Searching Business Data

The Business Data Catalog, a new feature introduced in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, provides an easy way to integrate business data from back-end applications, such as SAP or Siebel, with your corporate portal site without writing any code. After you have created an application in the Business Data Catalog, the data from the back-end application can be accessed by other Office SharePoint Server 2007 features, such the Enterprise Search in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.

With the help of the Business Data Catalog protocol handler, Enterprise Search can gather, index, and offer full-text search on all business data (entity instances) from applications registered in the Business Data Catalog. However, creating the application in the Business Data Catalog does not make the data available automatically; you must also configure Enterprise Search. This topic describes how you must configure Enterprise Search for searching business data.

Configuring Business Data Search

To configure business data search, you will perform these basic steps:

  1. Add a content source for the Business Data Catalog application.

  2. Map the crawled properties for the Business Data Catalog application to managed properties.

  3. Create a search scope for content from the Business Data Catalog application.

These steps are explained in the sections that follow.

Business Data Content Source

Enterprise Search uses content sources to determine what content to crawl and include in the content index. Content from the Business Data Catalog application is not included in the content index until you create a content source for the application. Enterprise Search includes a business data content source type to use when you create the content source. Step 1: Add a Content Source describes how to do this. For more information on Enterprise Search content sources, see Content Sources Overview.

Mapping Crawled Properties

The search index component automatically discovers properties in content that is being crawled. These properties are called crawled properties, and are not available to the Enterprise Search user experience. Properties that are available in the search user experience are called managed properties. To make a crawled property available for the Enterprise Search experience, you must map it to a managed property. Step 2: Map Crawled Properties from the Walkthrough: Configuring Search for the AdventureWorks Business Data Application Sample describes this process. For more information about Enterprise Search properties, see Managing Metadata.


Any changes you make to the property mappings do not take affect until the content source for those crawled properties is fully crawled again.

By default, for performance reasons, the search index component includes values for text properties in the content index only. If you want to include values from non-text fields in search queries executed against the business data content, you can override the default behavior by changing the Mapped to content setting for the crawled property associated with the non-text field from the Business Data Catalog application. For more information, see Step 2: Map Crawled Properties.

Business Data Search Scope

By default, the All Sites scope excludes business data content, so unlike other types of content, business data content results are not mixed in with other results automatically when you add a content source. This means that you must create a search scope for business data content. Step 3: Create a Search Scope explains this process.


You can modify the default scopes to include business data content, or create new scopes that include both business data content and other types of content.

For more information about scopes in Enterprise Search, see Working with Search Scopes.

Searching Business Data Content

After you enable search for an application in the Business Data Catalog, and configure the required search settings so that content from the business data application will be included in search results, you customize Enterprise Search so that users can perform searches on the business data.

You can perform this customization in several ways, such as the following:

  • Customize the Search Center using the existing Search Web Parts.

  • Create a custom Search Web Part that uses the Query object model.

  • Create a custom ASPX page that uses the Query object model.

  • Create a custom application that calls the Query Web service.

For more information about these options, see the following topics in the SDK: