Use the Content Enrichment web service callout for SharePoint Server

Learn how to implement the Content Enrichment web service in SharePoint to modify the managed properties of crawled items before they are indexed.

Search in SharePoint enables developers to add a custom step to content processing to modify the managed properties of crawled items before they are indexed. This custom step requires the implementation of an external web service--the Content Enrichment web service--that can enrich managed properties of items being processed; and then configuring the system to call this external web service.

Implementation of the external content enrichment web service relies on interfaces under the Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.ContentProcessingEnrichment namespace.

Windows PowerShell Cmdlets to use with the Content Enrichment web service

The Content Enrichment functionality is configured and enabled with the following Windows PowerShell cmdlets:

These Windows PowerShell cmdlets enable an administrator to configure the following:

  • A custom set of managed properties to be sent to the external web service.
  • A custom set of managed properties to be returned by the external web service.
  • A trigger condition, that represents a predicate to execute for every item being processed. If a trigger condition is used, the external web service is called only when the trigger evaluates to true. If no trigger condition is used, all items are sent to the external web service.
  • A FailureMode that enables the web service to either fail items that cannot be processed during the content enrichment step or pass these items through without any modification. If the items are failed, they are not indexed and a warning is written to the ULS log.
  • A DebugMode, that enables rapid prototyping of the external web service. When enabled, the external web service receives all available managed properties. In DebugMode, the trigger condition is ignored and any managed properties output by the web service are also ignored.
  • A SendRawData switch that sends the raw data of an item in binary form. This is useful when more metadata is required than what can be retrieved from the parsed version of the item.

In addition, there are options for specifying size limits and timeouts. See Custom content processing with the Content Enrichment web service callout for a full list of configurable properties.

Prerequisites for using the Content Enrichment web service callout for SharePoint

To complete this how-to, you must have the following installed in your development environment:

  • Search in SharePoint
  • Visual Studio 2010 or similar .NET Framework-compatible development tool
  • Administrator privileges on your SharePoint installation
  • A server on which you can host the service with IIS

You must also know how to create a site in IIS and deploy a service to it

Set up a content enrichment service project

In this step, you will create the service implementation project and then add the required references to the project.

To create the project for a content enrichment service

  1. In Visual Studio, on the menu bar choose File, New, Project.
  2. In Project types, under Visual C#, choose WCF.
  3. Under Templates, choose WCF Service Application. In the Name field, type ContentProcessingEnrichmentService, and then choose the OK button.
  4. Delete the automatically generated Service1 class and Service1 interface.

To add references to the content enrichment service project

  1. On the Project menu, choose Add Reference.

  2. Choose Browse and locate the Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.ContentProcessingEnrichment assembly in your SharePoint installation folder under Installation Path\Microsoft Office Servers\15.0\Search\Applications\External.


    If SharePoint is installed on a machine other than your development machine, copy the assembly over to your development machine and reference it from there.

Create a content enrichment service

Your content processing enrichment service must implement the IContentProcessingEnrichmentService interface from the Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.ContentProcessingEnrichment namespace. The code example in this section is a basic implementation of this interface.

The implementation requires two managed properties for each item received via the external web service: Author and Filename. The Author is a list of String objects and the Filename is a String object.

The IContentProcessingEnrichmentService implementation writes the raw binary data to a temporary location on disk, with Filename as the name of the file. Then, a new name is added to the list of authors and returned to the content processing component.


If the data source for the crawl is an external data source, the ItemRawData property will not have a data stream, but will be null. The string representation of the raw data will be returned in the Item.Body property. This is a limitation of the BCS data source crawler.

To create the class file for the content enrichment service

  1. On the Project menu, choose Add New Item.
  2. Under Visual C# in Installed Templates, choose Web, and then choose WCF Service.
  3. Type ContentProcessingEnrichmentService.svc, and then choose Add.
  4. Delete the IContentProcessingEnrichmentService.cs interface that is created.

To modify the default code in the ContentProcessingEnrichmentService class

  1. Replace the existing using directives with the following using directives at the beginning of the class.

    using System;
    using System.Collections.Generic;
    using System.IO;
    using Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.ContentProcessingEnrichment;
    using Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.ContentProcessingEnrichment.PropertyTypes;
  2. Delete the DoWork method.

