Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Customizing SharePoint 2013 Search Display Templates with KnowledgeLake Imaging

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One of the great features in SharePoint 2013 search is the ability to customize your search results with the new display templates feature. Display templates are a combination of html and generated javascript which enable the customization of what appears for items in search results. SharePoint 2010 required developers to use xslt to customize results making this task less than easy, but with the new display templates  developers are only limited by what html and javascript they write. This post is  about the ability to customize the new hover panel in search results using built in features of KnowledgeLake Imaging (SP2013).  The hover panel was introduce to give users the ability to preview office files and to take action on results such as opening, viewing or following results. The hover panel is a very powerful and useful feature. Below is an example of the standard out the box SharePoint 2013 hover panel when highlighting a PDF. Search thumbnail previews are provided by SharePoint 2013 for Microsoft Office files if you have the Office Web Apps server deployed and SharePoint is configured to use it. The Office Web Apps server also provides for displaying and editing the document within the browser if you have the appropriate license.

I am going to show how to create a customized search hover panel that can provide a thumbnail preview of almost any type of document and  also include a link action to view the document in KnowledgeLake Imaging’s viewer. You can download the item and item hover panel display templates here Display Templates. Below is an example of a preview for a PDF document.


Step One: Download a copy of a display template

Navigate to Site Settings –> Master Page Gallery –> Display Templates –> Search. Here you will find a list of associated HTML and javascript files. Please note that if the “SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure” feature is not activated for the site collection then you will not see the HTML files. Download the Item_PDF.html and Item_PDF_HoverPanel.html. Rename these to Item_KLView.html and Item_KLView_HoverPanel.html.



Step Two: Modify the item template

Open the Item_KLView_.html in Visual Studio 2012 and make the following changes.

Change the Title element to KLView Item. Add a new description. Finally change the hoverUrl variable to point the new Item_KLView_HoverPanel.js that will be generated when you upload the new html templates.


Step Three: Modify the hover panel template

Open the Item_KlView_HoverPanel.html and make the following changes.

The first modification will be adding the logic to determine the file extension of the currently viewed search result item. The hover panel will support the previewing of (pdf,tif,tiff,msg,txt,png,gif, jpg,xml,ppt,pptx,doc,docx,xls,xlsx) files. Second, add the getUniqueId function to generate a unique id. This will be appended to the URL to get the thumbnail image making sure it is an updated image every time, otherwise the browser will cache the thumbnail. Next you will add a condition to check the file extension, and then code to construct a URL pointing to KnowledgeLake Imaging’s filetransfer.ashx handler which will create the thumbnail. The handler takes a query string parameter that points to the URL of the document in SharePoint, width, height and the unique Id to keep the thumbnail fresh.

The final modification is checking the file extension and then adding a link labeled “View” that points to KnowledgeLake Imaging’s Viewer URL with a query string parameter of the URL to the document in SharePoint.

Step Four: Upload the new display templates

After saving your changes navigate back to the Search display templates folder in the Master Page Gallery and upload the new display templates. Associated javascript files are re-generated for each of the templates. Now you can start using these in your search results.

Step Five: Integrate the new hover panel in search results

Modify a Search Results web part to use the new hover panel. You can set the web part to use the new Item_KLView display template for all results by selecting “Use single template to display items” and selecting it from the dropdown list. Save the configuration and your ready to use the new hover panel. Do a search and move your cursor over one of the file types supported and you will see the thumbnail display with a “View” action. KnowledgeLake Imaging provides the ability to cache thumbnail previews so the display of the preview should be immediate. You could also use the “Use result types to display items” option. This would require you to modify the item display template of each result type to point to the Item_KLView_HoverPanel.js Url as I described in step two.


Simple and effective search enhancement

Display templates are a powerful way to enhance a user’s search experience. Adding KnowledgeLake Imaging’s ability to render multiple types of documents makes it easy to display thumbnail previews and viewing to the majority of your documents in SharePoint. There are many more ideas we have about enhancing the built in features of SharePoint 2013 with KnowledgeLake Imaging. I am hoping to blog about the details soon.


Hois Christian said...

Hi Steve.

1) Does this also work if the PDFs are not on the same server as the search??? why: refer to this lin which the limitations:

2) how is it possible to get the KnowledgeLake Imaging Viewer you note in your solution. Costs? because this components (ashx File and KL Viewer) are missing in your solution;-) AM i right?

thx for your Information

from Austria

Steve Curran said...

Hi Chris. This will work with any documents stored in the SharePoint content database. The file handler and viewer application are part of KnowledgeLake's Imaging solution.

sem said...

can you put the files of scripts please, we can not read them on the page

Anonymous said...

Can you put the code as text file instead of the image?


Steve Curran said...

I will put a link up so you can download the templates. Please remember this requires KnowledgeLake Imaging SP2013 to be installed.

Steve Curran said...

Display templates are now available in the post for download. Enjoy.

squall2828 said...


I can't seem to find the download for this and I need to do something for my SP project.

Unknown said...

Can u upload it?

Unknown said...

Hi Can you please add the link to download files? Thanks.

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