Full-Text Search Enhancements in SQL Server Denali

Since Microsoft announced the existence of CTP1 of SQL Server Denali during Ted Kummert’s keynote address at PASS 2010 yesterday, they have made Books Online available in both Online form and as downloadable content that you can view offline.  The release notes are located here, and here is a link to the Database Engine improvements.

Since we use full-text search at NewsGator, I was curious about what improvements might be in Denali. Here is what BOL has to say about that:

Full-Text Search Enhancements

Beginning in SQL Server Code-Named “Denali”, you can configure a full-text index to support property-scoped searching on properties, such as Author and Title, which are emitted by IFilters. This form of searching is known as property searching. Whether property searching is possible on a given type of document depends on whether the corresponding filter (IFilter) extracts search properties during full-text indexing. Among IFilters that extract a number of document properties are the IFilters for Microsoft Office 2007 document file types, such as .docx, .xlsx, and .pptx. For more information, see Using Search Property Lists to Search for Properties (Full-Text Search).

Beginning in SQL Server Code-Named “Denali”, you can customize a proximity search by using the new custom NEAR option of the CONTAINS predicate or CONTAINSTABLE function. Custom NEAR enables you to optionally specify the maximum number of non-search terms that separate the first and last search terms in a match. Custom NEAR also enables you to optionally specify that words and phrases are matched only if they occur in the order in which you specify them. For more information, see Searching for Words or Phrases Close to Another Word or Phrase (Proximity Term).

The second item is a lot more interesting to us at NewsGator. This should let us improve the quality of search results much more easily. The SQL Server code-named “Denali” Resource Center has download links and more information about Denali. One quick tip is that you cannot install Denali on Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2003 R2 (which makes sense to me). Your best bet is to just use Windows Server 2008 R2, either on a test machine or in a VM to check out Denali.

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