News

The latest news from Forward Search

We are Happy to announce the release of the much anticipated version 2.8!

The release of Forward Search 2.8 was initially planned for release in Q3 2014, but extended features requested by customers and partners persuaided us to delay the release, making Forward Search 2.8 the most extensive release in many years.

With Version 2.8 many new features are available, like suport for Forward Search as a Hosted solution (Cloud), a new Visual Index Analyzer, new API's for easier usage and extending features, and many other improvements providing immense customization and extension options suited the most complex setup.

Version 2.8 is a major release with an extensive number of additions, yet we still keep compatibility with earlier versions, making upgrade easy straight forward while preserving allready utilized features from previous versions.

Forward Search seamlessly integrates with all recent versions of Sitecore and EPiServer, delivering relevant integrated out-of-the-box features. Forward Search is as always, well suited for any CMS and website solution.

Highlights

Forward Search 2.8 includes the following major features and extensions:

  • Personalization / user profile support
  • Visual Content Analysis
  • Visual Categorizing editor
  • Visual Document Booster editor
  • Multi term Thesaurus
  • Multi term Did you Mean
  • Finalizer pipeline
  • Index Merge
  • Custom fields
  • Multiple Index Server instance support
  • Forward IndexManager class library
  • Forms Authentication Pipeline incl. new API
  • Re-authentication subsystem
  • SSL certificate bypass crawler

New major features and extensions

Personalization / user profile support

Support for websites that uses personalization for page contents selection. The support makes searching in personalization enabled contents rank the found pages based – partly – on the user profile. Ready-to-use support for Sitecore Experience Platform (xDB/DMS) that capture visitor profiles, providing sorted search results based on matching content profiles for higher relevancy. This includes support for the Sitecore Rule Engine making it very easy to configure.

Visual Content Analysis

The Forward Search Administration Client has had a major new control added: The Visual Content Analysis. It presents an index as a visual contents tree, each node in the tree being one indexed document. When selecting a node, all the indexed fields of the document are displayed, including information of the field, boosting settings, inheritance options and edit options for fields with pattern matching Finalizer modules attached. This tool is a strong debugging and index-manipulation tool for developers and web-managers alike, and is already the Forward Search internal staffs favorite tool for index-investigation.

Visual Categorizing editor

Auto categorizing contents during indexing, based on URL has been a feature in Forward Search for years. Now, finally, it has become easy to edit it. Through the new Visual Content Analysis, you can easily set up the pattern matching criteria for this auto categorization, using a powerful GUI interface.

Visual Document Booster editor

Document boosting in Forward Search used to be a question of setting boost information in the webpage header section, using a special meta-tag. Now, you don’t have to change the contents website pages at all! Based on the URL – or any other field (the Category or document template, for instance), the document boost information can be edited directly from the new Visual Contnet Analysis, using a powerful GUI interface.

Multi term Thesaurus

Now it is possible to add multi-word text strings to the custom thesaurus, so that it is possible to expand searches also for such strings. So for instance “Ear, Nose and Throat” can be expanded to also search for “Otolaryngology” – the correct medical term for that subject.

Multi term Did you Mean

The Did you Mean functionality in Forward Search has been expanded to also do Did you Mean searches based on multiple search terms. Forward Search will vary each term and combination of terms to find the closest matching set of terms that will actually return hits.

Finalizer pipeline

Forward Search now includes a module based, configurable Finalizer that is customizable per source. A set of build-in modules are available for this configuration, covering all the features previously delivered by the global Finalizer, and more. We also include a new Finalizer Module API to add your own custom Finalizer functionality, replacing the extendable global Finalizer class in previous versions. So now you can configure dedicated Finalizer flows for each source, and adding Finalizer capability to an index is now much easier and more flexible than ever before. To make it even easier, a “CodeSnippet Wizard” assist entering the specification code needed for setting up common functionality in the Finalizer, no actual coding needed. Full backward compatibility is retained, for those already running with a custom build global Finalizer.

Index Merge

Forward Search has had the capability to merge indexes for a long time. But now setting up such index merges has been made easy by adding a new source type to the Administration Client and Index Server configuration: The “Index merge”. Simply create a new index and source, and select by clicking, which indexes to include. Then click “index” and have them all merged into the new, “combined” index. Of course you can schedule – and even trigger through event updates - the “index merge” to run at appropriate times.

Custom fields with new options

New options for custom fields include overriding definition and values of already defined fields, using values of already defined fields to populate new fields and extra methods to extract value from web content, supporting Open Graph and HTML5 standards.

Multiple Index Server instance support

Now it is possible to install and run the Forward Search Index Service in parallel on the same server, each instance servicing different indexes.

Forward IndexManager class library

It contains classes to manipulate and manage the index- and source setup of a Forward Search installation, in order to ease the creation of custom systems to – possibly automatically - manage indexes, sources, fieldmaps, schedules and more.

Forms Authentication Pipeline incl. new API

The Forms Authentication system in Forward Search, allowing for crawling of secured pages, has been rewritten to allow much more adaption to special types of authentication schemes on a much broader range of website platforms. Now the Forms Authentication mechanism is a fully configurable, extendable pipelined flow with branching, testing and logging for better control and debugging of this inherently complex topic. A new Forms Authentication API allows for the creation of dedicated login procedures, easily integrated with the Forms Authentication pipeline.