To implement the IContentProcessingEnrichmentService interface method

  1. Add the following code inside the class to define the required constants and members.

    // Defines the name of the managed property 'Filename'.
    private const string FileNameProperty = "Filename";
    // Defines the name of the managed property 'Author'
    private const string AuthorProperty = "Author";
    // Defines the temporary directory where binary data will be stored.
    private const string TempDirectory = @"C:\\Temp";
    // Defines the error code for managed properties with an unexpected type.
    private const int UnexpectedType = 1;
    // Defines the error code for encountering unexpected exceptions.
    private const int UnexpectedError = 2;
    private readonly ProcessedItem processedItemHolder = new ProcessedItem
       ItemProperties = new List<AbstractProperty>()
  2. Add the following code for the ProcessItem method.

    public ProcessedItem ProcessItem(Item item)
       processedItemHolder.ErrorCode = 0;
          // Iterate over each property received and locate the two properties we
          // configured the system to send.
          foreach (var property in item.ItemProperties)
             // Check if this is the author property.
             if (property.Name.Equals(AuthorProperty, StringComparison.Ordinal))
                var author = property as Property<List<string>>;
                if (author == null)
                   // The author property was not of the expected type.
                   // Update the error code and return.
                      processedItemHolder.ErrorCode = UnexpectedType;
                      return processedItemHolder;
                   // Adding a new author to the list so it will become searchable.
             else if (property.Name.Equals(FileNameProperty, StringComparison.Ordinal))
                var filename = property as Property<string>;
                if (filename == null)
                   // The file name property was not of the expected type.
                   // Update error code and return.
                      processedItemHolder.ErrorCode = UnexpectedType;
                      return processedItemHolder;
                if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(filename.Value))
                   var fullFilePath = string.Join(char.ToString(Path.DirectorySeparatorChar), TempDirectory, filename.Value);
                   if (item.RawData != null)
                      var outputFile = File.Create(fullFilePath);
                      using (var writer = new BinaryWriter(outputFile))
       catch (Exception)
          processedItemHolder.ErrorCode = UnexpectedError;
       } return processedItemHolder;
  3. Modify web.config to accept messages up to 8 MB, and configure readerQuotas to be a sufficiently large value.

  4. Add the following inside <system.serviceModel>.

       <!-- The service will accept a maximum blob of 8 MB. -->
          <binding maxReceivedMessageSize = "8388608">
             <readerQuotas maxDepth="32"
              maxNameTableCharCount="2147483647" />
                 <security mode="None" />

Build the project and deploy it to your IIS site.

Configure SharePoint

Open the SharePoint Management Shell, and enter the following sequence of Windows PowerShell cmdlets.

$ssa = Get-SPEnterpriseSearchServiceApplication
$config = New-SPEnterpriseSearchContentEnrichmentConfiguration
$config.Endpoint = http://Site_URL/ContentEnrichmentService.svc
$config.InputProperties = "Author", "Filename"
$config.OutputProperties = "Author"
$config.SendRawData = $True
$config.MaxRawDataSize = 8192
Set-SPEnterpriseSearchContentEnrichmentConfiguration -SearchApplication
$ssa -ContentEnrichmentConfiguration $config

The sequence of Windows PowerShell cmdlets help you to first create a configuration object by using the New-SPEnterpriseSearchContentEnrichmentConfiguration cmdlet. The configuration object is then pointed toward your service implementation; as a best practice, use http://localhost:808 for Site_URL.

The managed properties Author and Filename are sent to your service for every item that is being processed. In addition, you have informed the web service client that the service will output a single managed property, Author. In additional to managed properties, the web service client is configured to send the raw data of the item with a limitation on the size of the data. Finally, the Set-SPEnterpriseSearchContentEnrichmentConfigurationcmdlet is used to store the entire configuration. After this cmdlet returns, the configuration is active and the crawl component uses this configuration for its next crawl process.

After this is finished, you can start a full crawl of your site. If the service is working correctly, you should be able to monitor the temporary folder on the server hosting your site for the documents written to disk.

You can remove the configuration later by using the following Windows PowerShell cmdlet.

Remove-SPEnterpriseSearchContentEnrichmentConfiguration -SearchApplication $ssa

See also