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About full-text search client

Describes full-text search client.



The Full-text Search Service applies to Optimizely Content Management System (CMS 11) and is not supported on Episerver Digital Experience Platform (DXP) and other cloud service deployments. It is a legacy feature that will be removed in future versions.
This section is not supported for ASP.NET Core-based applications.

The Full-Text Search Client (FTS Client) is a Framework component offering an API for adding, updating, and removing searchable items in a full-text search index. The component itself acts as a REST client, communicating over HTTP using Atom Syndication Format with extensions described in this document. The Optimizely FTS Client API is shipped together with the Optimizely FTS Service which is a WCF REST service on top of an unmodified version of the open-source search engine, Lucene.NET. Optimizely FTS is an attempt to index any kind of data including CMS page data. Content in files is indexed, the installed Ifilters will decide which files are included.

Assemblies and namespaces

The EPiServer.Search assembly contains the following namespaces:

  • EPiServer.Search contains core classes for the EPiServer FTS Client API, most notably the IndexRequestItem, IndexResponseItem, and SearchHandler classes.
  • EPiServer.Search.Configuration contains configuration classes for the Optimizely FTS Client API.
  • EPiServer.Search.Filter contains classes to support providers for filtering search results.
  • EPiServer.Search.Queries contains classes for querying the index service. Built-in queries are found in the EPiServer.Search.Queries.Lucene namespace.
  • EPiServer.Search.Data contains classes for integration with the Dynamic Data Store which is used for the index request queue.

Update the index

You can modify the index as follows:

  • Creating an IndexRequestItem specifying the unique (within the index) item Id and IndexAction (add, update, remove).
  • Populating it with searchable data by assigning properties.
  • Calling the SearchHandler.Instance.UpdateIndex method, passing the IndexRequestItem.

The Optimizely FTS Client requests are asynchronous, meaning that the request is immediately enqueued, and later dequeued in a separate thread in a configurable time interval or when a queue flush is explicitly requested. The queue items are added to an Atom feed which is sent to the FTS service. If the request fails, the batch is kept and sent again at the next time interval until it succeeds. Because the items need to be indexed in the same order they are added, updated, or removed, any failing batch blocks subsequent batches. The feed itself also contains a feed attribute extension Version that contains the name and current version of the Optimizely FTS Client so that the current indexing service can handle different versions of the client.

The SearchHandler.Instance.UpdateIndex has the following overloads:

  • void UpdateIndex(IndexRequestItem item) – Updates the default configured indexing service.
  • void UpdateIndex(IndexRequestItem item, string namedIndexingService) – Updates the configured namedIndexingService. The Episerver FTS Client can thus be configured to use multiple services.


The IndexItemBase is an abstract class inherited by IndexRequestItem and IndexResponseItem with the following public members:

AccessControlListCollectionA list of groups and users that have access to this item. See AccessControlList.
AuthorsCollectionA list of authors to associate with this item.
BoostFactorfloatThe boost factor is used to explicitly set a higher rank of this item when searching.
CategoriesCollectionA list of categories to associate with this item. 
CreatedDateTimeThe date when this item was created.
CulturestringThe culture for this item.
DataUriUriA Uri to where the indexing service should fetch external data that is not part of the feed, such as files.
DisplayTextstringThe part of the searchable text that is supposed to be returned by the indexing service when getting search results.
IdstringThe unique identified for this item within this named index.
ItemStatusItemStatusThe status (Approved, Pending, Removed) for this item.
MetadatastringAdditional searchable data of “unlimited” size that is not supposed to be returned or displayed together with the search results.
ItemTypestringThe type of this item. For example, EPiServer.Community.Blog, EPiServer.Core.PageData.
ModifiedDateTimeThe date when this item was last modified.
NamedIndexstringSpecifies the named index to update when multiple indexes are configured in the indexing service. See Named indexes and Multi search in the About full-text search server topic.
PublicationEndDateTime?The expiration date for this item, after which the item is returned in searches.
PublicationStartDateTime?The start date for when this item is included in searches.
ReferenceIdstringA reference to a “parent” item in the index and is used when having searchable content in sub-items (for example, Comments) where matches in the sub-item should result in a search hit for the parent item. See the ReferenceId section in the About full-text search server topic.
TitlestringThe title of the item.
UriUriThe Uri to use when linking the search result item to the content source.
VirtualPathNodesCollectionA list of nodes that build a path under which the item can be found. Used together with trailing wildcard queries. For example, if item1 has a path of A/B and item2 has a path of A, a query like A* would result in two results (_item1 and _item2) while a query like A/B* would result in one result (_item1_). See VirtualPath in the About full-text search server topic.

