Caching, You Ain’t No Friend Of Mine

I love caching and all that it can do to boost performance, but caching for SharePoint in the cloud isn’t the same as it is on-premises. In this post, I explore why that is for Object Caching – and what you can do about it.

I've got a caching-induced headacheI’m a big fan of leveraging caching to improve performance. If you look over my blog, you’ll find quite a few articles that cover things like implementing BLOB caching within SharePoint, working with the Object Cache, extending your own code with caching options, and more. And most of those posts were written in a time when the on-premises SharePoint farm was king.

The “caching picture” began shifting when we started moving to the cloud. SharePoint Online and hosted SharePoint services aren’t the same as SharePoint on-premises, and the things we rely upon for performance improvements on-premises don’t necessarily have our backs when we move out to the cloud.

Yeah, I’m talking about caching here. And as much as it breaks my heart to say it, caching – you ain’t no friend of mine out in SharePoint Online.

Why the heartbreak?

To understand why a couple of SharePoint’s traditional caching mechanisms aren’t doing you any favors in a multi-tenant service like SharePoint Online (with or without Office 365), it helps to first understand how memory-based caching features – like SharePoint’s Object Cache – work in an on-premises environment.

On-Premises

The typical on-premises environment has a small number of web front-ends (WFEs) serving content to users, and the number of site collections being served-up is relatively limited. For purposes of illustration, consider the following series of user requests to an environment possessing two WFEs behind a load balancer:

On-Premises Request Results

Assuming the WFEs have just been rebooted (or the application pools backing the web applications for target site collection have just been recycled) – a worst-case scenario – the user in Request #1 is going to hit a server (either #1 or #2) that does not have cached content in its Object Cache. For this example, we’ll say that the user is directed to WFE #1. Responses from WFE #1 will be slower as SharePoint works to generate the content for the user and populate its Object Cache. The WFE will then return the user’s response, but as a result of the request, its Object Cache will contain site collection-specific content such as navigational sitemaps, Content Query Web Part (CQWP) query results, common site property values, any publishing page layouts referenced by the request, and more.

The next time the farm receives a request for the same site collection (Request #2), there’s a 50/50 shot that the user will be directed to a WFE that has cached content (WFE #1, shown in green) or doesn’t yet have any cached content (WFE #2). If the user is directed to WFE #1, bingo – a better experience should result. Let’s say the user gets unlucky, though, and hits WFE #2. The same process as described earlier (for WFE #1) ensues, resulting in a slower response to the user but a populated Object Cache on WFE #2.

By the time we get to Request #3, both WFEs have at least some cached content for the site collection being visited and should thus return responses more quickly. Assuming memory pressure remains low, these WFEs will continue to serve cached content for subsequent requests – until content expires out of the cache (forcing a re-fetch and fill) or gets forced out for some reason (again, memory pressure or perhaps an application pool recycle).

Another thing worth noting with on-premises WFEs is that many SharePoint administrators use warm-up scripts and services in their environments to make the initial requests that are described (in this example) by Request #1 and Request #2. So, it’s possible in these environments that end-users never have to start with a completely “cold” WFE and make the requests that come back more slowly (but ultimately populate the Object Caches on each server).

SharePoint Online

Let’s look at the same initial series of interactions again. Instead of considering the typical on-premises environment, though, let’s look at SharePoint Online.

Cloud

The first thing you may have noticed in the diagrams above is that we’re no longer dealing with just two WFEs. In a SharePoint Online tenant, the actual number of WFEs is a variable number that depends on factors such as load. In this example, I set the number of WFEs to 50; in reality, it could be lower or (in all likelihood) higher.

Request #1 proceeds pretty much the same way as it did in the on-premises example. None of the WFEs have any cached content for the target site collection, so the WFE needs to do extra work to fetch everything needed for a response, return that information, and then place the results in its Object Cache.

In Request #2, one server has cached content – the one that’s highlighted in green. The remaining 49 servers don’t have cached content. So, in all likelihood (49 out of 50, or 98%), the next request for the same site collection is going to go to a different WFE.

By the time we get to Request #3, we see that another WFE has gone through the fetch-and-fill operation (again, highlighted in green). But, there’s something else worth noting that we didn’t see in the on-premises environment; specifically, the previous server which had been visited (in Request #1) is now red, not green. What does this mean? Well, in a multi-tenant environment like SharePoint Online, WFEs are serving-up hundreds and perhaps thousands of different site collections for each of the residents in the SharePoint environment. Object Caches do not have infinite memory, and so memory pressure is likely to be a much greater factor than it is on-premises – meaning that Object Caches are probably going to be ejecting content pretty frequently.

If the Object Cache on a WFE is forced to eject content relevant to the site collection a user is trying to access, then that WFE is going to have to do a re-fetch and re-fill just as if it had never cached content for the target site collection. The net effect, as you might expect, is longer response times and potentially sub-par performance.

The Take-Away

If there’s one point I’m trying to make in all of this, it’s this: you can’t assume that the way a SharePoint farm operates on-premises is going to translate to the way a SharePoint Online farm (or any other multi-tenant farm) is going to operate “out in the cloud.”

Is there anything you can do? Sure – there’s plenty. As I’ve tried to illustrate thus far, the first thing you can do is challenge any assumptions you might have about performance that are based on how on-premises environments operate. The example I’ve chosen here is the Object Cache and how it factors into the performance equation – again, in the typical on-premises environment. If you assume that the Object Cache might instead be working against you in a multi-tenant environment, then there are two particular areas where you should immediately turn your focus.

Navigation

By default, SharePoint site collections use structural navigation mechanisms. Structural navigation works like this: when SharePoint needs to render a navigational menu or link structure of some sort, it walks through the site collection noting the various sites and sub-sites that the site collection contains. That information gets built into a sitemap, and that sitemap is cached in the Object Cache for faster retrieval on subsequent requests that require it.

Without the Object Cache helping out, structural navigation becomes an increasingly less desirable choice as site hierarchies get larger and larger. Better options include alternatives like managed navigation or search-driven navigation; each option has its pros and cons, so be sure to read-up a bit before selecting an option.

Content Query Web Parts

When data needs to be rolled-up in SharePoint, particularly across lists or sites, savvy end-users turn to the CQWP. Since cross-list and cross-site queries are expensive operations, SharePoint will cache the results of such a query using – you guessed it – the Object Cache. Query results are then re-used from the Object Cache for a period of time to improve performance for subsequent requests. Eventually, the results expire and the query needs to be run again.

So, what are users to do when they can’t rely on the Object Cache? A common theme in SharePoint Online and other multi-tenant environments is to leverage Search whenever possible. This was called out in the previous section on Navigation, and it applies in this instance, as well.

An alternative to the CQWP is the Content Search Web Part (CSWP). The CSWP operates somewhat differently than the CQWP, so it’s not a one-to-one direct replacement … but it is very powerful and suitable in most cases. Since the CSWP pulls its query results directly from SharePoint’s search index, it’s exceptionally fast – making it just what the doctor ordered in a multi-tenant environment.

Quick note (2/1/2016): Thanks to Cory Williams for reminding me that the CSWP is currently only available to SharePoint Online Plan 2 and other “Plan 3” (e.g., E3, G3) users. Many enterprise customers fall into this bucket, but if you’re not one of them, then you won’t find the CSWP for use in your tenant :-(

There are plenty of good resources online for the CSWP, and I regularly speak on it myself; feel free to peruse resources I have compiled on the topic (and on other topics).

Wrapping-Up

In this article, I’ve tried to explain how on-premises and multi-tenant operations are different for just one area in particular; i.e., the Object Cache. In the future, I plan to cover some performance watch-outs and work-arounds for other areas … so stay tuned!

Additional Reading and References

  1. MSDN: Navigation options for SharePoint Online
  2. MSDN: Using Content Search Web Part instead of Content Query Web Part to improve performance in SharePoint Online
  3. SharePoint Interface: Presentations and Materials

A New Look and Feel

Yeah, it was time.

I host this site on WordPress.com, and I’ve been doing so for quite a few years now. The theme I’d had previously was fine four or five years ago, but the web has since moved on.

I recently started up a new gadget blog (The Gadget Café – go check it out if you’re a gadget wonk like I am) using the Ghost platform, and I was really impressed by everything that it offered. I had backed Ghost when they were Kickstarting it (thanks to Marc Anderson for making me aware of it a while back), and the process of starting up that new blog got me thinking about my SharePoint blog and the look-and-feel that it had.

I knew that I hadn’t done any “housecleaning” in years. The site wasn’t responsive. It didn’t look good on mobile devices. It was just kind of  … well … there.

So, I’ve attempted to remedy that.

The good folks at WordPress.com have kept with the times better than I have, and they’ve been adding and updating themes. So, I started tinkering this evening. And what you see is where I’m at.

I’ve got rotating banners at the top (which I actually lifted from my Bitstream Foundry site), I’ve got some go-to areas organized on the right (like the always-important Resources area for my presentations and my upcoming Events), and in general things are just sort of moved around and reorganized.

I hope you like the redesign, and as always, I welcome your feedback.

Oh, and I’ve got some SharePoint goodness coming soon. So stay tuned!

Additional Reading and References

  1. Blog Platform: WordPress.com
  2. New Blog: The Gadget Café
  3. Blogging Platform: Ghost
  4. Blog: Marc D Anderson’s Blog
  5. Company: Bitstream Foundry
  6. Section: Resources
  7. Section: Events

Revisiting the Basement Datacenter in 2016

Here we are in 2016. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might recall a post I threw together back in 2010 called Portrait of a Basement Datacenter. Back in 2010, I was living on the west side of Cincinnati with my wife (Tracy) and three year-old twins (Brendan and Sabrina). We were kind of shoehorned into that house; there just wasn’t a lot of room. Todd Klindt visited once and had dinner with us. He didn’t say it, but I’m sure he thought it: “gosh, there’s a lot of stuff in this little house.”

Servers in 2010All of my computer equipment (or rather, nearly all of my computer equipment) was in the basement. I had what I called a “basement datacenter,” and it was quite a collection of PCs and servers in varying form factors and with a variety of capabilities.

The image on the right is how things looked in 2010. Just looking at the picture brings back a bunch of memories for me, and it also reminds me a bit of what we (as server administrators) could and couldn’t easily do. For example, nowadays we virtualize nearly everything without a second thought. Six years ago, virtualization technology certainly existed … but it hadn’t hit the level of adoption that it’s cruising at today. I look at all the boxes on the right and think “holy smokes – that’s a lot of hardware. I’m glad I don’t have all of that anymore.” It seemed like I had drives and computers everywhere, and they were all sucking down juice. I had two APC 1600W UPS units that were acting as battery backups back then. With all the servers plugged-in, they were drawing quite a bit of power. And yeah – I had the electric bill to prove it.

So, What’s Changed?

