Many of you use Google™ to find our content. This is good and we try to optimize our content to be found by Google as much as possible.And you certainly know that you can use expressions like site:help.sap.com to restrict your search to the SAP Help Portal. You can also create your own search provider for your browser.
Nice article Sven, very informative.
I've got to say though, even as a 10-year veteran of SCN and SMP, I find the search results baffling, I can only imagine what it must be like for newbies
Your search is a great example, you searched for SAP NetWeaver and it came up with SAP Jam
The search engine I came to love over years of practice, is the SAP Notes search. It's a very peculiar search engine but it's quite effective when used right. It's definitely worth spending some time getting to know and I much prefer it to the XSearch.
Search is definitely one area that the community would sorely love improvements in, as part of the 1DX program.
The thing that I'm afraid of right now is that SAP removes the trusty SAP Notes search as part of 1DX.
Thanks for the cudos John,
And you're right: there is still room for improvement. What you say about the SAP Notes search is basically one of my main messages. Carefully select your source and use specific filters on that content. Instead of searching across all availbale repositories at once I rather suggest searching them one by one.
Regarding your concerns that 1DX may worsen the search experience I can say that 1DX also aims to improve the metadata tagging of the entire content. So even if a particular search does not work as you expect in the beginning I think over time the overall search experience should become significantly better.
I have to second what John says about the old Notes search tool, which is different from the SCN or cross-search. It only searches Notes and KBAs, of course, but within that subset it allows much more fine-grained filtering than the SCN search. For instance, I can filter a Notes search not only by application area (and this is not the same as filtering by SCN space), but also by software release and support pack level. I can filter by dates the Note was released. It also gives a reasonable (but not perfect, unfortunately) "relevance" ranking, though I go back and forth between wanting to see what the tool thinks is most relevant to simply seeing what the most recent Notes on a particular keyword are. I do find it odd, though, in the Notes search, that when choosing to sort by date, it defaults to showing the oldest Notes first, when I'm pretty sure most people would want to see the newest ones first.
That said, I use the SCN search a lot as well -- I often have both up in different tabs -- and use the filters the way you describe, which can be very helpful. However, I find it seems a bit buggy at times, in that it will return an error, or tell me no hits were found (when clearly there should be hundreds), or scramble the filters I had set.
I agree with John that the good old note search worked quite well for its purposes. Personally I don't like the search on new support portal a single bit.
No disrespect to Sven and it's otherwise good and helpful blog but I've been saying it since 2008 that SAP should just fold it and outsource all the search to Google. Why are you guys even spending time on it? 7 years later Google still does a better job.
For example, just recently I had a question about the geography hierarchy in Lumira. Google finds this article: Creating geography and time hierarchies - SAP Lumira - a quick overview - SAP Library and it's the top link.
But if I go to the SAP Help portal, this is what I get:
Why is it assuming I'm looking for latitude (I'm not)? Why there are 4 items with exactly the same name? If I hover over I can see those are for different Lumira versions, but there is no filter for the version as in the Netweaver example. And they are not even sorted by version. Wouldn't it be logical to put the most recent one on top?
And don't get me started on the content. Here is step 1:
What the heck is 'cogwheel' and where are those 'down arrows'. What screen are these instructions for? Why is there not a single picture? I came to this page with a question and now I'm even more confused and have to google what a cogwheel looks like (oh, it's just a gear!)
P.S. Also indexes seem to be rebuilding 75% of the time when I visit SAP pages. Hmm, I've never seen Google rebuild theirs...
Thanks for your feedback, Jelena,
Believe me: also Google re-indexes its content - they are just doing it smarter
This, but also the redundant search result records that popped up in your example are also a nuisance to us. So we try our best to improve it on a continuous basis. This is again where 1DX should result in some improvements. As said in my comment to John, we want to switch to a better metadata concept, so we can better identify the redundant result records and also provide the release filters consistently.