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A typical portal application usually requires some form of search capability. Portal designers usually look into search engine products like Lotus Extended Search or open source implementations like Lucene in order to satisfy the search requirements. Although these search engines provide sophisticated search capabilities, the Native Search feature of the WebSphere Portal Server 5.x (hereafter called WebSphere Portal) has a fairly rich set of search engine capabilities that could satisfy the search requirements for many portal based applications.
In this two-part series I will introduce you to the basic capabilities of WebSphere Portal's native search. While Part will take a very simple search scenario and walk you through its implementation and configuration, Part 2 will introduce more advanced search capabilities.
To understand the scenario in this first article, you need to have only a very basic understanding of WebSphere Portal's configuration options--primarily the fundamental administration options. That said, this article is targeted not only towards the portal administrator, but also to those who want a better understanding of WebSphere Portal's native searching capabilities.
I used IBM WebSphere Portal Enable for Multiplatforms v5.0.2 for Windows environment for this example. If you want to run through this example, your machine should have WebSphere Portal installed on a machine with at least 1GB RAM. You also need basic Internet connectivity because the example involves accessing an external IBM Web site (www.ibm.com).
The Portal Search Engine
WebSphere Portal v5.0.2 provides a search engine that can crawl Web sites (external and internal), index aggregated content, and categorize documents. The categorization can be implemented by either a predefined set of categories or using a user-based custom categorization process. The categorization facility of WebSphere Portal Native Search includes an extensive list of predefined categories that are grouped into high-level business industry areas (e.g., finance, transportation, etc.). You can use these predefined categories for your portal applications and the Categorization Engine will automatically categorize content for you. Alternatively, the user-defined categories provide the flexibility of creating custom category trees that may be used to categorize the incoming search results.
The Portal Search engine …