For starters, we now live on the east side of Cincinnati and have a much bigger house than we had way back when. Whenever friends come over and get a tour of the house, they inevitably head downstairs and get to see what’s in the unfinished portion of the basement. That’s where the servers are nowadays, and this is what my basement datacenter looks like in 2016:

Servers in 2016Purpose of each server

In reality, quite a bit has changed. We have much more space in our new house, and although the “server area” is smaller overall, it’s basically a dedicated working area where all I really do is play with tech, fix machines, store parts, etc. If I need to sit at a computer, I go into the gaming area or upstairs to my office. But if I need to fix a computer? I do it here.

In terms of capabilities, the last six years have been good to me.

All Hail The Fiber

Back on the west side of town, I had a BPL (broadband-over-powerline) Internet hookup from Duke Energy and The CURRENT Group. Nowadays, I don’t even know what’s happening with that technology. It looks like Duke Energy may be trying to move away from it? In any case, I know it gave me a symmetric pipe to the Internet, and I think I had about 10Mbps up and down. I also had a secondary DSL connection (from Cincinnati Bell) that was about 2.5Mbps down and 1Mbps up.

Once I moved back to the east side of Cincinnati and Anderson Township, the doors were blown off of the barn in terms of bandwidth. Initially, I signed with Time Warner Cable for a 50Mbps download / 5Mbps upload primary connection to my house. I made the mistake of putting in a business circuit (well, I was running a business), so while it gave me some static IP address options, it ended up costing a small fortune.

InternetSpeed2016My costly agreement with Time Warner ended last year, and for that I’m thankful. Nowadays, I have Cincinnati Bell Fiber coming to my house (Fioptics), and it’s a full-throttle connection. I pay for gigabit download speeds and have roughly a 250Mbps upload pipe. Realistically, the bandwidth varies … but there’s a ton of it, even on a bad day. The image on the right shows the bandwidth to my desktop as I’m typing this post. No, it’s not gigabit (at this moment) … but really, should I complain about 330Mbps download speeds from the Internet? Realistically speaking, some of the slowdown is likely due to my equipment. Running full gigabit Ethernet takes good wiring, quality switches, fast firewalls, and more. You’re only as fast as your slowest piece of equipment.

I do keep a backup connection with Time Warner Cable in case the fiber goes down, and my TMG firewall does a great job of failing over to that backup connection if something goes wrong. And yes, I’ve had a problem with the fiber once or twice. But it’s been resolved quickly, and I was back up in no time. Frankly, I love Cincinnati Bell’s fiber.

What About Storage?

ProRaidIn the last handful of years, storage limits have popped over and over again. You can buy 8TB drives on Amazon.com right now, and they’re not prohibitively expensive? We’ve come a long way in just a half dozen years, and the limits just keep expanding.

I have a bunch of storage downstairs, and frankly I’m pretty happy with it. I’ve graduated from the random drives and NAS appliances that used to occupy my basement. These days, I use Mediasonic RAID enclosures. You pop some drives in, connect an eSATA cable (or USB cable, if you have to), and away you go. They’ve been great self-contained pass-through drive arrays for specific virtual machines running on my Hyper-V hosts.  I’ve been running the Mediasonic arrays for quite a few years now, and although this isn’t a study in “how to build a basement datacenter,” I’d recommend them to anyone looking for reliable storage enclosures. I keep one as a backup unit (because eventually one will die), and as a group they seem to be in good shape at this point in time. The enclosures supply the RAID-5 that I want (and yeah, I’ve had *plenty* of drives die), so I’ve got highly-available, hot-swappable storage where I need it.

Oh, and don’t mind the minions on my enclosures. Those of you with children will understand. Those who don’t have children (or who don’t have children in the appropriate age range) should either just wait it out or go watch Despicable Me.

Hey? What About The Cloud?

Servers and their shelfThe astute will ask “why are you putting all this hardware in your house instead of shifting to the cloud?” You know, that’s a good question. I work for Cardinal Solutions Group, and we’re a Microsoft managed partner with a lot of Office 365 and Azure experience. Heck, I’m Cardinal’s National Solution Manager for Office 365, so The Cloud is what I think about day-in and day-out.

First off, I love the cloud. For enterprise scale engagements, the cloud (and Microsoft’s Azure capabilities, in particular) are awesome. Microsoft has done a lot to make it easier (not “easy,” but “easier”) for us to build for the cloud, put our stuff (like pictures, videos, etc.) in the cloud, and get things off of our thumb drives and backup boxes and into a place where they are protected, replicated, and made highly available.

What I’m doing in my basement doesn’t mean I’m “avoiding” the cloud. Actually, I moved my family onto an Office 365 plan to give them email and capabilities they didn’t have before. My kids have their first email address now, and they’re learning how to use email through Office 365. I’m going to move the SharePoint site collection that I maintain for our family (yes, I’m that big of a geek) over to SharePoint Online because I don’t want to wrangle with it at home any longer. Keeping SharePoint running is a pain-in-the-butt, and I’m more than happy to hand that over the Office 365 folks.

I’ll still be tinkering with SharePoint VMs for sure with the work I do, but I’m happy to turn over operational responsibility to Microsoft for my family’s site collection.

The Private Cloud

ServerShelfLeftSo even though I believe in The Cloud (i.e, “the big cloud that’s out there with all of our data”), I also believe in the “private cloud,” “personal cloud,” or whatever you want to call it. When I work from the Cardinal office, my first order of business is to VPN back to my house (again, through my TMG Firewall – they’ll have to pry it from my cold, dead hands) so that I have access to all of my files and systems at home.

Accessing stuff at home is only part of it, though. The other part is just knowing that I’m going through my network, interacting with my systems, and still feeling like I have some control in our increasingly disconnected world. My Plex server is there, and my file shares are available, and I can RDP into my desktop to leverage its power for something I’m working on. There’s a comfort in knowing my stuff is on my network and servers.

Critical data makes it to the cloud via OneDrive, Dropbox, etc, but I still can’t afford to pay for all of my stuff to be in the cloud. Prices are dropping all of the time, though. Will I ever give up my basement datacenter? Probably not, because maintaining it helps me keep my technical skills sharpened … but it’s also a labor of love.

Additional Reading and References

  1. Blog Post: Portrait of a Basement Datacenter
  2. Blog: Todd Klindt’s SharePoint Admin Blog
  3. Department of Justice: Current Group Broadband Overview
  4. Site: Cincinnati Bell Fioptics
  5. TechNet: Threat Management Gateway
  6. Amazon.com: Seagate Archive 8 TB Internal Hard Drive
  7. Amazon.com: Mediasonic PRORAID Drive Enclosure
  8. Amazon.com: Despicable Me
  9. Company: Cardinal Solutions Group

What Happened To My Office 365 Public Site?

Close Out (Early 2016)

It would appear that things are more or less back to normal. I never got an “everything is okay and live” email, but theming and branding are working properly both on public sites (tick, tock, tick, tock …) and internal sites. No conflicts at this point. Since I like to tie things up when complete, we’ll call this one “done” for now and move on.

What the heck happened?Update (Evening 7/23/2015)

Microsoft has been looking at this issue, and progress is being made! My public site looks like it has returned to normal … but I know that we’re not quite out of the woods yet.

John from Microsoft followed-up with me yesterday and said the following:

“We have pulled the flight that was impacting everyone from production.  The plan is to address these issues before turning the flight back on.  Would you be up for piloting the upgraded flight before we turn it back on for everyone? Also, you mention you know others who are having problems, would they be willing to pilot the new flight as well?  If so, please provide their contact information so I can follow up with them.”

Clearly, there’s a strong “flying vibe” in Redmond ….

I told John that I was definitely a “go” for the flight, and that I knew some others who’d experienced problems. And that’s where I’m hoping that some of you can help.

If you have been encountering problems with your Office 365 public site that are similar to mine – and you want to be part of the fix – let me know and I’ll hook you up with John. Shoot me your name, email address, and public site URL; I think that will do the job.

Stay tuned!

Original Post (below)

First of all, let me state that I’m not talking about the fact that Office 365 public sites are going the way of the dinosaur. That’s old news at this point. Instead, I’m talking about a “disruption in the force” that some of you may have observed when recently browsing to your public sites and discovering that they had … changed.

And what do I mean by “changed?” In my case, it was the observation that my public site’s branding had been altered to something I hadn’t chosen. The background image was different, the fonts weren’t the same, a number of the CSS styles I had applied to address scrollbar positioning and what-not weren’t in effect, and more. In essence, my custom branding had been completely steamrolled.

The After And The (Sort-Of Before)

Office 365 Public Site: Forcing Some Branding Elements BackOffice 365 Public Site: Busted BrandingDon’t take my word for it, though. Have a look for yourself. On the left is my public site as I discovered it a couple of weeks back (i.e., near the beginning of July, 2015). On the right is the way it’s supposed to look … sort of. The fonts and aspects of the responsive design are still off in the “corrected” version on the right, but I managed to hack the proper background, scrollbars, and a few other elements back to where they were previously. Even though I didn’t get everything corrected, differences between the two are immediately obvious.

I was confident that it had been months since I had changed anything on my public site, but I verified the branding assets in the Office 365 site against what I was tracking in source control. As expected, they were identical. The changes I was observing were not due to anything I had done to the public site.

Grumble Grumble …

Facebook Complaint About Branding IssueSince it wasn’t the first time I’d had issues with unexpected changes and behavior on my public site, I wasted little time before going to Facebook to complain aloud. Many of my friends in the SharePoint community are also friends on Facebook, so I figured I’d get some support (moral, if nothing else) there.

Shortly after posting the update seen on the left, I tagged a couple of my Microsoft friends (specifically, Jeremy Thake and Chris Johnson) who work with the Office 365 team(s) and asked if I should have known about an update or change that might have affected my public site in this fashion. Even though I was confident that I hadn’t done anything to directly impact my public site’s look-and-feel, I was not about to rule out the possibility that I had missed something that had been communicated to me. In fact, I have been consulting in information technology long enough to know that my “mental glove” doesn’t catch everything thrown to me; anymore, I just kind of assume that I am in error and work from there.

Jeremy got back to me first and indicated that he didn’t have anything specific to share, but he indicated he would take the issue to folks (internally) who should know. Shortly after that, Chris tagged Steve Walker (another Microsoftee with superhuman powers) to bring the issue to his attention. Steve told me to file a service request (SR) and that he would escalate that SR right away. So, I filed the service request with supporting screenshots and documentation … and as he had indicated he would, Steve escalated the SR in less than an hour.

In the meantime, I did what I could to get some of my site’s branding back to the way it had been. How did I do that? With the liberal application of the dreaded !important CSS directive in the custom style sheet I had created to go with my master page. The !important directive is definitely not something I use (or even like to go near) on a daily basis, but in this case, I was trying to achieve results with a minimal investment of time and effort. I needed my styling to trump whatever was being laid-down after my style sheet was being processed.

