Employee Lookup and a quick search of documents both in SharePoint and on the file shares throughout the company: 

Intranet Mockup with semi-advanced search web part 
(click to enlarge)

So Matt helped us out.  I’ll put the rest of the technical details in the extended entry below for those of you who want to know the solution.  And get a few laughs.  And it might cure acne, but I haven’t told the FDA about that yet.

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