Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Retirement of Dynamic Ordering feature in classic search experiences

In MC44789 post from April 22nd, 2023, Microsoft announced the retirement of the dynamic ordering feature experience in classic search.

If you don’t know what the feature is, the below image highlights the feature seen in the query builder in classic search result sources, query rules and search web parts.


The above screenshot show a rule which if it matches the term xrank in the title results will be boosted to the top of the result list.

Wait what?? So I will no longer be able to boost items per my own logic? Sure you can, and this is called out in the MC post – “Functional parity may be achieved by adding XRANK clauses directly to the query template in the Query Builder dialog.”

Previously when testing the query from the test tab you could see the output of the final query. However this is no longer the case and I’ll teach you how to transition dynamic rules over to manual XRANK.


Today using the constant boost, or cb, parameter to rank is not the recommended approach. The reason is that the internal rank scale has changed over the years so the value 5,000 may or may not be required to move something to the top. The below example has a rank of –17921 so adding 5000 would not help.


The recommended parameter to use today is to use standard deviation boost with the stdb parameter.

See https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/graph/search-concept-xrank or https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/dev/general-development/keyword-query-language-kql-syntax-reference#dynamic-ranking-operator for all parameters.

Manually writing dynamic ordering rules as XRANK

A query temple to boost a result to the top can then look like:

{?{searchTerms} XRANK(stdb=100) Title:xrank}

Feel free to replace 100 with a smaller or larger number as needed.

If you want to boost items with title=foo pretty high, and less with title=bar you can use a nested XRANK statement, similar to what multiple dynamic ordering rules will accomplish.

{?({searchTerms} XRANK(stdb=5) Title:foo) XRANK(stdb=2) Title:bar}

If you want to demote results instead of promoting them, use a negative number.

If you go for decimals instead of integers, I recommend reading https://www.techmikael.com/2014/11/you-should-use-exponential-notation.html to ensure they always work.