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I have a SharePoint 2010 on-prem site with 2 external lists and I want to add web parts of those lists on a landing page with search boxes for each list that displays the results in the web part.

How do I get started with this? I know what I want to achieve and what it should look like, I'm not sure how to accomplish it. Do I build some sort of search tool first and put that on the page or do I build the web part and add the search tool to it?

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You have the following options to search In External List.

  1. Create a Content Source to get data from External Content Type.
  2. Create a custom Search Scope with Search Core Result Web Part to get data from a specific list
  3. Create a custom search form via Jquery.

(1) Create Content Source to get data from External Content Type

  • Go to Central Administration > Application Management > Manage service applications > Search Service Application > Crawling > Content Sources.

  • Click on "New Content Source".

  • select "Line of Business data" option in the Content Source Type section.

enter image description here

  • select "Business Data Connectivity Service" > "Crawl selected external data source" > Click on Ok.

  • Go to Central Administration > Application Management > Manage service applications > Search Service Application > Queries and Results > Scopes.

  • Now Next, create a new page. Add the following 3 webparts:

    • Search Box
    • Search Core Results
    • Search Paging
  • In search core result add ur scope.

For more details check Search Scopes within BCS Data


(2) Create a custom Search Scope for your List.

Instead of creating a content source for external content type, you can create directly custom scope for your list.

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Check the detail steps at Create a Search Scope for a Sharepoint 2010 List or Library


(3) Create a custom search form via Jquery

Try to create a custom search form via Jquery as the following:

enter image description here

Check the detail steps at :

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For External Content Type in CA you should create Profile Page.

http://www.c-sharpcorner.com/UploadFile/anavijai/how-to-search-the-data-from-the-associated-external-content-type-in-sharepoint-2010/

After it the property Default Action must be initialized (in my case: http://portal:80/sites/dev/_bdc/http___portal_sites_dev/bcsCities_1.aspx?ID={0})

Add new Content Source as it's described by M.Qassas and perform Full Crawl for it. If everything is ok, in search center the query for "bcsCities_1.aspx" should return a result.

Add a Search Box into a page. Define value for web-part property "Additional query terms", in my case it was: Path:"bcsCities_1.aspx".

And Dropdown mode: Don not show scopes dropdown, and default to target results page, or Show scopes dropdown. In any case the context must be "All Sites".

The results of a search query will be displayed on page OSSSearchResults.aspx (or custom). There are no ability in SP2010 show results on the same page.

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg576963(v=office.14).aspx

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