So, What Happened Next?

Following Steve’s escalation, I started working with an extremely approachable escalation engineer named John. John and I exchanged some emails, did a late-night screen-sharing session, and generally looked things up-and-down. John concurred that what we were seeing shouldn’t have been happening, and he mentioned that he had another customer or two that seemed to be having a similar problem. Some tracing in those cases seemed to implicate a recent client-side theming change that had been made and rolled-out.

Analysis Of Styles In Internet Explorer Developer ToolsAn issue with client-side theming “felt” right to me. I had used Internet Explorer’s Developer Tools to do some backtracking into the source of the errant styles that were being applied to my site, and I noticed that the background image was being served from a temporary theme directory on the server. Until I started forcing my styles to override the ones that were being applied (an example of which is shown on the right), the theme styles were trumping my own styles.

John was out for a while, but he came back to me recently with the following explanation. And his explanation makes complete sense:

So the problem you were having was the result of a bad interaction with a third-party CSS minification technique called minisp.  By adding HTML comments around our CssLink controls in the master page, the <link> tags we normally render are part of a comment and therefore not part of the DOM.

When Client-Side Theming goes to replace the CSS on these pages, it wants to put the generated <style> blocks immediately before the corresponding <link> tags. Since it can’t find the <link> tags in the DOM, it defaults to adding the <style> blocks to the end of the document head. Since these come after the custom CSS, the rules in our themed CSS take priority over the rules in the custom CSS.

Resolution?

As of July 21st, 2015, there is no official resolution. Since this has been identified as a problem in how client-side theming handles CSS <style> block insertions, though, the ultimate fix needs to come from Microsoft. In the meantime, I’ll be sticking with my hacked CSS style sheet to get back most of the look-and-feel that I need. I could expend additional (development) effort to ensure that my styles are applied after the Office 365 theme styles without using !important, but there are plenty of other more important tasks vying for my attention right now.

Thumbs UpSo, if you found this post and it’s helping you to realize that you’re not going insane (at least not because of public site branding changes you didn’t make), I’ll feel that my job is done.

As I hear more and changes take place, I’ll try to update this post accordingly. Check back every now and then if you want the play-by-play on this issue.

Parting Thoughts: A Tip Of My Hat To Microsoft

In the past, I’ve been pretty vocal about the way that Microsoft has sort of “rolled” changes onto its Office 365 customer base and failed to communicate problems in a timely and complete fashion – actions (or lack of action) that ultimately caused pain and problems. As vocal as I’ve been in those situations, I want to go on-record as saying (just as loudly) that Microsoft has definitely listened to the critical feedback it has been receiving and has acted to make changes that we have indicated we need.

Even though this public site branding issue is indeed a bug, Microsoft listened and responded quickly – without protest, without claiming that “nothing is wrong,” and without some of the problem behaviors I used to see.

Where there were previously few communications about Office 365 outages, problems, changes, and updates, we now have a boatload of information (with some of it actually being pushed) to us to keep us in-the-know on our tenants, where they stand at any given point in time, and where they are going. I can get both at-a-glance health information and deep explanations for issues using the administrative portal’s Service Health dashboard. I get push notifications whenever something happens in my tenant using the Office 365 Admin application that runs on my Windows Phone. I know when new service features and capabilities are rolling out, if changes have been cancelled, etc., by looking at the Office 365 Roadmap. And these are just some of the channels and information streams that are available.

Is Microsoft “all the way there” yet? No, but they are dramatically further along than when Office 365 first rolled-out. Outages still occur – as they do with any service – but I feel like I know what’s going on now. That’s a huge improvement in my book.

References and Resources

  1. Microsoft Support: Information about changes to the SharePoint Online Public Website feature in Office 365
  2. Office 365 Public Site: Bitstream Foundry LLC
  3. LinkedIn: Jeremy Thake
  4. LinkedIn: Chris Johnson
  5. LinkedIn: Steve Walker
  6. Stack Overflow: What are the implications of using “!important” in CSS?
  7. MSDN: Using the F12 developer tools
  8. Microsoft: Office 365 Service Health Status
  9. Windows Phone App Store: Office 365 Admin
  10. Office.com: Office 365 Roadmap

Advanced Paging with SharePoint Content Search Web Part Display Templates

In this post, I cover the topic of exposing paging controls within the display templates used by SharePoint 2013’s Content Search Web Part (CSWP). In addition to looking at the underlying paging mechanisms used by the CSWP, I make available a couple of display templates that I created which include advanced paging support.

Click here to download associated ZIP file with display templatesPages in a BookI’ve had an opportunity to play with SharePoint 2013’s Content Search Web Part (CSWP) on a number of occasions in the last couple of years, and I have to say that I like it a lot. The CSWP can be employed to address a whole host of different use cases; in fact, in many situations I’ve found that it can be used to solve problems that were previously addressable only through custom code.

Search-driven content in SharePoint isn’t anything new, of course, but the display templates that are used to format search results in SharePoint 2013 are a large part of the CSWP’s “special sauce.” Through the use of a Control display template and an Item display template, it is possible to select, arrange, and style the search results that are returned and shown to users in a highly customizable fashion. With some knowledge of HTML and the help of SharePoint 2013’s Design Manager, it’s possible to produce some pretty impressive looking content. And if you know JavaScript, well … the sky is the limit on what you can produce.

Control And Item Display Templates

DisplayAndPropertyMappingsBefore I dive into paging and how I’ve tried to stretch what can be done with the CSWP, I want to briefly examine some display template basics. Although this post isn’t intended to be a primer on the CSWP and its associated display templates, there are a few items worth reviewing.

On the right is a snippet of a ToolPart containing some configuration data for a particular CSWP displaying some very basic data. The examples that follow (i.e., the two images shown below) use the configuration shown in the ToolPart, so refer to it if needed.

The first example below is how a CSWP showing three results might appear to an end user when the List with Paging Control template and Two lines Item template are applied. The second example (to the right of the first) differentiates which content regions on the CSWP are being driven by the List with Paging Control template (shown with green highlighting) and which are being driven by the Two lines Item template (shown in red).

Content Search Web Part Example as Seen by End User Content Search Web Part with Template Regions Highlighted

Through these images, I’m trying to convey a very simple point: the Control template dictates how the search results’ “container” appears, and the Item template determines how each individual search result within the container is displayed. The contents of any CSWP are rendered by the output of a single Control display template and zero or more Item display templates (again, one for each search result/item shown).

Nothing To See Here

As you might have guessed from the title of this post, one functional area that seems relatively unexplored and underdeveloped (in my experience) is that of paging and how paging controls are made available to end users of the CSWP. This is unfortunate, because whenever more results are returned than can be displayed at once – a very common scenario – some form of paging is needed.

Out of the box (OOTB), SharePoint 2013 comes with only a handful of Control and Item display templates that can be used with the CSWP to format your search results. Of these display templates, only one contains paging controls: the List with Paging Control template. If all you require is the basic forward/backward paging offered by the two buttons it contains, then the List with Paging display template may be adequate for your needs.

Personally, I think the List with Paging template is bland and kind of … ugly. It works, sure, but it doesn’t display several pieces of information that I find important; for example, the total number of search results and the result page that the user is currently on. Worse is the fact that it doesn’t provide any sort of mechanism to jump to a specific page. The best that an end-user can do is page forward or backward one page at a time.

Better Paging Support

CSWP With Advanced Paging SupportOne of the talks I’ve been giving recently at various SharePoint events and conferences is titled SharePoint’s New Swiss Army Knife: The Content Search Web Part. During that talk, I demonstrate a set of CSWP display templates that I put together to generate something decidedly “non-search” in appearance – like a directory of files to which the current user has access within the current site collection. An image of that CSWP example appears on the left.

This file directory CSWP instance was generated with three simple files: two custom display templates (one for the Control, and one for each Item shown) and a cascading style sheet. The actual result data isn’t particularly remarkable, but the manner in which the paging is implemented is what tends to catch people’s attention. With the Control template I created, end-users can:

  • See the total number of documents (i.e., search results) to which they have access
  • Clearly see which page of search results they’re on through the boxed page number and the “Page xx of yy” label
  • Identify which items/results they’re viewing through the “Items xxx to yyy of zzz” label
  • Jump directly to a page of results by clicking the specified page number

Finding all of this information and displaying it through the CSWP Control template took some research and tinkering. Some of the information was available directly within the search results that were passed to the CSWP, but some of it wasn’t. In the case where some desired information wasn’t available, it was computed with some basic math.

Overview Of The CSWP HTML

By default, the CSWP implements a client-side processing and paging model. Search results that are displayed are controlled by JavaScript functions contained within the Control and Item display templates that have been assigned to the CSWP. When a set of search results is being processed for display within the client browser, the Control template (which is the results container) gets called first to render the HTML that will frame or house the search items/results. For each search result or item that is passed to the CSWP, the Item display template then gets called to create a snippet of HTML for the result/item that can be inserted into the “frame” (commonly a <div>) created by Control display template.

An example of the rendered HTML for the search results shown in the previous “Better Paging Support” section appears below.

