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Our Own Search Engine

J Merrill urges we look at http://www.dtsearch.com/, saying they might be expensive but they might also have software we could use as subroutines.

Andy Fluck at www.thataway.org says he uses the Fluid Dynamics Search Engine (written in PERL) in a minimal way. In the near future he expects to put its full capability to work.

Looking at the results of Freefind.com on SwimGold.org today on behalf of Michelle Davidson and remembering my experience on http://www.nytimes.com/ it is clear that we must have a search engine that does a better job than "one or more words appear one or more times". Google is way better than that. We should be also.

The following are Jim Matysek's comments.

USMS.org uses as its search engine ht://Dig whose website can be found at www.htdig.org. This is a framed site, so you can use the links on the left to navigate, but the specific page showing the tool's features is at www.htdig.org/require.html, and a partial list of sites using this tool is at www.htdig.org/uses.html.

I can't speak for these yet in any detail, but one that I have seen recommended is http://www.mnogosearch.org/. If I were to be looking for a new search engine now, this is where I would start.

I've also seen references to http://www.agl.uh.edu/~saljxk/site_Search/, but with a quick glance there I believe this is not in the same class as ht://Dig or mnoGoSearch.

I used to use a perl script that I believe came from Matt's Script Archives. Can't recall the URL, but doing a web search for Matt's Script Archives should find it easily. This type of search did the search in real-time, covering all pages in a directory at the point of the search. This type of search without an index is not appropriate for larger sites like ours, so I changed as our site grew.

As for using these on a CD, I do not believe it can be done. All search mechanisms that I'm aware of reside on a web server and require some server-side script or other server-side program to be executed to perform the search. When you put a CD into a PC, that PC has the ability to view HTML pages on the CD through the PC web browser and can execute client-side JavaScript code in the HTML file. However, unless that PC has it's own web server installed, you can not execute any server-side scripting or other executable programs from this CD. Client-side JavaScript will not help here either, as the security model for client-side JavaScript does not allow for access to the file system. The same thing goes for any chance of using MySql from a CD - as far as I know it can't be done. You must execute some sort of server-side script in order to access data in a MySql Database, and you also must have a MySql server running in order to use it. Also note that ht://Dig does not use MySql to store it's indexes. From their web site, mnoGoSearch does have a variety of storage options, including MySql, but that alone is not a reason to change to them. If we got better functionality and performance from that tool, those would be reasons to change. At this point, I don't know if that is the case or not.

-jim

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