Note: Any white spaces within a node are automatically removed.


The IndexRequestItem class inherits the IndexItemBase and holds the searchable content to be indexed.

IndexActionIndexActionEnum for Add, Update, Remove.
AutoUpdateVirtualPathboolBoolean value indicates if the query should affect other items whose virtual path nodes begin with the same nodes as the ones provided in the requested item.


The IndexResponseItem class inherits the IndexItemBase and holds the content returned by the indexing service.

ScorefloatThe score set by the indexing service for this IndexResponseItem.

Querying the index

Querying the index is done by passing an object of type IQueryExpression to SearchHandler.Instance.GetSearchResults. The IQueryExpression interface defines the property string QueryExpression which returns the textual representation of the expression to be parsed by the indexing service.

The SearchHandler.Instance.GetSearchResults has two overloads:

  • SearchResults GetSearchResults(IQueryExpression queryExpression, int page, int pageSize) searches the default configured namedIndexingService and the default namedIndex in the service for matches for the passed queryExpression.
  • SearchResults GetSearchResults(IQueryExpression queryExpression, string namedIndexingService, List<string> namedIndexes, int page, int pageSize) connects to the passed namedIndexingService and searches the list of passed namedIndexes by performing a multi-search. See Named indexes and Multi search in the Full-text search topic.

The page and pageSizeSearchResults parameter together with the TotalHits enables paging of search results, see Paging in the Full-text search topic.

Query enums

The EPiServer.Search.Queries.Lucene namespace contains the following enums that is used by many of the query expressions:

FieldThe Field enum holds values for fields that are separately searchable in the indexing service by queries taking a Field in the constructor. For example, finding occurrences for hello world in the Field. Title and/or sv in the Field.Culture.
LuceneOperatorThe Operator enum holds values for AND, OR, and NOT.

Implemented queries

The EPiServer.Search.Queries.Lucene namespace contains the following query expression implementations compatible with the Optimizely FTS Service:

AccessControlQueryLuceneOperator innerOperatorEmpty constructor. The property AccessControlList returns a List where users and groups can be added that should have read access to the index document. Any group or user added to the query must match at least one group or user in the IndexItemBase.AccessControlList. The default innerOperator is OR.
CategoryQueryLuceneOperator innerOperatorQueries the index for occurrences where there is an exact match for the category literal in the query.
CreatedDateRangeQueryDateTime start,
DateTime end,
bool inclusive
Inherits RangeQuery. Match occurrences where the Created field lies within the start and end parameters.
FieldQuerystring queryExpression,
Field field
Queries the index with the passed queryExpression (typically a word or a phrase) for the passed Field. If no Field is passed the Field.Default is used. Example:

FieldQuery q = new FieldQuery("" looking for something"");

returns occurrences where any searchable field contains the phrase looking for something.
FuzzyQuerystring word,
Field field,
float similarityFactor
Queries the index for occurrences of similar words for the passed word. The higher similarityFactor the more similar the word needs to be to create an index hit. For example, a field containing you may reconsider and this is a reconsideration match for a certain similarityFactor.
GroupQueryyLuceneOperator innerOperatorGroup queries do not query result in any query expression in itself but is used to group queries with an operator between then. The QueryExpressions property returns a List where query expressions can be added with the innerOperator between them. GroupQuery is an IQueryExpression which makes it possible to combine groups and expressions with their respective inner operators recursively.
ItemStatusQueryItemStatus statusInherits GroupQuery. Match occurrences where the ItemStatus value matches any of passed ItemStatus flags.
You can pass several ItemStatus values to the constructor by using bit operands, for example, new ItemStatusQuery(ItemStatus.ApprovedItemStatus.Pending). Occurrences that match ANY of the passed ItemStatus values are accepted as matches.
You should not add additional queries to the ItemStatusQuery QueryExpressions list. If you want to combine an ItemStatusQuery with another query you should combine them using a GroupQuery.
ModifiedDateRangeQueryDateTime start,
DateTime end,
bool inclusive
Inherits RangeQuery. Match occurrences where the modified field lies within the start and end parameters.
ProximityQueryString phrase,
Field field,
int distance
Queries the index for occurrences where the words in the passed phrase exist with the passed distance from each other. For example, a document with the phrase Episerver for the win would match the ProximityQuery phrase Episerver win with the passed distance of 2.
RangeQueryyString start,
string end,
Field field,
bool inclusive
Queries the index for occurrences within the passed literal start and end. For example, 20010202, 20030303, Field.Modified, true match index documents with the Field.Modified set between (and included) the start and end.
TermBoostQueryyString phrase,
Field field,
float boostFactor
Queries the index with a boost factor for the field, giving occurrences for the phrase in the field higher scores/relevance.
VirtualPathQuery()Empty constructor. The property VirtualPathNodes returns a List where path nodes can be added in the order they appear from the root. The resulting path matches any index items with a path that starts with the query path.