<div id="sas-lib-listing">
	<div>Documents To Which I Have Access</div>
	<ul class="sas-table">
		<li class="sas-tablerow">
			<span class="sas-tableheader">Title of Document</span>
		</li>
		<li class="sas-tablerow">
			<div class="sas-tablecell" id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr1_SAS_Item_Template_container" data-displaytemplate="SAS_Item_Template">
				<div id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr1_SAS_Item_Template_dataContainer">
					<a title="3. Optimus Prime Part - Button" id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr1_SAS_Item_Template_displayTextLink"
					href="http://sp2013-dev:18480/SiteAssets/Forms/DispForm.aspx?ID=4">3. Optimus Prime Part - Button</a>
				</div>
			</div>
		</li>
		<li class="sas-tablerow">
			<div class="sas-tablecell" id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr2_SAS_Item_Template_container" data-displaytemplate="SAS_Item_Template">
				<div id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr2_SAS_Item_Template_dataContainer">
					<a title="4. Weather Right Now (Not Really) - Button" id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr2_SAS_Item_Template_displayTextLink"
					href="http://sp2013-dev:18480/SiteAssets/Forms/DispForm.aspx?ID=5">4. Weather Right Now (Not Really) - Button</a>
				</div>
			</div>
		</li>
		<li class="sas-tablerow">
			<div class="sas-tablecell" id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr3_SAS_Item_Template_container" data-displaytemplate="SAS_Item_Template">
				<div id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr3_SAS_Item_Template_dataContainer">
					<a title="5. Weather Right Now Page - Button" id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr3_SAS_Item_Template_displayTextLink"
					href="http://sp2013-dev:18480/SiteAssets/Forms/DispForm.aspx?ID=6">5. Weather Right Now Page - Button</a>
				</div>
			</div>
		</li>
		<li class="sas-tablerow">
			<div class="sas-tablecell" id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr4_SAS_Item_Template_container" data-displaytemplate="SAS_Item_Template">
				<div id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr4_SAS_Item_Template_dataContainer">
					<a title="6. Weather Right Now Provisioned - Button" id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr4_SAS_Item_Template_displayTextLink"
					href="http://sp2013-dev:18480/SiteAssets/Forms/DispForm.aspx?ID=8">6. Weather Right Now Provisioned - Button</a>
				</div>
			</div>
		</li>
		<li class="sas-tablerow">
			<div class="sas-tablecell" id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr5_SAS_Item_Template_container" data-displaytemplate="SAS_Item_Template">
				<div id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr5_SAS_Item_Template_dataContainer">
					<a title="8. Donuts And Drinks Pub - Button" id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr5_SAS_Item_Template_displayTextLink"
					href="http://sp2013-dev:18480/SiteAssets/Forms/DispForm.aspx?ID=9">8. Donuts And Drinks Pub - Button</a>
				</div>
			</div>
		</li>
		<li class="sas-tablerow">
			<div class="sas-tablecell" id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr6_SAS_Item_Template_container" data-displaytemplate="SAS_Item_Template">
				<div id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr6_SAS_Item_Template_dataContainer">
					<a title="WeatherRightNowScraper" id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr6_SAS_Item_Template_displayTextLink"
					href="http://sp2013-dev:18480/SitePages/WeatherRightNowScraper.aspx">WeatherRightNowScraper</a>
				</div>
			</div>
		</li>
		<li class="sas-tablerow">
			<div class="sas-tablecell" id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr7_SAS_Item_Template_container" data-displaytemplate="SAS_Item_Template">
				<div id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr7_SAS_Item_Template_dataContainer">
					<a title="DonutsAndDrinksPub" id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr7_SAS_Item_Template_displayTextLink"
					href="http://sp2013-dev:18480/Pages/DonutsAndDrinksPub.aspx">DonutsAndDrinksPub</a>
				</div>
			</div>
		</li>
		<li class="sas-tablerow">
			<div class="sas-tablecell" id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr8_SAS_Item_Template_container" data-displaytemplate="SAS_Item_Template">
				<div id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr8_SAS_Item_Template_dataContainer">
					<a title="DonutsAndDrinks" id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr8_SAS_Item_Template_displayTextLink"
					href="http://sp2013-dev:18480/SitePages/DonutsAndDrinks.aspx">DonutsAndDrinks</a>
				</div>
			</div>
		</li>
		<li class="sas-tablerow">
			<div class="sas-tablecell" id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr9_SAS_Item_Template_container" data-displaytemplate="SAS_Item_Template">
				<div id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr9_SAS_Item_Template_dataContainer">
					<a title="MakingPiTakesEffort" id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr9_SAS_Item_Template_displayTextLink"
					href="http://sp2013-dev:18480/SitePages/MakingPiTakesEffort.aspx">MakingPiTakesEffort</a>
				</div>
			</div>
		</li>
		<li class="sas-tablerow">
			<div class="sas-tablecell" id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr10_SAS_Item_Template_container" data-displaytemplate="SAS_Item_Template">
				<div id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr10_SAS_Item_Template_dataContainer">
					<a title="OptimusPrimePart" id="ctl00_ctl39_g_85d5f2f9_fbe4_4e9b_9d51_647e179b87f9_csr10_SAS_Item_Template_displayTextLink"
					href="http://sp2013-dev:18480/SitePages/OptimusPrimePart.aspx">OptimusPrimePart</a>
				</div>
			</div>
		</li>
	</ul>
	<div class="sas-paging-table">
		<div class="sas-paging-tablerow">
			<div class="sas-paging-tablecell">
				<a onclick="$getClientControl(this).page(1);return Srch.U.cancelEvent(event);" href="#">1</a>
			</div>
			<div class="sas-paging-tablecell">
				<a onclick="$getClientControl(this).page(11);return Srch.U.cancelEvent(event);" href="#">2</a>
			</div>
			<div class="sas-paging-tablecell">
				<a onclick="$getClientControl(this).page(21);return Srch.U.cancelEvent(event);" href="#">3</a>
			</div>
			<div class="sas-paging-tablecell">
				<a onclick="$getClientControl(this).page(31);return Srch.U.cancelEvent(event);" href="#">4</a>
			</div>
			<div class="sas-paging-tablecell">
				<a onclick="$getClientControl(this).page(41);return Srch.U.cancelEvent(event);" href="#">5</a>
			</div>
			<div class="sas-paging-tablecell">
				<a onclick="$getClientControl(this).page(51);return Srch.U.cancelEvent(event);" href="#">6</a>
			</div>
			<div class="sas-paging-tablecell">
				<a onclick="$getClientControl(this).page(61);return Srch.U.cancelEvent(event);" href="#">7</a>
			</div>
			<div class="sas-paging-tablecell">
				<a onclick="$getClientControl(this).page(71);return Srch.U.cancelEvent(event);" href="#">8</a>
			</div>
			<div class="sas-paging-tablecell">
				<a onclick="$getClientControl(this).page(81);return Srch.U.cancelEvent(event);" href="#">9</a>
			</div>
			<div class="sas-paging-tablecell">
				<a onclick="$getClientControl(this).page(91);return Srch.U.cancelEvent(event);" href="#">10</a>
			</div>
			<div class="sas-paging-tablecell">
				<a onclick="$getClientControl(this).page(101);return Srch.U.cancelEvent(event);" href="#">11</a>
			</div>
			<div class="sas-paging-tablecell">
				<a onclick="$getClientControl(this).page(111);return Srch.U.cancelEvent(event);" href="#">12</a>
			</div>
			<div class="sas-paging-tablecell">
				<a onclick="$getClientControl(this).page(121);return Srch.U.cancelEvent(event);" href="#">13</a>
			</div>
			<div class="sas-paging-tablecell sas-paging-currentpage">14</div>
			<div class="sas-paging-tablecell">
				<a onclick="$getClientControl(this).page(141);return Srch.U.cancelEvent(event);" href="#">15</a>
			</div>
			<div class="sas-paging-tablecell">
				<a onclick="$getClientControl(this).page(151);return Srch.U.cancelEvent(event);" href="#">16</a>
			</div>
			<div class="sas-paging-tablecell">
				<a onclick="$getClientControl(this).page(161);return Srch.U.cancelEvent(event);" href="#">17</a>
			</div>
			<div class="sas-paging-tablecell">
				<a onclick="$getClientControl(this).page(171);return Srch.U.cancelEvent(event);" href="#">18</a>
			</div>
			<div class="sas-paging-tablecell sas-paging-summary">Page
				<span>14</span>of
				<span>18</span>, items
				<span>131</span>to
				<span>140</span>of
				<span>179</span>.</div>
		</div>
	</div>
</div>

The Control template (SwissArmy_Control_Template.js) creates the top level <div> and a child <ul> element (with a CSS class of “sas-table”) for the overall HTML structure, as well as the individual <li> elements used to contain each search/result item. For each search result/item, the Item template (SwissArmy_Item_Template.js) creates a <div> block that is inserted as a child within an <li> element. Each of the individual item <div> blocks created by the Item template has a CSS class of “sas-tablecell” for easier styling.

Below the <ul> block housing the search results is another <div> with a CSS class of “sas-paging-table.” As suggested by the class name, the <div> is used to house the clickable page numbers and additional paging information seen at the bottom of the CSWP control. And like the rest of the container information, this HTML is generated within the Control template.

Fetching Search Results

Each time a set of search results is needed, either on initial page rendering or when the user moves to a new page, the CSWP calls back to its SharePoint site collection for the data it needs. By default, this call occurs asynchronously; however, the CSWP can be configured to make such calls synchronously within the normal page processing sequence.

For example, if I had a page containing a CSWP at the following URL

http://sp2013-dev:18580/DisplayTemplateStyling

… the CSWP on that page would request search results for display by posting a request to the following endpoint:

http://sp2013-dev:18580/_vti_bin/client.svc/ProcessQuery

As part of its request, the CSWP passes an XML structure to the client.svc web service that looks something like the XML that appears below. This structure contains all of the information the ProcessQuery method needs to determine which search results should be sent back:

