How to Define a Custom Group Display Template (GroupTemplateId) for the Search Results WebPart via JavaScript

July 29, 2013

For my next blog post I needed to investigate how to use a custom Group Display Template for the Search Results WebPart. Unfortunately you can only set the Control Display Template and the Item Display Template in the Search Results WebPart properties.

Display Template Settings Search Results WebPart

Display Template Settings Search Results WebPart

If you want to specify the group display template, you have two options:

  1. Creating your own Search Results WebPart by extending the default one
  2. Applying a different Group Display Template via JavaScript

In this post I'm only going to explain the second option because I wanted to define it in my custom display templates. It's also easier to have only one Search Results WebPart, so that you do not have to worry when to use which web part.

During the debugging of the default JavaScripts files of SharePoint, I found out that there are three possibilities to set the custom grouping template:

  1. Make the Search Results WebPart think that it's an Content Search WebPart
  2. Overriding the default grouping template reference
  3. Using the set_groupTemplateId function

First method

I found the first method when I compared the properties of the context from Search Results WebPart and the Content Search WebPart.

Search Results WebPart

Search Results WP Properties

Search Results WP Properties

Content Search WebPart

Content Search WP Properties

Content Search WP Properties

The Content Search WebPart has a Group template property which isn't set on the Search Results WebPart. This property can be accessed via ctx['ClientControl'].$j_4

Inside the SharePoint JavaScript code of the search.clientcontrols.js file, there is a resolveRenderTemplate function which checks the Display Template needs to render. If the $j_4 property is filled in, it will use that reference, otherwise it will retrieve the value from the RenderTemplateId property.

To set the $j_4 property, you can use this piece of code:

Note: when I did some tests on Office 365, I found out that it's using a different property: ctx['ClientControl'].$e_4.

Method 2

When the property isn't set in the previous method, it retrieves the reference from the RenderTemplateId property.

You can set the RenderTemplateId property like this:

When this property is set, the code verifies and loads the referenced JavaScript file via the ScriptApplicationManager.

Method 3

I found out that there is a better method when I was checking the Search.ClientControls.debug.js file. It turn out that you have a function called: set_groupTemplateId(value).

This is the best approach for setting a custom grouping template via JavaScript. You can set this GroupTemplatId property like this:

The last thing that needs to be done is to include the custom Group Display Template script in the custom (or default) Control Display Template from the Search Results WebPart.

Check out my next post about how to use this method to get rid of the unnecessary markup of the Search Results WebPart.

Updates

31/07/2013

Added the third method.

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