Search-centric navigation is the future! Enhance your UX with search suggestions

August 16, 2022 | 5 minute read
Sasank Vemana
Director, PeopleTools Product Management
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PeopleTools 8.59 introduced several enhancements to the Search Framework which makes a compelling case for our customers to adopt a search-centric navigation experience. That’s right, we can simply use search to navigate to any destination page (where we want to go) and use search to find application data and drill straight into the transaction (what we want to do).

Image illustrating search first navigation experience with menu search, keyword search and search suggestions

Easily find where you want to go

Finding pages is so much faster and more intuitive with suggestions that drop down as we start typing.

Menu search from the homepage in PeopleTools 8.59 with intuitive drop down suggestions as we type

Did you know we can search for tiles now?

Yes, another improvement in PeopleTools 8.59 is that we can search for tiles! In prior releases, we could only search for portal registry structures (a.k.a. menu items). Now, we have a unified and centralized search for menu items and tiles.

Menu search on the homepage used to search for tiles

So, if we don’t remember the parent homepage for a tile, we can simply use the search!

Or better yet, we can find and drill straight into a transaction

This is not a new feature in PeopleTools 8.59. We were always able to search for application data using global search and drill into transactions directly from there. But the improvements to global search including prominent and readily available search on the homepage, intuitive suggestions, and real time indexing – make this an attractive prospect. Further, search provides the ability to use free-form keywords instead of a structured SQL-based lookup at the field level.

Illustration of job data search with free-form text using global search

Did you know about search suggestions?

Navigation suggestions

When we search for any navigation (menu item or tiles) in PeopleTools 8.59, we are presented with useful suggestions. First, we get keyword matches from our most recently visited history - prioritized at the top. These suggestions are differentiated by a blue clock icon. Second, we get weighted suggestions based on other users’ recent access. Of course, this conforms to security and access control; and suggestions will only appear if we have access to them. Next, we get the usual matches from the portal registry. Pretty smart!

Navigation search suggestions categories - most recently visited by user, most recently visited suggestions from other users, and search based on portal registry.

Application data keyword suggestions

In global search, we can pick any application data search context (Job Data, Supplier Data, etc.) and simply use free-form keywords to find transactions. This is existing behavior. However, this experience is further improved by suggestions that contain our most recently visited transactions prioritized at the top. These suggestions are also highlighted by a blue icon.

Application data keyword search suggestions with most recently visited transactions on the top

Let’s walk through the example highlighted in the image above. Let’s assume I log in to the application and want to find a job data transaction that I interacted with a few days ago. Let’s say, I don’t recall any identifying information (keys) about the transaction beyond the fact that it was related to a ‘training specialist’. I can simply search using the free-form keyword ‘training specialist’ and I will be able to locate my recently visited transaction - easily distinguished by the blue icon, drill straight into the page, and continue working.

Search suggestions have the power to make the application incredibly efficient. That will translate to a far superior user experience. In fact, if there is one thing that you can do as a customer to transform the user experience of your PeopleSoft applications during your PeopleTools 8.59 upgrades; it is to implement search suggestions. This is most definitely a low-cost and high-value proposition.

Use the following simple steps to enable search suggestions.

Step 1: Verify Real Time Indexing at the system level

Search suggestions are powered by real time indexing (RTI) which was also introduced in PeopleTools 8.59 to provide the ability to send near real-time updates to search indexes in Elasticsearch (search engine). To verify real time indexing is enabled at the system level, we need to ensure that the RTI server process, PSRTISRV, is enabled on the Process Scheduler domain. This can be done by reviewing the RTI parameter using PSADMIN.

PSADMIN process scheduler configuration for real time indexing


The search definitions PTSF_RECENTMENU and PTSF_RECENT_KW are delivered in PeopleTools 8.59 along with RTI capability. These search definitions index the data on recent navigation and keyword searches and are used for search suggestions. We need to enable RTI on these search definitions using the Configure Real Time Indexing page. An example is shown in the image below.

Configure Real Time Indexing page

Once we enable RTI, a Trigger SQL will be available on the Configure Real Time Indexing page. We can download and deploy the Trigger SQL at the database layer. Refer PeopleBooks: Using the Configure Real Time Indexing page for more details.

That’s it! You (and your users) are ready to enjoy a search-centric navigation experience.

Sasank Vemana

Director, PeopleTools Product Management

Oracle/PeopleSoft Enthusiast, Developer, Architect, Strategist, Advocate

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