<Request xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/sharepoint/clientquery/2009" SchemaVersion="15.0.0.0" LibraryVersion="15.0.0.0" ApplicationName="Javascript Library">
	<Actions>
		<ObjectPath Id="1" ObjectPathId="0" />
		<SetProperty Id="2" ObjectPathId="0" Name="QueryTemplate">
			<Parameter Type="String">(contentclass:STS_ListItem OR IsDocument:True)</Parameter>
		</SetProperty>
		<ObjectPath Id="4" ObjectPathId="3" />
		<Method Name="Add" Id="5" ObjectPathId="3">
			<Parameters>
				<Parameter Type="String">LastModifiedTime</Parameter>
				<Parameter Type="Number">1</Parameter>
			</Parameters>
		</Method>
		<SetProperty Id="6" ObjectPathId="0" Name="StartRow">
			<Parameter Type="Number">130</Parameter>
		</SetProperty>
		<SetProperty Id="7" ObjectPathId="0" Name="RowsPerPage">
			<Parameter Type="Number">10</Parameter>
		</SetProperty>
		<SetProperty Id="8" ObjectPathId="0" Name="RowLimit">
			<Parameter Type="Number">10</Parameter>
		</SetProperty>
		<SetProperty Id="9" ObjectPathId="0" Name="TotalRowsExactMinimum">
			<Parameter Type="Number">141</Parameter>
		</SetProperty>
		<SetProperty Id="10" ObjectPathId="0" Name="SourceId">
			<Parameter Type="Guid">{8413cd39-2156-4e00-b54d-11efd9abdb89}</Parameter>
		</SetProperty>
		<ObjectPath Id="12" ObjectPathId="11" />
		<Method Name="SetQueryPropertyValue" Id="13" ObjectPathId="11">
			<Parameters>
				<Parameter Type="String">SourceName</Parameter>
				<Parameter TypeId="{b25ba502-71d7-4ae4-a701-4ca2fb1223be}">
					<Property Name="BoolVal" Type="Boolean">false</Property>
					<Property Name="IntVal" Type="Number">0</Property>
					<Property Name="QueryPropertyValueTypeIndex" Type="Number">1</Property>
					<Property Name="StrArray" Type="Null" />
					<Property Name="StrVal" Type="String">Local SharePoint Results</Property>
				</Parameter>
			</Parameters>
		</Method>
		<Method Name="SetQueryPropertyValue" Id="14" ObjectPathId="11">
			<Parameters>
				<Parameter Type="String">SourceLevel</Parameter>
				<Parameter TypeId="{b25ba502-71d7-4ae4-a701-4ca2fb1223be}">
					<Property Name="BoolVal" Type="Boolean">false</Property>
					<Property Name="IntVal" Type="Number">0</Property>
					<Property Name="QueryPropertyValueTypeIndex" Type="Number">1</Property>
					<Property Name="StrArray" Type="Null" />
					<Property Name="StrVal" Type="String">Ssa</Property>
				</Parameter>
			</Parameters>
		</Method>
		<ObjectPath Id="16" ObjectPathId="15" />
		<Method Name="Add" Id="17" ObjectPathId="15">
			<Parameters>
				<Parameter Type="String">Path</Parameter>
			</Parameters>
		</Method>
		<Method Name="Add" Id="18" ObjectPathId="15">
			<Parameters>
				<Parameter Type="String">Title</Parameter>
			</Parameters>
		</Method>
		<Method Name="Add" Id="19" ObjectPathId="15">
			<Parameters>
				<Parameter Type="String">
 FileExtension</Parameter>
			</Parameters>
		</Method>
		<Method Name="Add" Id="20" ObjectPathId="15">
			<Parameters>
				<Parameter Type="String">
 SecondaryFileExtension
</Parameter>
			</Parameters>
		</Method>
		<ObjectPath Id="22" ObjectPathId="21" />
		<Method Name="Add" Id="23" ObjectPathId="21">
			<Parameters>
				<Parameter Type="String">Title</Parameter>
			</Parameters>
		</Method>
		<Method Name="Add" Id="24" ObjectPathId="21">
			<Parameters>
				<Parameter Type="String">Path</Parameter>
			</Parameters>
		</Method>
		<Method Name="Add" Id="25" ObjectPathId="21">
			<Parameters>
				<Parameter Type="String">Author</Parameter>
			</Parameters>
		</Method>
		<Method Name="Add" Id="26" ObjectPathId="21">
			<Parameters>
				<Parameter Type="String">SectionNames</Parameter>
			</Parameters>
		</Method>
		<Method Name="Add" Id="27" ObjectPathId="21">
			<Parameters>
				<Parameter Type="String">SiteDescription</Parameter>
			</Parameters>
		</Method>
		<SetProperty Id="28" ObjectPathId="0" Name="TrimDuplicates">
			<Parameter Type="Boolean">false</Parameter>
		</SetProperty>
		<Method Name="SetQueryPropertyValue" Id="29" ObjectPathId="11">
			<Parameters>
				<Parameter Type="String">TryCache</Parameter>
				<Parameter TypeId="{b25ba502-71d7-4ae4-a701-4ca2fb1223be}">
					<Property Name="BoolVal" Type="Boolean">true</Property>
					<Property Name="IntVal" Type="Number">0</Property>
					<Property Name="QueryPropertyValueTypeIndex" Type="Number">3</Property>
					<Property Name="StrArray" Type="Null" />
					<Property Name="StrVal" Type="Null" />
				</Parameter>
			</Parameters>
		</Method>
		<Method Name="SetQueryPropertyValue" Id="30" ObjectPathId="11">
			<Parameters>
				<Parameter Type="String">Scope</Parameter>
				<Parameter TypeId="{b25ba502-71d7-4ae4-a701-4ca2fb1223be}">
					<Property Name="BoolVal" Type="Boolean">false</Property>
					<Property Name="IntVal" Type="Number">0</Property>
					<Property Name="QueryPropertyValueTypeIndex" Type="Number">1</Property>
					<Property Name="StrArray" Type="Null" />
					<Property Name="StrVal" Type="String">{Site.URL}</Property>
				</Parameter>
			</Parameters>
		</Method>
		<Method Name="SetQueryPropertyValue" Id="31" ObjectPathId="11">
			<Parameters>
				<Parameter Type="String">UpdateLinksForCatalogItems</Parameter>
				<Parameter TypeId="{b25ba502-71d7-4ae4-a701-4ca2fb1223be}">
					<Property Name="BoolVal" Type="Boolean">true</Property>
					<Property Name="IntVal" Type="Number">0</Property>
					<Property Name="QueryPropertyValueTypeIndex" Type="Number">3</Property>
					<Property Name="StrArray" Type="Null" />
					<Property Name="StrVal" Type="Null" />
				</Parameter>
			</Parameters>
		</Method>
		<Method Name="SetQueryPropertyValue" Id="32" ObjectPathId="11">
			<Parameters>
				<Parameter Type="String">EnableStacking</Parameter>
				<Parameter TypeId="{b25ba502-71d7-4ae4-a701-4ca2fb1223be}">
					<Property Name="BoolVal" Type="Boolean">true</Property>
					<Property Name="IntVal" Type="Number">0</Property>
					<Property Name="QueryPropertyValueTypeIndex" Type="Number">3</Property>
					<Property Name="StrArray" Type="Null" />
					<Property Name="StrVal" Type="Null" />
				</Parameter>
			</Parameters>
		</Method>
		<Method Name="SetQueryPropertyValue" Id="33" ObjectPathId="11">
			<Parameters>
				<Parameter Type="String">ListId</Parameter>
				<Parameter TypeId="{b25ba502-71d7-4ae4-a701-4ca2fb1223be}">
					<Property Name="BoolVal" Type="Boolean">false</Property>
					<Property Name="IntVal" Type="Number">0</Property>
					<Property Name="QueryPropertyValueTypeIndex" Type="Number">1</Property>
					<Property Name="StrArray" Type="Null" />
					<Property Name="StrVal" Type="String">fb9e18d3-1d80-4ab1-8e76-bc36b0a8e22d</Property>
				</Parameter>
			</Parameters>
		</Method>
		<Method Name="SetQueryPropertyValue" Id="34" ObjectPathId="11">
			<Parameters>
				<Parameter Type="String">ListItemId</Parameter>
				<Parameter TypeId="{b25ba502-71d7-4ae4-a701-4ca2fb1223be}">
					<Property Name="BoolVal" Type="Boolean">false</Property>
					<Property Name="IntVal" Type="Number">6</Property>
					<Property Name="QueryPropertyValueTypeIndex" Type="Number">2</Property>
					<Property Name="StrArray" Type="Null" />
					<Property Name="StrVal" Type="Null" />
				</Parameter>
			</Parameters>
		</Method>
		<Method Name="SetQueryPropertyValue" Id="35" ObjectPathId="11">
			<Parameters>
				<Parameter Type="String">TermId</Parameter>
				<Parameter TypeId="{b25ba502-71d7-4ae4-a701-4ca2fb1223be}">
					<Property Name="BoolVal" Type="Boolean">false</Property>
					<Property Name="IntVal" Type="Number">0</Property>
					<Property Name="QueryPropertyValueTypeIndex" Type="Number">1</Property>
					<Property Name="StrArray" Type="Null" />
					<Property Name="StrVal" Type="String">0bfc89ed-1741-4925-9d25-828eaf74b2c8</Property>
				</Parameter>
			</Parameters>
		</Method>
		<Method Name="SetQueryPropertyValue" Id="36" ObjectPathId="11">
			<Parameters>
				<Parameter Type="String">TermSetId</Parameter>
				<Parameter TypeId="{b25ba502-71d7-4ae4-a701-4ca2fb1223be}">
					<Property Name="BoolVal" Type="Boolean">false</Property>
					<Property Name="IntVal" Type="Number">0</Property>
					<Property Name="QueryPropertyValueTypeIndex" Type="Number">1</Property>
					<Property Name="StrArray" Type="Null" />
					<Property Name="StrVal" Type="String">0f14334e-b929-42bf-ad10-ed6a93d16a4f</Property>
				</Parameter>
			</Parameters>
		</Method>
		<Method Name="SetQueryPropertyValue" Id="37" ObjectPathId="11">
			<Parameters>
				<Parameter Type="String">TermStoreId</Parameter>
				<Parameter TypeId="{b25ba502-71d7-4ae4-a701-4ca2fb1223be}">
					<Property Name="BoolVal" Type="Boolean">false</Property>
					<Property Name="IntVal" Type="Number">0</Property>
					<Property Name="QueryPropertyValueTypeIndex" Type="Number">1</Property>
					<Property Name="StrArray" Type="Null" />
					<Property Name="StrVal" Type="String">c4c58328-0e88-4937-91e9-cf7526b9b0db</Property>
				</Parameter>
			</Parameters>
		</Method>
		<SetProperty Id="38" ObjectPathId="0" Name="ResultsUrl">
			<Parameter Type="String">http://sp2013-dev:18580/DisplayTemplateStyling#k=#s=131</Parameter>
		</SetProperty>
		<SetProperty Id="39" ObjectPathId="0" Name="BypassResultTypes">
			<Parameter Type="Boolean">true</Parameter>
		</SetProperty>
		<SetProperty Id="40" ObjectPathId="0" Name="ClientType">
			<Parameter Type="String">ContentSearchRegular</Parameter>
		</SetProperty>
		<SetProperty Id="41" ObjectPathId="0" Name="EnableInterleaving">
			<Parameter Type="Boolean">false</Parameter>
		</SetProperty>
		<SetProperty Id="42" ObjectPathId="0" Name="ProcessBestBets">
			<Parameter Type="Boolean">false</Parameter>
		</SetProperty>
		<Method Name="SetQueryPropertyValue" Id="43" ObjectPathId="11">
			<Parameters>
				<Parameter Type="String">QuerySession</Parameter>
				<Parameter TypeId="{b25ba502-71d7-4ae4-a701-4ca2fb1223be}">
					<Property Name="BoolVal" Type="Boolean">false</Property>
					<Property Name="IntVal" Type="Number">0</Property>
					<Property Name="QueryPropertyValueTypeIndex" Type="Number">1</Property>
					<Property Name="StrArray" Type="Null" />
					<Property Name="StrVal" Type="String">a4e0e9b5-6dd9-4aea-b38b-26f325c67fdf</Property>
				</Parameter>
			</Parameters>
		</Method>
		<SetProperty Id="44" ObjectPathId="0" Name="ProcessPersonalFavorites">
			<Parameter Type="Boolean">false</Parameter>
		</SetProperty>
		<SetProperty Id="45" ObjectPathId="0" Name="SafeQueryPropertiesTemplateUrl">
			<Parameter Type="String">querygroup://webroot/Pages/DisplayTemplateStyling.aspx?groupname=Default</Parameter>
		</SetProperty>
		<SetProperty Id="46" ObjectPathId="0" Name="IgnoreSafeQueryPropertiesTemplateUrl">
			<Parameter Type="Boolean">false</Parameter>
		</SetProperty>
		<ObjectPath Id="48" ObjectPathId="47" />
		<ExceptionHandlingScope Id="49">
			<TryScope Id="51">
				<Method Name="ExecuteQueries" Id="53" ObjectPathId="47">
					<Parameters>
						<Parameter Type="Array">
							<Object Type="String">26103082-0e16-4ab0-a12c-bded636a7fb8Default</Object>
						</Parameter>
						<Parameter Type="Array">
							<Object ObjectPathId="0" />
						</Parameter>
						<Parameter Type="Boolean">true</Parameter>
					</Parameters>
				</Method>
			</TryScope>
			<CatchScope Id="55" />
		</ExceptionHandlingScope>
	</Actions>
	<ObjectPaths>
		<Constructor Id="0" TypeId="{80173281-fffd-47b6-9a49-312e06ff8428}" />
		<Property Id="3" ParentId="0" Name="SortList" />
		<Property Id="11" ParentId="0" Name="Properties" />
		<Property Id="15" ParentId="0" Name="SelectProperties" />
		<Property Id="21" ParentId="0" Name="HitHighlightedProperties" />
		<Constructor Id="47" TypeId="{8d2ac302-db2f-46fe-9015-872b35f15098}" />
	</ObjectPaths>
</Request>				 				 			 			 		 	 	 		 		 		 		 		 		 	  

