Desktop search and ink-enabled applications


With MSN’s recent release of some more details on how to integrate with their desktop search, I’m deep into trying to make it work with my Agilix InfiNotes-derived note-taking application.

Here’s the basics of what I understand so far.

First, what am I talking about? Well, MSN provides a Desktop Search appliciation that you can install on your system which enables you to rapidly search documents, emails, images, and more. Searching OneNote is even supported. There are other desktop search tools from Google and Copernic and others, but they all work differently. I’ll focus on MSN’s desktop search for now because of these search utilities I have a hunch that MSN’s has the best chance of supporting ink well.

What forms of search support is required in by an application? There are several, but the areas I’m most interested in are:

* being able to search the my custom notes documents (including recognized ink and text).
* providing previews of the notes in the desktop browser

The first part is accomplished by adding or customizing “addins”. At the low-level is a COM interface that implements IFilter. The second part doesn’t really have an API, but can be accomplished via some MSHTML magic.

So what information is available to a developer that wants to support MSN desktop-style searching? Here’s what I’ve found:

* Main MSN developer API page
* List of MSN third-party add-ins for desktop search
* Channel9 MSN desktop search WiKi for addin developers
* MSN UI developer, Steve Ickman, has a blog in which he provides details on integrating with MSN desktop search.
* Brandon Paddock blogs about some desktop search hacks here.
* MSN Search Newsgroup. Some developer discussions. Mostly user issues.
* Some general MSN search how-to stuff
* MSN Search Weblog
* Hmmm…there’s a couple more I can’t quite recall…I’ll add them to the list.

Developer information on supporting MSN’s desktop search is a bit sparse, so be prepared for lots of re-reading and writing of test apps to figure things out.

Tomorrow I’ll get into some details on a minimalist way that I got MSN desktop search to make my notes searchable and then I’ll get into the “real” way.


  1. Yeah…I keep checking back in hopes that the things I want to do are included in the latest SDK.