May 18, 2016

Search Results vs. Content Search Web Parts: customizing and date formatting

The default way to display feeds from news, events etc. on an intranet front page is to use the Content Search Web Part. Used to be Content Query, but customizing the CQWP is way more complicated plus it is restricted to the same Site Collection only. This is still used, as is, by many of my customers, for it is easier for content managers to set up than the search queries. Anytime any custom templates are needed (or when I am setting up the feeds), definitely CSWP is the way to go.

Lately, though, I have had several customers with SharePoint Standard lisence only. Unfortunately this leaves out the CSWP completely. Search indexing and search driven content is still available, but building those said feeds is just a tad more complicated for you need to use the Search Results Web Part, which is not created for this kind of usage, even though it CAN be used. It requires some more work, but once you've figured out the basics, it's not that difficult. Just a bit different than the CSWP.

The display templates of CSWP consist of a control template and an item template (for more info, see my post "The Anatomy of SharePoint 2013 Display Templates"). Mostly the modifications and customizations are rather straightforward to make by following the example of things already there. The date formatting, however, is a bit tricky. What you need to do is:

1) Copy the item display template you want to modify from MasterPages gallery, Display Templates, Content Web Parts directory.

2) Create a managed property of the field you want to use, if not using Created or LastModifiedDate, in Search Schema.

3) Use the date field as value for desired line data, eg:

var line1 = $getItemValue(ctx, "Line 1");
var line2 = $getItemValue(ctx, "Line 2");
var eventdate = new Date(line2.inputValue);

4) Format the date as you wish in the HTML where the value is rendered:

 <div class="cbs-Line2 ms-noWrap" title="_#= $htmlEncode(line2.defaultValueRenderer(line2)) =#_" id="_#= line2Id =#_">_#= eventdate.format("d.MM.yyyy H:mm") =#_</div>

5) Upload your display template (remember to change the title in the HTML and rename your modified file) back to the same folder in MasterPages gallery and publish it. It's ready to be used.

As for the Search Results web part, the system is slightly more tricky. First off, there are more display templates involved: 
  • Control templates
  • Item templates
  • Item HoverPanel templates
Mostly, you need to work with Item templates and/or hoverpanel templates, if using the hover panel. In the case of displaying feeds on front page, the hover panel is seldom wanted. It can be removed. Simply delete highlighted parts from the display template you copied, eg. ItemDefault (note, that the Search Result templates are in the Search folder):

<div id="_#= $htmlEncode(itemId) =#_" name="Item" data-displaytemplate="DefaultItem" class="ms-srch-item" onmouseover="_#= ctx.currentItem_ShowHoverPanelCallback =#_" onmouseout="_#= ctx.currentItem_HideHoverPanelCallback =#_">

And then comment out the following line:

 <!--  <div id="_#= $htmlEncode(hoverId) =#_" class="ms-srch-hover-outerContainer"></div> -->

Other modifications that I have found useful and quite necessary in said use case are
  • removing the item URL - actually in default item template I just remove the whole default body render tag:
  • building your own stuff to show for each item, e.g. rollup image, a content summary, publish/create date eg. 
Adding fields to the display template is simple enough. The fields need to be managed properties in Search Schema, so remember to do this first for any custom fields. Then you add the properties to the template mso:ManagedPropertyMapping tag:

<mso:ManagedPropertyMapping msdt:dt="string">'Title':'Title','Path':'Path','Description':'Description','EditorOWSUSER':'EditorOWSUSER','LastModifiedTime':'LastModifiedTime','CollapsingStatus':'CollapsingStatus','DocId':'DocId','HitHighlightedSummary':'HitHighlightedSummary','HitHighlightedProperties':'HitHighlightedProperties','FileExtension':'FileExtension','ViewsLifeTime':'ViewsLifeTime','ParentLink':'ParentLink','FileType':'FileType','IsContainer':'IsContainer','SecondaryFileExtension':'SecondaryFileExtension','DisplayAuthor':'DisplayAuthor','Created':'Created','NewsSummary':'NewsSummary', 'PublishingImage':'PublishingImage' </mso:ManagedPropertyMapping>

Then you use this to build your own HTML for the items, eg.

<div id="_#= $htmlEncode(itemId) =#_" name="Item" data-displaytemplate="DefaultItem" class="ms-srch-item">
    <div class="newscontainer">
<div class="newstitle">
<a href="_#=ctx.CurrentItem.Path=#_">
               <span class=newsdate>
<div class="newsbody">
<div class="newsimg">
<div class="newstext">

Note the date there, though. It will give you a very long date format by default, but in a Search Results template it is way easier to format the date than CSWP. Simply add format(yourdiesiredformatting) to the value in HTML. Like this:


Then there is only one little nuisance left: the hover background color. 

This comes from this CSS rule: 

.ms-srch-item:hover, .ms-scrch-resultHover:hover, .edisc-SearchResultItemContainer:hover{
background-color: rgba(...);

Now, if you override this as is, it will effect the search results pages too. So try to identify the targets in some way, use eg. .welcome or .article classes for targeting content pages only in removing the hover color.

Whew! All done!

1 comment:

Abiya Carol said...

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