Once the server finds the desired search results and processes them, it packages them up as a JSON object and returns that object to the browser for further action. The following is an example of a JSON structure (containing ten results) that was returned for the Swiss Army Knife CSWP as it was shown earlier in the “Better Paging Support” section:

[  
   {  
      "SchemaVersion":"15.0.0.0",
      "LibraryVersion":"15.0.4569.1501",
      "ErrorInfo":null,
      "TraceCorrelationId":"36d5029d-dcee-709e-a995-81ad013126e0"
   },
   119,
   {  
      "IsNull":false
   },
   122,
   {  
      "IsNull":false
   },
   130,
   {  
      "IsNull":false
   },
   134,
   {  
      "IsNull":false
   },
   140,
   {  
      "IsNull":false
   },
   166,
   {  
      "IsNull":false
   },
   171,
   {  
      "418e02d2-9bc5-46fd-ada2-83762ed79256Default":{  
         "_ObjectType_":"Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.Search.Query.ResultTableCollection",
         "ElapsedTime":31,
         "Properties":{  
            "RowLimit":10,
            "SourceId":"\/Guid(8413cd39-2156-4e00-b54d-11efd9abdb89)\/",
            "EnableStacking":true,
            "SerializedQuery":"<Query Culture=\"en-US\" EnableStemming=\"True\" EnablePhonetic=\"False\" EnableNicknames=\"False\" IgnoreAllNoiseQuery=\"True\" SummaryLength=\"180\" MaxSnippetLength=\"180\" DesiredSnippetLength=\"90\" KeywordInclusion=\"0\" QueryText=\"\" QueryTemplate=\"(contentclass:STS_ListItem OR IsDocument:True)\" TrimDuplicates=\"False\" Site=\"e964e9f4-d726-4c46-bda6-00367a81bb29\" Web=\"1b739834-de53-4968-b4cc-04a559306668\" KeywordType=\"True\" HiddenConstraints=\"\" \u002f>"
         },
         "QueryErrors":null,
         "QueryId":"e12d2e7f-598c-4db7-ae6e-fbf021d0b230",
         "SpellingSuggestion":"",
         "TriggeredRules":[  

         ],
         "ResultTables":[  
            {  
               "_ObjectType_":"Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.Search.Query.ResultTable",
               "GroupTemplateId":null,
               "ItemTemplateId":null,
               "Properties":{  
                  "GenerationId":9223372036854775806,
                  "ExecutionTimeMs":16,
                  "QueryModification":"(contentclass:STS_ListItem OR IsDocument:True) -ContentClass=urn:content-class:SPSPeople",
                  "RenderTemplateId":"~sitecollection\u002f_catalogs\u002fmasterpage\u002fDisplay Templates\u002fSearch\u002fGroup_Default.js",
                  "StartRecord":0
               },
               "QueryId":"e12d2e7f-598c-4db7-ae6e-fbf021d0b230",
               "QueryRuleId":"00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000",
               "ResultRows":[  
                  {  
                     "Rank":0,
                     "DocId":114,
                     "Path":"http:\u002f\u002fsp2013-dev:18480\u002fSiteAssets\u002fForms\u002fDispForm.aspx?ID=4",
                     "Title":"3. Optimus Prime Part - Button",
                     "OriginalPath":"http:\u002f\u002fsp2013-dev:18480\u002fSiteAssets\u002fForms\u002fDispForm.aspx?ID=4",
                     "PartitionId":"\/Guid(0c37852b-34d0-418e-91c6-2ac25af4be5b)\/",
                     "UrlZone":0,
                     "AAMEnabledManagedProperties":"AttachmentURI;deeplinks;DefaultEncodingURL;ExternalMediaURL;HierarchyUrl;OrgParentUrls;OrgUrls;OriginalPath;ParentLink;Path;PictureThumbnailURL;PictureURL;PublishingImage;recommendedfor;ServerRedirectedEmbedURL;ServerRedirectedPreviewURL;ServerRedirectedURL;SiteLogo;SitePath;SPSiteURL;UserEncodingURL",
                     "RenderTemplateId":"~sitecollection\u002f_catalogs\u002fmasterpage\u002fDisplay Templates\u002fSearch\u002fItem_Default.js",
                     "QueryRuleId":"\/Guid(00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000)\/"
                  },
                  {  
                     "Rank":0,
                     "DocId":115,
                     "Path":"http:\u002f\u002fsp2013-dev:18480\u002fSiteAssets\u002fForms\u002fDispForm.aspx?ID=5",
                     "Title":"4. Weather Right Now (Not Really) - Button",
                     "OriginalPath":"http:\u002f\u002fsp2013-dev:18480\u002fSiteAssets\u002fForms\u002fDispForm.aspx?ID=5",
                     "PartitionId":"\/Guid(0c37852b-34d0-418e-91c6-2ac25af4be5b)\/",
                     "UrlZone":0,
                     "AAMEnabledManagedProperties":"AttachmentURI;deeplinks;DefaultEncodingURL;ExternalMediaURL;HierarchyUrl;OrgParentUrls;OrgUrls;OriginalPath;ParentLink;Path;PictureThumbnailURL;PictureURL;PublishingImage;recommendedfor;ServerRedirectedEmbedURL;ServerRedirectedPreviewURL;ServerRedirectedURL;SiteLogo;SitePath;SPSiteURL;UserEncodingURL",
                     "RenderTemplateId":"~sitecollection\u002f_catalogs\u002fmasterpage\u002fDisplay Templates\u002fSearch\u002fItem_Default.js",
                     "QueryRuleId":"\/Guid(00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000)\/"
                  },
                  {  
                     "Rank":0,
                     "DocId":116,
                     "Path":"http:\u002f\u002fsp2013-dev:18480\u002fSiteAssets\u002fForms\u002fDispForm.aspx?ID=6",
                     "Title":"5. Weather Right Now Page - Button",
                     "OriginalPath":"http:\u002f\u002fsp2013-dev:18480\u002fSiteAssets\u002fForms\u002fDispForm.aspx?ID=6",
                     "PartitionId":"\/Guid(0c37852b-34d0-418e-91c6-2ac25af4be5b)\/",
                     "UrlZone":0,
                     "AAMEnabledManagedProperties":"AttachmentURI;deeplinks;DefaultEncodingURL;ExternalMediaURL;HierarchyUrl;OrgParentUrls;OrgUrls;OriginalPath;ParentLink;Path;PictureThumbnailURL;PictureURL;PublishingImage;recommendedfor;ServerRedirectedEmbedURL;ServerRedirectedPreviewURL;ServerRedirectedURL;SiteLogo;SitePath;SPSiteURL;UserEncodingURL",
                     "RenderTemplateId":"~sitecollection\u002f_catalogs\u002fmasterpage\u002fDisplay Templates\u002fSearch\u002fItem_Default.js",
                     "QueryRuleId":"\/Guid(00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000)\/"
                  },
                  {  
                     "Rank":0,
                     "DocId":117,
                     "Path":"http:\u002f\u002fsp2013-dev:18480\u002fSiteAssets\u002fForms\u002fDispForm.aspx?ID=8",
                     "Title":"6. Weather Right Now Provisioned - Button",
                     "OriginalPath":"http:\u002f\u002fsp2013-dev:18480\u002fSiteAssets\u002fForms\u002fDispForm.aspx?ID=8",
                     "PartitionId":"\/Guid(0c37852b-34d0-418e-91c6-2ac25af4be5b)\/",
                     "UrlZone":0,
                     "AAMEnabledManagedProperties":"AttachmentURI;deeplinks;DefaultEncodingURL;ExternalMediaURL;HierarchyUrl;OrgParentUrls;OrgUrls;OriginalPath;ParentLink;Path;PictureThumbnailURL;PictureURL;PublishingImage;recommendedfor;ServerRedirectedEmbedURL;ServerRedirectedPreviewURL;ServerRedirectedURL;SiteLogo;SitePath;SPSiteURL;UserEncodingURL",
                     "RenderTemplateId":"~sitecollection\u002f_catalogs\u002fmasterpage\u002fDisplay Templates\u002fSearch\u002fItem_Default.js",
                     "QueryRuleId":"\/Guid(00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000)\/"
                  },
                  {  
                     "Rank":0,
                     "DocId":119,
                     "Path":"http:\u002f\u002fsp2013-dev:18480\u002fSiteAssets\u002fForms\u002fDispForm.aspx?ID=9",
                     "Title":"8. Donuts And Drinks Pub - Button",
                     "OriginalPath":"http:\u002f\u002fsp2013-dev:18480\u002fSiteAssets\u002fForms\u002fDispForm.aspx?ID=9",
                     "PartitionId":"\/Guid(0c37852b-34d0-418e-91c6-2ac25af4be5b)\/",
                     "UrlZone":0,
                     "AAMEnabledManagedProperties":"AttachmentURI;deeplinks;DefaultEncodingURL;ExternalMediaURL;HierarchyUrl;OrgParentUrls;OrgUrls;OriginalPath;ParentLink;Path;PictureThumbnailURL;PictureURL;PublishingImage;recommendedfor;ServerRedirectedEmbedURL;ServerRedirectedPreviewURL;ServerRedirectedURL;SiteLogo;SitePath;SPSiteURL;UserEncodingURL",
                     "RenderTemplateId":"~sitecollection\u002f_catalogs\u002fmasterpage\u002fDisplay Templates\u002fSearch\u002fItem_Default.js",
                     "QueryRuleId":"\/Guid(00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000)\/"
                  },
                  {  
                     "Rank":0,
                     "DocId":688,
                     "Path":"http:\u002f\u002fsp2013-dev:18480\u002fSitePages\u002fWeatherRightNowScraper.aspx",
                     "Title":"WeatherRightNowScraper",
                     "OriginalPath":"http:\u002f\u002fsp2013-dev:18480\u002fSitePages\u002fWeatherRightNowScraper.aspx",
                     "PartitionId":"\/Guid(0c37852b-34d0-418e-91c6-2ac25af4be5b)\/",
                     "UrlZone":0,
                     "AAMEnabledManagedProperties":"AttachmentURI;deeplinks;DefaultEncodingURL;ExternalMediaURL;HierarchyUrl;OrgParentUrls;OrgUrls;OriginalPath;ParentLink;Path;PictureThumbnailURL;PictureURL;PublishingImage;recommendedfor;ServerRedirectedEmbedURL;ServerRedirectedPreviewURL;ServerRedirectedURL;SiteLogo;SitePath;SPSiteURL;UserEncodingURL",
                     "RenderTemplateId":"~sitecollection\u002f_catalogs\u002fmasterpage\u002fDisplay Templates\u002fSearch\u002fItem_Default.js",
                     "QueryRuleId":"\/Guid(00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000)\/"
                  },
                  {  
                     "Rank":0,
                     "DocId":683,
                     "Path":"http:\u002f\u002fsp2013-dev:18480\u002fPages\u002fDonutsAndDrinksPub.aspx",
                     "Title":"DonutsAndDrinksPub",
                     "OriginalPath":"http:\u002f\u002fsp2013-dev:18480\u002fPages\u002fDonutsAndDrinksPub.aspx",
                     "PartitionId":"\/Guid(0c37852b-34d0-418e-91c6-2ac25af4be5b)\/",
                     "UrlZone":0,
                     "AAMEnabledManagedProperties":"AttachmentURI;deeplinks;DefaultEncodingURL;ExternalMediaURL;HierarchyUrl;OrgParentUrls;OrgUrls;OriginalPath;ParentLink;Path;PictureThumbnailURL;PictureURL;PublishingImage;recommendedfor;ServerRedirectedEmbedURL;ServerRedirectedPreviewURL;ServerRedirectedURL;SiteLogo;SitePath;SPSiteURL;UserEncodingURL",
                     "RenderTemplateId":"~sitecollection\u002f_catalogs\u002fmasterpage\u002fDisplay Templates\u002fSearch\u002fItem_Default.js",
                     "QueryRuleId":"\/Guid(00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000)\/"
                  },
                  {  
                     "Rank":0,
                     "DocId":685,
                     "Path":"http:\u002f\u002fsp2013-dev:18480\u002fSitePages\u002fDonutsAndDrinks.aspx",
                     "Title":"DonutsAndDrinks",
                     "OriginalPath":"http:\u002f\u002fsp2013-dev:18480\u002fSitePages\u002fDonutsAndDrinks.aspx",
                     "PartitionId":"\/Guid(0c37852b-34d0-418e-91c6-2ac25af4be5b)\/",
                     "UrlZone":0,
                     "AAMEnabledManagedProperties":"AttachmentURI;deeplinks;DefaultEncodingURL;ExternalMediaURL;HierarchyUrl;OrgParentUrls;OrgUrls;OriginalPath;ParentLink;Path;PictureThumbnailURL;PictureURL;PublishingImage;recommendedfor;ServerRedirectedEmbedURL;ServerRedirectedPreviewURL;ServerRedirectedURL;SiteLogo;SitePath;SPSiteURL;UserEncodingURL",
                     "RenderTemplateId":"~sitecollection\u002f_catalogs\u002fmasterpage\u002fDisplay Templates\u002fSearch\u002fItem_Default.js",
                     "QueryRuleId":"\/Guid(00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000)\/"
                  },
                  {  
                     "Rank":0,
                     "DocId":686,
                     "Path":"http:\u002f\u002fsp2013-dev:18480\u002fSitePages\u002fMakingPiTakesEffort.aspx",
                     "Title":"MakingPiTakesEffort",
                     "OriginalPath":"http:\u002f\u002fsp2013-dev:18480\u002fSitePages\u002fMakingPiTakesEffort.aspx",
                     "PartitionId":"\/Guid(0c37852b-34d0-418e-91c6-2ac25af4be5b)\/",
                     "UrlZone":0,
                     "AAMEnabledManagedProperties":"AttachmentURI;deeplinks;DefaultEncodingURL;ExternalMediaURL;HierarchyUrl;OrgParentUrls;OrgUrls;OriginalPath;ParentLink;Path;PictureThumbnailURL;PictureURL;PublishingImage;recommendedfor;ServerRedirectedEmbedURL;ServerRedirectedPreviewURL;ServerRedirectedURL;SiteLogo;SitePath;SPSiteURL;UserEncodingURL",
                     "RenderTemplateId":"~sitecollection\u002f_catalogs\u002fmasterpage\u002fDisplay Templates\u002fSearch\u002fItem_Default.js",
                     "QueryRuleId":"\/Guid(00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000)\/"
                  },
                  {  
                     "Rank":0,
                     "DocId":139,
                     "Path":"http:\u002f\u002fsp2013-dev:18480\u002fSitePages\u002fOptimusPrimePart.aspx",
                     "Title":"OptimusPrimePart",
                     "OriginalPath":"http:\u002f\u002fsp2013-dev:18480\u002fSitePages\u002fOptimusPrimePart.aspx",
                     "PartitionId":"\/Guid(0c37852b-34d0-418e-91c6-2ac25af4be5b)\/",
                     "UrlZone":0,
                     "AAMEnabledManagedProperties":"AttachmentURI;deeplinks;DefaultEncodingURL;ExternalMediaURL;HierarchyUrl;OrgParentUrls;OrgUrls;OriginalPath;ParentLink;Path;PictureThumbnailURL;PictureURL;PublishingImage;recommendedfor;ServerRedirectedEmbedURL;ServerRedirectedPreviewURL;ServerRedirectedURL;SiteLogo;SitePath;SPSiteURL;UserEncodingURL",
                     "RenderTemplateId":"~sitecollection\u002f_catalogs\u002fmasterpage\u002fDisplay Templates\u002fSearch\u002fItem_Default.js",
                     "QueryRuleId":"\/Guid(00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000)\/"
                  }
               ],
               "ResultTitle":null,
               "ResultTitleUrl":null,
               "RowCount":10,
               "TableType":"RelevantResults",
               "TotalRows":179,
               "TotalRowsIncludingDuplicates":179
            }
         ]
      }
   },
   167,
   {  
      "HasException":false,
      "ErrorInfo":null
   }
]