The SearchResults class holds data from an indexing service response and is assigned internally when getting IndexResponseItems back from the service:

IndexResponseItemsListGets a list of IndexResponseItems returned by the indexing service
TotalHitsintGets the number of the total matching items in the indexing service.
VersionstringGets the current indexing service name and version.

Filter search results

The Optimizely FTS Client lets you plug in one or many filter providers to explicitly include or exclude specific items from the results by overriding the SearchResultFilter.SearchResultFilterProvider.Filter(IndexResponseItem item) method and adding a provider to the configuration. The SearchResultFilter return type is an Enum with values for Include, Exclude and NotHandled. Where the IndexResponseItem is not handled by this provider, the system should forward it to the next configured provider. If the IndexResponseItem is not handled by any configured provider, the configured defaultInclude behavior is used.

Atom and extensions

The standard Atom format is extended with both attributes and elements with the default EPiServer.Search.IndexingService namespace to map the data in the IndexRequestItem and IndexResponseItem as shown in the following table:

IndexItemBase.AccessControlListACLElement Extension
IndexItemBase.BoostFactorBoostFactorAttribute extension
IndexItemBase.CultureCultureAttribute extension
IndexItemBase.DataUriDataUriAttribute extension
IndexItemBase.ItemTypeTypeAttribute extension
IndexItemBase.MetadataMetadataElement extension
IndexItemBase.NamedIndexNamedIndexAttribute extension
IndexItemBase.ReferenceIdReferenceIdAttribute extension
IndexItemBase.VersionVersionAttribute extension
IndexItemBase.VirtualPathVirtualPathElement extension
IndexRequestItem.IndexActionIndexActionAttribute extension
IndexRequestItem.AutoUpdateVirtualPathAutoUpdateVirtualPathAttribute extension
IndexResponseItem.ScoreScoreAttribute extension

Example of a typical update index request


POST http://localhost.:8072/IndexingService/update/?accesskey=accesskey1 
      Content-Type: f
      Host: localhost.:8072
      Content-Length: 773
      Expect: 100-continue
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
      <feed p1:Version="EPiServer.Search v." 
        <entry p1:IndexAction="add" 
               p1:Type="" p1:Culture="" 
          <p1:Metadata xmlns:p1="EPiServer.Search.IndexingService"></p1:Metadata>
          <ACL xmlns="EPiServer.Search.IndexingService"></ACL>
          <VirtualPath xmlns="EPiServer.Search.IndexingService"></VirtualPath>


HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Length: 0
Server: Microsoft-HTTPAPI/1.0
Date: Mon, 26 Apr 2010 20:02:02 GMT

Example of a typical get search results response


GET http://localhost.:8072/IndexingService/search/?q=EPISERVER_SEARCH_ID%3a(1)&namedindexes=&offset=0&limit=20&format=xml&accesskey=accesskey1 
                Content-Type: application/xml
                Host: localhost.:8072


HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Length: 638
Content-Type: application/xml; charset=utf-8
Server: Microsoft-HTTPAPI/1.0
Date: Mon, 26 Apr 2010 20:02:02 GMT

Example of a typical reset index request


POST http://localhost.:8072/IndexingService/reset/?namedindex=default&accesskey=accesskey1 
         Content-Type: application/xml
         Host: localhost.:8072
         Content-Length: 0


HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Length: 0
Server: Microsoft-HTTPAPI/1.0
Date: Mon, 26 Apr 2010 20:02:00 GMT

Example of a typical get named indexes request


GET http://localhost.:8072/IndexingService/namedindexes/?accesskey=accesskey1 
        Content-Type: application/xml
        Host: localhost.:8072
        Connection: Keep-Alive


HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Length: 1048
Content-Type: application/xml; charset=utf-8
Server: Microsoft-HTTPAPI/1.0
Date: Mon, 26 Apr 2010 20:02:00 GMT