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To get started using faceted search, enter a search term in the Search application’s search bar. You’ll see a page with results on the right and a collection of facets, with the number of search results for each facet (in parentheses) on the left.

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Figure 1: Sites and Asset Entries are two of the facet sets you’ll encounter. They let you drill down to results that contain the search terms you entered.

Facets allow users to filter search results by some common characteristic. Think of facets as buckets that hold search results that share something in common. You might want to see the results from all the buckets (the master results list you’re first presented), but after scanning the results, you might decide the results from just one of the buckets better represent what you’re looking for (for example, all the results from a particular site, or all the results that are Blogs Entries). So what facets are included in Liferay Portal by default?

  • Site
  • Asset type
  • Asset tag
  • Asset category
  • Folder
  • User
  • Modified date

In this article, explore how facets are used by end users, and learn how administrators can configure facets for their use case.

Using Facets

After a search is executed, clicking on a specific site from the Site facet filters the search results to only display assets within the specified site. Clicking on a specific user filters the search results to only display assets added by the specified user. The frequency with which the term was found for each facet is listed in parentheses after the facet. Sometimes, viewing assets with certain tags or categories is helpful.

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Figure 2: Asset tag facets let you see how many assets contain the terms for which you searched and contain certain tags. Click on a specific tag to see only content to which the tag has been applied.

Clicking on a facet narrows down the search results. It’s added to the filter list and the results list is refined by the selected facets. If you need to narrow the results further, click another facet (do this as much as you want to drill down into the search results). To remove any of the facets from the filtering of results, click the Any… link for the facet type. The following two figures illustrate how this works.

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Figure 4: After clicking the Web Content Article type in the Asset Types facet, it’s the only asset type listed.

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Figure 5: Click the Any Asset link to clear the filtering for a facet. Now all the available asset types are visible.

The default facet behavior is quite useful, but you can configure the facets to your liking.

Facet Settings

To configure the Search application’s facets, click the options menu (icon-options.png) and select Configuration. The tab displayed by default is Display Settings, and after the Scope setting, the Facets are listed with a Configure link you can click to expand the list of configurations for a given facet.

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Figure 6: Click a facet’s Configure link to expand its list of settings.

Facets are configurable to a considerable degree. The following configuration options are available:

Display Facet: Specifies whether the facet appears in search results.

Weight
A floating point (or double) value used to determine the order facets appear in the search application. Facets with the largest values are positioned at the top.
Frequency Threshold
The minimum frequency required for terms to appear in the result list. For example, if the frequency threshold of a facet is set to 3, a term appearing twice won’t appear in the term result list.
Max Terms
The maximum number of terms included in the search result regardless of how many matching terms are found for the facet.
Show Asset Count
Display the number of terms returned for the facet in the search results.
Current/Available Assets (Asset Type facet only)
Add or remove asset types to be included in the Asset Type facet.
Display Style (Tag facet only)
Display tags as a Cloud or List (default).
Label (Modified Date facet only)
The language key used for localizing the title of the facet when it’s rendered.
Range (Modified Date facet only)
Define an interval within all the matching terms frequencies’ are summed.

Asset Tags and Categories

If tags or categories have been applied to any asset that appears in the result set, it may be displayed in the Asset Tag or Asset Category facet, respectively. Similarly to asset types, not all tags necessarily appear. There may be many more than the 10 tags listed, but the default configuration for this facet is to show the top 10 most frequent terms. As with asset types, this can be modified by setting the Max Terms property, described above.

There’s no use in having great content if your site’s users can’t find it. The search functionality included in Liferay Portal is robust, configurable, and easy to use. It accounts for cases that include an overwhelming number of results, very few results, and anything in between.

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