Understanding SharePoint – Part 6 – Duplicate Content Sources bound to multiple indexes causes duplicate alerts to be fired


I had a theory that this caused problems and validated it today while working with a customer who has a large number of content sources spread across multiple indexes.



Note: First of all, poking around through the UI to look at all the details of indexes, content sources, etc is a real pain.  Thus (You guessed it :)) I wrote a tool to gather and export this information so that I could look at it holistically.  It was actually a modification to the SPSAddCS tool in the SharePoint utility suite, just modified to use XML and added a "Read" operation to it to dump the data in XML.





Once I've had a chance to test it out in more detail, I'll post the code for it as well.


Since this customer had 4+ portal indexes with approximately 10 content sources per index, it made it allot easier to look at everything and spot the problem quickly.


Once I saw that they had two content sources pointing to the exact same content yet on two different indexes, it was a simple matter of setting this up on a plain Jane standalone SharePoint Portal Server 2003 box to validate.


I validated this using the following setup on my local test server.



  • Created a plain IIS web site and placed a default web page with the following contents:

  • <html>

    <body>

    <P>Hello!</P>

    <P>Keith Richie was here</p>

    </body>

    </html>

  • Issued a search in the portal for “Keith Richie”, then selected “Alert Me” to create a portal alert, with its’ settings set to immediate

  • Added a content source to this plain web site did a full crawl and confirmed that the notification was sent

  • Created a new index


    • Created a duplicate content source to the same plain web site bound to this index

    • Made an update to the default web page

    • Did a full crawl on both indexes, and I received two notifications about the same change

  • Created a third new index


    • Created a third duplicate content source to the same plain web site bound to this index.

    • Made an update to the default web page

    • Did a full crawl on all three indexes, and I received three notifications about the same change

Depending on your structure, and Exclude/Include rules created, this can occur for SharePoint sites as well


You ARE however, blocked from creating a duplicate content source on the same index, but not on a completely different index.  When you attempt to create a duplicate source address on the same index, you'll get the following error message:




“The object you are trying to create already exists. Try again using a different name. “


But if you are creating this on a different index, you will not get a warning.


In MOSS 2007, you are not allowed to even have multiple indexes unless you create multiple SSPs.  I'm not 100% up to snuff on the WSS 3.0/MOSS 2007 alert architecture, but I am very curious and would suspect that you would encounter the same problem, and could confuse users.


 - Keith



Previous Posts on this series:

Understanding SharePoint Series

Skip to main content