Windows 7 introduces support for search federation to remote data stores using OpenSearch technologies that enable users to access and interact with their remote data from within Windows Explorer.

The picture below shows an example of searching an existing SharePoint 2007 site from within Windows Explorer. The user selects the SharePoint site search connector in the navigation pane rather than navigating to the SharePoint site in a browser

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But you don’t have to stop with SharePoint. You can add search connectors to Technet, Ebay, and many others. You can even bounce off Bing to have it relay search results for sites that do not have an OpenSearch connector. You can read about that here.

Federated Search can be deployed to end-users by having them double-click on an ‘.osdx’ file (a text file in xml format) that Windows 7 recognizes and creates the search connector in Windows Explorer. This file can be emailed to users, stored on a file share, deployed via Configuration Manager, deployed via Group Policy, or stored on a SharePoint site as a hyperlink.If you go with the latter approach, you need to add a mime type in IIS for the .osdx extension = application/opensearchdescription+xml

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The user will then be asked if they want to add the search connector.

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Here is a sample OSDX file for our Public website:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<OpenSearchDescription xmlns="http://a9.com/-/spec/opensearch/1.1/" xmlns:ms-ose="http://schemas.microsoft.com/opensearchext/2009/">
<ShortName>www.Catapultsystems.com</ShortName>
<Description>Search the Home Sharepoint site.</Description>
<Url type="application/rss+xml" template="https://www.catapultsystems.com/search/_layouts/srchrss.aspx?k={searchTerms}&amp;start={startIndex}"/>
<Url type="text/html" template="https://www.catapultsystems.com/search/pages/results.aspx?k={searchTerms}"/>
<ms-ose:locationProperties>
<ms-ose:property name="TreatLinkAsEnclosure">-1</ms-ose:property>
</ms-ose:locationProperties>
<ms-ose:ResultsProcessing format="application/rss+xml">
<ms-ose:LinkIsFilePath>-1</ms-ose:LinkIsFilePath>
</ms-ose:ResultsProcessing>
</OpenSearchDescription>

You can add multiple search connectors in Windows Explorer.

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