This JSON structure contains a lot of information – certainly more information than is being displayed by the CSWP. The trick, of course, is in figuring out exactly “what” is “where” for purposes of building a paging system.

Page-Related Processing Within The Control Template

Thankfully, the CSWP provides us with a relatively easy mechanism for getting at the search result data we care about within the JSON object that is returned from the call to client.svc. When a Control display template is invoked by the CSWP, it is passed a context object as follows:

function DisplayTemplate_2aa45a743fd94e75a3e53c940628e2ec(ctx) { ... } 

ctx Content ObjectThe ctx context object contains a number of useful methods, properties, and subordinate objects we can leverage in our attempts to manipulate search results and calculate paging information. We can use ctx to interact directly with the CSWP (which is accessible through the ClientControl property), as well as obtain the search results themselves (and information about them) through the ListData property.

Note: Even though Microsoft’s List with Paging Control template doesn’t provide anything more than relative paging forward and backward, the CSWP does appear to support some form of more advanced paging scheme through its get_pagingInfo() method. When this method is called, it returns an object that contains expanded paging information that includes information about the current page, as well as a subset of pages before and after the current page. The object does not, however, contain all of the information needed to determine the total number of items in the search result set, how to access those pages, etc.

Fortunately for us, though, the ctx.ListData object contains everything we need to implement an end-to-end paging system. Here’s how each of the critical paging information pieces is located or computed within the Control template so that the portion of the control seen below can be rendered:

Paging Line

  • ctx.ListData InspectionTotal number of all search results available. The totalRowCount variable is used within the Control display template scripting to store this value. And the value itself is readily available through the ctx.ListData.ResultTables[0].TotalRows property.
  • Maximum number of items to display per page. This value (represented within the Control display template scripting as rowsPerPageCount) is easily obtained through the ctx.ListData.Properties.RowLimit property. It identifies the maximum number of rows that may be returned in the search results table (through ctx.ListData.ResultTables[0]), and it is the value which should be used to determine the number of individual search results shown in the CSWP.
  • Number of items to display on the current page. In most cases, this value (defined through the rowsOnCurrentPageCount variable within the Control display template scripting) will be the same as the maximum number of items per page. On the last page of results, though, it isn’t uncommon for there to be fewer results available than the maximum number possible. To determine how many items should be shown on the current page of search results, the script simply determines how many rows are present in the current search results table (ctx.ListData.ResultTables[0].RowCount).
  • First page number for the result set. As my kids would say, “Easy peasy lemon squeezy.” This variable (firstPageNumber) always has the intuitive value of 1. This variable should not be confused with the firstPage variable that commonly appears in the OOTB display template scripting. The reference which is assigned to the firstPage variable is a PagingLink object that is meaningful within the context of the pagingInfo object returned from the call to the ctx.ClientControl.get_pagingInfo() – not the page calculations in the display templates associated with this post.
  • Last page number for the result set. This value (represented by the lastPageNumber variable) isn’t readily available in a way that can be “plucked” out of the search data, so the display template scripting simply does a little math to calculate it: Math.ceil(totalRowCount /rowsPerPageCount). In non-code terms: the last page of the total search results set is the total number of results in the set divided by the number of results displayed per page, rounded-down. As with the firstPageNumber and firstPage variables, don’t confuse lastPageNumber with the OOTB lastPage object reference.

