(Concern that this is BETA stuff. Features and functions can be changed or shift until the final release!)
Fact 1: In SharPoint 2013 the two Search Engines “SharePoint Search” and “FAST Search Server for SharePoint” was combined in one Search Engine.Fact 2: FAST as a standalone product is still available and supported. Details see here: http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/search/default.aspx?sort=PN&alpha=fast
Future of FAST ESP: See this statement from Rob Va from July 16: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/fastinternetesp/thread/86e5e64f-1fd0-4ee4-a025-1dea0f1693df
Mostly all the features / functions that we know from FAST Search Central Admin sites had been integrated in Enterprise Search in SharePoint 2013:
Let’s have a look at the feature and functions level:
The technique with crawled properties and managed properties was similar in SharePoint Enterprise Search and FAST Search Server for SharePoint. But with FAST we had additional configuration options:
The functions / fields: Name, Type and Mappings to Crawled Properties were the same in both SharePoint 2010 Search Engines.The features Sort Property, Query Property, Refiner Property and Full-text Index Mapping moved into the new Managed Property configuration:
There are some more options in the new SharePoint 2013 Managed Property configuration, but this will be part of “Part IV: Admin Stuff”.
Crawled Properties are the same in FAST, Enterprise Search, and SharePoint 2013 Search.
Managed Property Extraction:
This section was completely reworked. In FAST 2010 we have to work with some PowerShell calls like: Get-FASTSearchResource dictionaries\spellcheck\sk_spell_iseck_en.txt and dictionary files based on an XML structure to include new terms. In SharePoint 2013 this feature used the Managed Metadata / Termstore to handle the term / dictionaries for company individual property extraction:
You can see that the function for ignore list and spell checking also moved to the Termstore. In detail we will have a look at this in Part III.
FAST Service Application:
So in fact only one integrated Search Engine left we didn’t have to configure the different Shared Service Applications for FAST Contend and Fast Query as we have to in SharePoint 2010:
Query Language / FAST Query Language:
FAST brings his own Query Language which was just different / extended from the SharePoint Search Query Language. Some of its characteristics are now found into Search Query Language. For example the XRANK Operator:
In SharePoint Server 2010, the XRANK operator was available only with FAST Query language (FQL). The XRANK operator provides dynamic control of ranking.
SharePoint 2013 Search does not longer support SQL syntax. Search in SharePoint 2013 supports FQL syntax and KQL syntax for custom search solutions.
For more details about building Search Querys ins SharePoint 2013 Search have a look here:
FAST stuff and FAST specific components like the “extended WebCrawler” or commanding tools like indexerinfo.exe are no longer part of SharePoint, at least not part of the SharePoint 2013 Preview version.
Developing custom connectors / crawler is now standardized.
In FAST for SharePoint 2010 we had the Advanced Content Processing Pipeline architecture:
In SharePoint 2013 this is part of the common Search Architecture.
Next parts in this series:
Part III: A look in the deep what’s behind the new Search functions like “Search Dictionaries”, “Query Builder”, “Query Client Type”
Part IV: Admin Stuff
Part V: Frontend Stuff