[O365] Autocomplete on taxonomy refiners

For a customer project I’m on we’re making use of search to surface pages stored in SharePoint Online. On a predefined search results page, refiners make it easier for users to get to the page they are searching for. Refiners are linked to managed search properties and those are linked to crawled properties. In this case, the field crawled is a managed metadata taxonomy field and the values of that field come from a metadata termset. The problem is that this termset is pretty big because it contains all of the countries worldwide. This is what the refiner looks like:

taxonomyrefiner

So what if a user is searching for ‘Switzerland’? Hmmm. Well he or she could click ‘Other Value’ and type in what they are looking for. The problem here is that the value needs to exactly match the term and your user might not have a clue about the values in the termset. Countries is doable, but other labels might be harder to guess.

refiner_switzer

See how I typed in ‘switzer’ and SharePoint is now refining on that value. Items tagged with ‘Switzerland’ do not appear this way, our end-user is left in doubt. So wouldn’t it be nice to have autocomplete on the textbox so the user is guided in their search? That’s exactly what we proposed to our customer and what I will detail in this blog post.

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SP2010: The hidden TaxonomyStaplerFeature

I am a big fan of keeping things clean. The more you clutter, the more chance of faults you might not have expected. Today, I learned that sometimes cleaner is not better.

I like using the blank site template to create new sites. Most people tend to use the team site, but that already has a document library, calendar and a number of preactivated features. Nice to start a team site, but what if the site you’re creating is not a team site?? As I said; I like starting clean.

But amongst the features not being activated by default on a blank site is a tricky one: the TaxonomyStaplerFeature (ID 73EF14B1-13A9-416b-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C). This is a stapling feature which in it’s turn activates multiple other hidden features. You need it for several taxonomy related things, like subscribing to content types from an enterprise content hub. And as said; the features are hidden, so you can only enable them if you have server access.

So I guess we’ll need another stapling feature, to staple the missing features to the blank site definition!? 🙂 I’m not sure yet if this is the only one which messes up pretty regular functionality. I don’t mind features I don’t use that often being off, but this one should have been on by default in my opinion. Or they could have provided another template: “blank site with no functionality whatsoever”.