We Got a Situation With The Federation

Over the last week my team has received reports from customers running both MOSS 2007 and SharePoint 2010 that Federated Search Results are no longer working. The Federated location in question seems to be centered around Bing/live.com.

I setup a test this morning in my SP2010 lab and I can confirm the out of the box (OOB) ‘Internet Search Results’ Federated location is no longer working. In fact when you add the Federated Web Part on a Search Results page and choose this location a very long delay will occur when attempting to render the search results page. Doing a sniff I can see the original request for search.live.com gets redirected to bing.com which has been typical in the past however the difference is that instead of being an RSS response, as specified in the format query string parameter, the response is sent back in HTML which injects a delay as the results are processed. Eventually the results cannot be processed and the Search Federated Results Web Part does not render any output.

The original URL being requested is:
which gets redirected to:

As you can see when you click on this link a response does come back but just not in the format we expect.

So what’s the matter you?

Well obviously need to change the Federation configuration!

UPDATE #1: Within a matter of minutes after sending an email to a Bing DL here at Microsoft I had someone pick up the phone and give me a call to discuss the issue. Within a hour I had multiple Bing team members jumping in to look at this which included reproducing the issue and discovering root cause. The Bing team has agreed to release a fix on Tuesday (Aug 9th, 2011).

UPDATE #2: As promised the Bing team deployed a fix and the world is right again. Feel free to go back into your Federation location settings and put the Query Template and More Results Template URIs back to their default values.

The fix is to change the Query Template

FROM: http://search.live.com/results.aspx?q={searchTerms}&count={itemsPerPage}&first={startitem}&mkt={language}&format=rss&FORM=SHAREF

TO: http://api.bing.com/rss.aspx?source=web&q={searchTerms}&count={itemsPerPage}&first={startItem}&mkt={language}&FORM=SHAREF

Note I removed the format query string parameter since we are hitting a handler which returns RSS already.

In addition to changing the Query Template we want to change the ‘More Results’ Link Template. This template is the URI which is used when someone clicks on the ‘More Results’ link within the Search Federation Web Part. Normally this opens a new tab or browser window when clicked so we probably don’t want to display RSS but rather HTML formatted results which can be achieved using the following URI:


Once you have made these changes you need to perform an IISReset since the location configuration information is cached. After the IISReset you can test and verify the issue is resolved.