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I have a couple questions around Search using Standard SharePoint.

  1. Does it allow me to search disparate systems?
  2. If I am hosting a site on a different web server (other than my SharePoint WFE) and I have a links to documents in SharePoint on pages in that site - is there a way allow that site (let's say it is a standard ASP.NET site) to search contents of the documents in SharePoint? Ideally allowing a 2-way search.
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The answer depends on what you mean by Standard SharePoint

If you mean SharePoint Foundation (WSS if old version) then it can't search any other system and doesn't expose search to other systems.

If you mean SharePoint Server Standard then:

  • It can search other SharePoint farms, Web Sites and FileShares
  • If SharePoint 2010 search other systems provided you code/configure BCS to them
  • Allow queries through the Search Web Service
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Sorry for being a little unclear. I was referring to SharePoint 2010 using SharePoint Server Standard. The link you provided for the QueryService class on MSDN indicates SharePoint Server Enterprise - do you know if the same applies for SharePoint Server Standard? I am limited to the Standard License. – obautista Mar 28 '12 at 12:11
It's not refering to SharePoint Server Enterprise, but to SharePoint Enterprise Search which is for searching Enterprise data. It is in both SharePoint Server Standard and SharePoint Server Enterprise, in fact it's also in Microsoft Search Server Express (which is "free") (Isn't it great how they can use the same words to mean completely different things) – Per Jakobsen Mar 28 '12 at 12:30
Agreed. Thank you. – obautista Mar 28 '12 at 12:57

I believe your question is about 2 way searching of SharePoint applications.

Search other applications or sites from SharePoint

Federated search can be used to search external sites for SharePoint. You can point any external site or web application for SharePoint to crawl. SharePoint crawler will crawl the website whatever it has access to, probably as an anonymous user. The crawled results would be displayed in subsequent search results.

Searching into SharePoint applications

Other search bots like google and yahoo can also crawl SharePoint site contents by default for any anonymous site. In this case, crawling in the SharePoint sites by these bots can be managed by using a Robots.txt file.

If you need to search from your custom .Net web application, you can utilize the search functionality of SharePoint inside your application. There is an excellent post from Andrew Connell to help you with that.

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Federated search is used when you need a quick, powerful way to bring together results across multiple search systems.

I think your question is about indexing content from different systems.It is can be done by setting the content sources and including the systems you want to crawl.

Regarding your second question,You can search into SharePoint from another system by using the webservice search.asmx

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