Re-authentication subsystem

A new subsystem under the Forms Authentication now addresses problems with spontaneous log-outs performed by the webserver against the Forward Search crawler, for instance due to a simple timer-function. Whenever the log-out occurs, the Forward Search crawler threads attempts a new login. This is performed as many times as specified in the configuration, typically just a few times during a website crawl.

SSL certificate bypass crawler

Forward Search now per default bypasses warnings of unauthorized SSL certificates and simply goes on indexing the website.

For download or full information regarding version 2.8, please consult the release notes and documentation available on our partner portal or contact us. 

Upgrading from a previous version til version 2.8 will require a new license file. Existing customers on a maintenance plan and partners will be able to get this free by contacting our sales staff.


We will present Search driven personalization with Sitecore Profiles and Forward Search at SUGCON Europe 2015

The event is hold the 12th June 2015 in Eindhvoen, The Netherlands, which Forward Search sponsor.

Torleik Ravn will present Search driven personalization with Sitecore Profiles based on our new Forward Search 2.8 release.

Forward Search for Sitecore features a profile-weighted search algorithm. See how to create adaptive websites using this “Profile Search” and a new rule for the Sitecore Rules Set Editor, turning tedious personalization configuration into a simple “fire and forget” task.

The session will also demonstrate the new Visual Index Analyzer, the Sitecore-embedded Forward Search administration client and a few other of the many powerful search-management tools included in Forward Search for Sitecore.

For more information visit the SUGCON website.


Forward Search increases international presence with new North American Office.

Forward Search is now established in New York with a local team as a response to the increasing demand for our Forward Search software solutions from the US and Canadian markets.

The majority of Forward Search customers use Forward Search in projects based on Sitecore CMS or similar solutions, it is natural for us to focus on the US being Sitecore largest market. With already a few, but high-profile customers in USA, like Boston Children’s Hospital among others, we are sure that we have the basic for further growth.

Walter Caon will heading up the office and the team on the ground to provide all Forward Search services to North American customers.

Preview of upcoming Forward Search Feature - Sitecore DMS profile search

We are attending an event hosted by DIS/PLAY focused on practical understanding of personalized customer communications across media channels. The event that takes place in Copenhagen on the 3th of December, where DIS/PLAY will demo practical use of Sitecore CEP - Customer Engagement Platform on the topics of increasing customer loyalty and introduce a personalized customer dialogue.

Internal site search on web sites is still increasing rapidly as a means of navigation. But how it plays along with the personalized experiences? Can you get the search engine to support the rest of the user session? We will demonstrate how Forward Search Sitecore DMS profile search works.

Read more about the event (Danish)

We welcome Vertic as new Partner

Vertic is dedicated to developing digital solutions that help there Fortune 500 clients build their brands, provide superior customer experiences and generate tangible business results. Vertic’s approach is interdisciplinary, combining strategy, storytelling, creativity and interactive design. Vertic is independently owned with offices in New York, Seattle, Copenhagen, and Singapore.

Vertic believe that people must be engaged when interacting with a brand. That’s Vertic’s our solutions allow the user to develop an affinity and an emotional bond with the brand. This means Vertic’s work changes consumer behavior and in doing so, generates demand for Vertic’s clients' brands, products and solutions.

Read more about Vertic

Announcing Forward Search 2.7.2

With the release of Forward Search 2.7.2.11 we have included several new advanced features that have been requested and anticipated. Among the new features, we would like to highlight these:

  • Two-gram analysis/tokenizing. Supplementing the already available analysis & tokenizing schemes, you can now choose a two-gram tokenizer well suited for use with Asian languages, strengthening Forward Search capabilities for search in contents written in for instance Chinese, Japanese, Korean etc.
  • Custom field options expanded yet again: Now you can reuse and modify already captured contents, by selection “IndexField” as source and specifying one of the other fields as input value – you can even select fixed default fields like TEXT, TITL, LANG, AUTH and so on.
  • New API’s: Now you can utilize the new API’s included in Forward Search, and used by the Forward Search solution itself: Automate index management with the Index Manager API, and make it easier to create, execute and parse results from search queries, using the Index Search Manager API.
  • Several new advanced options for source setup, including the ability to limit the crawler jumps away from start page, even within a domain, and an option to limit indexing of pages to only those with a “Canonical” link relation attached. Read our release notes for more exciting improvements!

Apart from these, a few minor bugs have also been cleared, and a better messaging option is provided in the Administration Client. Finally, we now officially support Sitecore 7 and EPiServer 7.

We welcome our new and forth Belgium partner - Sidewalk.

Sidewalk specializes in implementing, integrating and optimizing Sitecore as a platform for web content management and digital marketing.

They position themselves as Sitecore Competence Center. 

Sidewalk is part of the Cronos Group, the largest IT service provider in Belgium and therefore have an exceptional wide range of expertise and experience.

Read more about Sidewalk

We welcome Eduserv as new partner

Since becoming Sitecore’s first UK development partner in 2003, Eduserv have a proven track record in developing websites for a range of high profile organisations including the NHS, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Department for Education and the Rugby Football Union.

Eduserv have the largest Sitecore Certified development team in the UK their experience and knowledge of developing websites using Sitecore is unrivalled. They use this expertise to build content and feature rich websites which meet their clients’ needs, often helping them to overcome complex business and website challenges.

As a registered charity and not-for-profit, they believe in providing exceptional value for clients. Eduserv fulfils their charitable mission by developing and delivering technology services for education and the public sector, although they do also provide web solutions to clients in the private sector. They re-invest any surplus made from their activities into research that will benefit their clients and the public over many years to come.

Visit Eduserv