SES Troubleshooting

The SES, Secure Enterprise Search, is used by PeopleSoft 9.2 as it’s search engine. There are lots of great resources for setting up the SES, but I want to share one troubleshooting tip that has resolved many of our SES issues.

Behind the scene, SES relies on the Feed Publishing Framework to get data from PeopleSoft. The Feed Publishing Framework takes a query and generates an RSS feed. That RSS feed is what the SES reads to get new data.

Check the Feed!

When you run into issues setting up the SES, one “trick” I use is to view the feed directly. I say “trick” because this might be unknown or forgotten by people, but we are only the RSS feed with the SES user account. By looking at the feed in a browser, we can immediately identify security issues or bad configuration.

Viewing the Feed

To view the feed, we need to log into the SES console and get the URL for the search index, and the User ID that SES will use to access the feed. For the search index URL,
click on the “Sources” tab and select the “Edit” option for the search index you want to test. In the “User Defined Source” page, you will see a URL in the “Configuration URL” box. Copy this URL into a new browser session (I use a Chrome Private Browsing session; want to log in as a new user and don’t want to mix our browser cookies with any you have stored).

After you paste the URL into a new browser window and hit Enter, you are prompted for a username and password. Enter the username from the “User Defined Source” page, and it’s appropriate password. You do not want to log in with your personal account; the purpose of this exercise is to log with the account the SES uses.

After you authenticate as the SES user, you will see an RSS feed (an XML file with special tags). In the RSS file, you should see a feedLocation tag with a URL inside. Copy this new URL and paste it into a new tab in your browser (I use a new tab because I want the new URL to use our SES user cookie).

After you paste the new URL and hit Enter, you should see another RSS file. Depending on the index you picked, and how many times it has been crawled, you may see one or more entries in the feed. For our testing, find the first link tag and copy the URL inside that entry. Copy the URL and paste it into a new tab in your browser.

After you paste the URL and hit Enter, you should see a final RSS feed. During my testing, this last page is where you will most likely encounter errors. The last file is actual data PeopleSoft publishes to the SES with the Feed Publishing Framework. If you can’t access the last RSS URL, you mostly likely have a security issue for the SES user account.

You can repeat this process using your personal account, or the account of a super user to help identify what security is missing. If you can view the RSS file using the SES account, then your SES account has proper security. The steps we followed to open the URLs is what the SES follows when it tries to crawl the feed. If you run into any errors opening feeds, the SES will encounter the same errors.

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