In addition to the values described above, a series of calculations are performed to determine the currentPageStartItem and currentPageEndItem variables that represent the first and last item numbers on the current page. Once these values are known and assigned to their respective variables, it becomes a relatively straightforward exercise to display the paging information as is done within the SwissArmy_Control_Template.js Control template. The (not-so-heavy) lifting is accomplished with the following Javascript:

// Figure out the current page information
for (var i = 0; i< pagingInfo.length; i++)
{
	var pl = pagingInfo[i];
	if (!$isNull(pl))
	{
		if (pl.startItem == -1)
		{
			currentPage = pl;
			currentPageNumber = pl.pageNumber;
			currentPageStartItem = ((currentPageNumber - 1) * rowsPerPageCount) + 1;
			if (currentPageNumber == lastPageNumber) {
				currentPageEndItem = totalRowCount;
			} else {
				currentPageEndItem = currentPageNumber * rowsPerPageCount;
			}
		}
	}
}

// Generate page divs and their links
var getPageNumberDivs = function() {
	var currentDiv, divBlocks, pageStartItem;
	divBlocks = '';
	for (var i = firstPageNumber; i <= lastPageNumber; i++) {
		cellStyle = 'sas-paging-tablecell';
		if (i == currentPageNumber) {
			currentDiv = '<div class="sas-paging-tablecell sas-paging-currentpage">';
			currentDiv += i;
			currentDiv += '</div>';
		} else {
			pageStartItem = ((i - 1) * rowsPerPageCount) + 1;
			currentDiv = '<div class="sas-paging-tablecell">';
			currentDiv += '<a href="#" onclick="$getClientControl(this).page(' + $htmlEncode(pageStartItem) + ');return Srch.U.cancelEvent(event);">';
			currentDiv += i;
			currentDiv += '</a></div>';
		}
		divBlocks += currentDiv;
	}
	return divBlocks;
}

// Generate the block that indicates current page, item counts, etc.
var getPageSummary = function() {
	var currentDiv;
	var pageInfo = 'Page {1} of {2}, items {3} to {4} of {5}.';
	pageInfo = pageInfo.replace('{1}', '<span>' + currentPageNumber + '</span>');
	pageInfo = pageInfo.replace('{2}', '<span>' + lastPageNumber + '</span>');
	pageInfo = pageInfo.replace('{3}', '<span>' + currentPageStartItem + '</span>');
	pageInfo = pageInfo.replace('{4}', '<span>' + currentPageEndItem + '</span>');
	pageInfo = pageInfo.replace('{5}', '<span>' + totalRowCount + '</span>');
	currentDiv = '<div class="sas-paging-tablecell sas-paging-summary">' + '</span>';
	currentDiv += pageInfo + '</div>';
	return currentDiv;
}

ms_outHtml.push(''
,''
,'			</ul>'
,''
,'			<div class="sas-paging-table">'
,'				<div class="sas-paging-tablerow">'
,'					', getPageNumberDivs() ,''
,'					', getPageSummary() ,''
,'				</div>'
,'			</div>'
,'		</div>'
,'		'
);

Creating The Page Links

One area does warrant a little more explanation, though, and that is how the hyperlinks are created for each of the clickable page numbers at the bottom of the CSWP. There really isn’t a whole lot of magic behind the creation of the hyperlinks themselves; the results are achieved on line 101 of the SwissArmy_Control_Template.js file:

 
currentDiv += '<a href="#" onclick="$getClientControl(this).page(' + $htmlEncode(pageStartItem) + ');return Srch.U.cancelEvent(event);">';

The pageStartItem variable value is computed as follows …

 
pageStartItem = ((i - 1) * rowsPerPageCount) + 1; 

… where i is the value of the new result page being clicked by the user. For example, if the user clicks on “17” (to indicate a desire to move to page 17 of the search results), the value of i will be 161 when there are 10 items per page.

http://sp2013-dev:18580/DisplayTemplateStyling#k=#s=161

On the server side, SharePoint translates the request for 161 (which can also be reached directly via re-post by attaching a #s=161 to the query string portion of the URL as shown above) to package-up and send down a search results table containing all of the page 17 result items.

How Do I Use The Sample (Downloadable) Files?

Once you’ve downloaded the SwissArmyTemplates.zip file and opened it up, you’ll find that it contains five files:

  • SwissArmy_Control_Template.html
  • SwissArmy_Control_Template.js
  • SwissArmy_Item_Template.html
  • SwissArmy_Item_Template.js
  • SwissArmy_Styles.css

The two HTML files are each of the display templates in their HTML form. These HTML files can be processed through SharePoint 2013’s Design Manager to generate the corresponding JavaScript files that are actually used by the CSWP. Alternatively, the JS files that are included in the ZIP file can be used as-is and dropped directly into the Master Page Gallery > Display Templates > Content Web Parts folder within a site collection to make them available to the CSWP.

The remaining file is a CSS style sheet, and it provides the look and feel that is employed by the display templates. The style sheet itself is referenced from with the Control template files (SwissArmy_Control_Template.html and SwissArmy_Control_Template.js), and the Control template files assume that the style sheet will be available in the following location within the site collection:

~sitecollection/Style Library/en-us/SwissArmyStyles/SwissArmy_Styles.css

If you place the style sheet somewhere else in the site collection, ensure that the $includeCSS() calls in the SwissArmy_Control_Template.html file (line 25) and the SwissArmy_Control_Template.js file (line 164) are updated accordingly.

Final Request

Thanks for citing appropriatelyAs with all of the resources I make available, please feel free to use the display templates and style sheet I’ve provided within your own projects, either as-is or in a form that you’ve modified to suit your needs.

If you do share or redistribute what I’ve provided in some form, whether or not you’ve made modifications, I simply ask that you reference the original source (i.e., me and/or this blog post) in what you’re sharing. I do believe in citing sources where appropriate.

Thanks, and have fun paging through search results!

References and Resources

  1. SharePoint Interface: Files for the Swiss Army Knife CSWP example
  2. MSDN: Content Search Web Part in SharePoint 2013
  3. MSDN: SharePoint 2013 Design Manager display templates
  4. MSDN: Overview of Design Manager in SharePoint 2013
  5. SharePoint Interface: Presentation for SharePoint’s New Swiss Army Knife: The Content Search Web Part
  6. MSDN: 3.1.4.1 ProcessQuery
  7. JSON.org: Introducing JSON

Wrap-Up, Roll-Up, and Move-On!

My time with Idera has come to an end, so I wanted to aggregate some of the resources I assembled with them. I also wanted to share some information about my new company, Bitstream Foundry LLC.

Train Series Sometimes it’s hard to believe just how quickly time flies by. At the tail end of last December, I announced that some big changes were coming for me – namely that I would be transitioning into something new from an employment perspective. Today is the last day of normal business in March 2013, and that means my time with Idera is at an end.

My last three years with Idera have been quite a whirlwind of activity. I feel very fortunate and am extremely thankful to Idera for the opportunities they’ve afforded me – especially over the last year in my role as their Chief SharePoint Evangelist. In that role, I was given the latitude to spend a significant chunk of my time focusing on an area that is very important to me personally: the SharePoint Community.

The Roll-Up

In thinking about my role and some of what I’ve done over the last three years, it occurred to me that it might be nice to summarize and link to some of the materials I assembled while at Idera. I’ve occasionally referenced these items in the past, but I don’t think I’ve ever tried to aggregate them into one post or in one place.

Blog Posts

In the last half a year or so, my regular content generation efforts were being funneled to Idera’s SharePoint “Geek Stuff” blog. Here’s a table (with associated links) to the posts I’ve written:

March 19, 2013 Maskthumb Plan Your SharePoint Farm Right with a SQL Server Alias
February 8, 2013 Strategythumb Do You Have a SharePoint Backup Strategy?
January 17, 2013 Cheating on a Test The Five Minute Cheat-Sheet on SharePoint 2013’s Distributed Cache Service
December 20, 2012 smart girlfriends smiling and looking at the laptop Why Administrators Will Giggle Like Schoolgirls About SharePoint 2013’s New App Model
November 20, 2012 IderaIceThumb1 Sean’s Thoughts on the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2012
October 19, 2012 Broken electric cable. Getting the Permissions Wired-Up Properly When Attaching a Content Database to a SharePoint Farm
September 21, 2012   Okay, Really – What Can I Do With a SharePoint Farm Configuration Database Backup?
August 24, 2012 roots Do I Really Need to Backup Up the SharePoint Root?
June 20, 2012 Talking with John Ferringer Interview with John Ferringer
June 8, 2012 TechEd '99 Baseball Cap TechEd – Why Should You Care?

SharePoint Smarts

There was a point in the past when Idera was publishing a sort of newsletter called “SharePoint Smarts,” and I wrote a couple of articles for the newsletter before it eventually rode off into the sunset:

Whitepapers

Over the years, I’ve also written or co-authored a handful of whitepapers for Idera. At the time I’m writing this post, it appears that a couple of those whitepapers are still available:

And although it isn’t available just yet, sometime soon Idera will be releasing another whitepaper I wrote that had the working title of “SharePoint Caching Implementation Guide.” If that sounds at all interesting, keep an eye on the Whitepapers section of Idera’s Resources page.

Moving-On

Bitstream Foundry LLC Although I’m going to miss my friends at Idera and wish them the best of luck going forward, I’m very excited about some things I’ve got cooking – particularly with my new company!

A couple of months back, I launched Bitstream Foundry, LLC, with the intention of getting back into more hands-on SharePoint work. My intention is to focus initially on a combination of custom SharePoint development work and SharePoint App Store product development. In the past, I’ve been a “switch hitter” when it comes to SharePoint, and I’ve gone back and forth between development and administration roles fairly regularly. Although I’m not abandoning my admin “comrades in arms,” I have to admit that I tend to get the greatest enjoyment out of development work. Between custom solutions and App Model development, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to keep myself busy.

Microsoft BizSpark Things are falling into place with the new company, as well. I applied for membership in Microsoft’s BizSpark program yesterday, and within hours I was accepted – much to my surprise. Why was I surprised? Well, my company website is (at the moment) being redirected to a “coming soon” page I put together on the new Microsoft Azure Web Sites offering. I’ve been waiting for an Office 365 tenant upgrade so that I can build out a proper site on SharePoint 2013, but the upgrade seems to be taking much longer than originally expected …

I also learned today that my application to get Bitstream Foundry listed in the SharePoint App Store was approved, so the way is paved for me to roll out Apps. Now I just need to write them!

One Thing That Won’t Change

Despite all of the recent changes, one aspect of my professional life that won’t be changing is my commitment to sharing with (and giving back to) the SharePoint community. My confidence in my current situation would probably be substantially lower if it weren’t for all of you – my (SharePoint) friends. Over the last several months, my belief in “professional karma” has been strongly reinforced. I’ve always tried to help those who’ve asked for my time and assistance, and I’ve seen that goodwill return to me as I’ve sought input and worked to figure out “what’s next.” To those of you who have offered advice, provided feedback, written endorsements/recommendations, and more, you have my most heartfelt thanks.

I love interacting with all of you, and I still get tremendous enjoyment out of blogging, speaking, teaching, and sharing with everyone in the SharePoint space. My “official” days as a full-time evangelist may be behind me, but that won’t really change anything for me going forward as far as community involvement goes. I’ll continue to answer emails, blog when I have information worth sharing, assemble tools/widgets, help organize events, and generally do what I can to help all of you as you’ve helped me. I’m also honored to be a part of several upcoming events, and I hope to see some of you when I’m “on tour.” If we haven’t met, please say hi and introduce yourself. Making new friends and connections is one of the most rewarding aspects of being out-and-about :-)

References and Resources

  1. Blog Post: Big Changes and Resolutions for 2013
  2. Company: Idera
  3. Yahoo! Finance: Press Release
  4. Idera: SharePoint Geek Stuff Blog
  5. Idera: Resources Page
  6. Microsoft: BizSpark
  7. Company Site: Bitstream Foundry, LLC
  8. Microsoft: Azure Web Sites
  9. Microsoft: Office 365 Enterprise E3
  10. Microsoft: SharePoint App Store
  11. SharePoint Interface: Events and Activities