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Highlighted Search Terms

Highlighted Search Terms

January 25th, 2006  · stk
If you have a b2evolution blog, you'll be interested in this plugin by Astonish Me!. It highlights multiple search terms and actually improves the relevant search returns. See it demonstrated and get your hands on a copy.

03-Feb-2007 - New Version!

Search term highlighting has been absent from this blog for several months (ever since upgrading from v1.6 "alpha" to v1.8.2 "Summer Beta" in July). The good news is that search term highlighting has RETURNED for v1.9.2 "Kyoto". It skipped the v1.8 series (might be gotten to work with it, however ... anyone want to try?).

It's different from the original a tad.

  1. One-click install - (no skin hacking)! :D
  2. Doesn't necessarily improve search results.**

**(It's 'brand new' and we're still testing it).

If you want to give it a try ... head here.

Finally, a Search That Works

I'm happy to announce that Astonish Me has come up with a plug-in that actually improves search results, in addition to highlighting multiple search terms.

First, this is "bleeding edge" stuff. It is really targeted for b2evolution versions 1.7 CVS and higher. It's loaded here, in a v1.6 "Alpha" release, but because v1.6 lacks certain SESSIONS PHP functions, it doesn't work perfectly. (Still, it's superior to what's available 'out of the box', and because of that, I'm using it and it's available for you to preview).

Check it out. Type a search term like "Alex" into the search box on the sidebar and hit "Go". See how the term is highlighted? Sweet. :)

Try more than one term ... such as "alex rachel" ... see how each term is colored differently?

If you're interested in finding out why it beats the standard search and to find out more about how you can get your hands on the plugin for your blog ... read on ...

Better Than the Original

The best part about this plug-in is that it is actually improves the number of relevant search returns. In a default install, b2evolution (which, of course, doesn't hightlight search terms) ... will return matches that are *cough* inside HTML tags. This means positive hits for things you can't even see. 88|

"What's the big deal?" you might ask.

A simple example will demonstrate the point. Try searching for "img". Notice the results (THIS post is returned, because the "read more" contains the text "img" ... but none of the other posts on the front page are returned). Try searching for "img" on your own site. Yours will return every post that has an image tag in it. Constrast - Here, it returns only those posts which actually contain the text "img" (either as a separate word or as part of a word). That's a big difference. Especially when your searching a site for HTML code in a posted script. ;)

To make matters worse, when one highlights such search terms, it throws formatting tags into the middle of HTML tags ... not a good thing. When that happens ... at best - the results look ugly, at worst - they 'break' your site (especially if, like here, you're serving an XHTML v1.1 MIME type of "application/xhtml+xml", in which case your site won't even LOAD. All visitors see is a page that says "XML ERROR"). Yuck!

Our plug-ing fixes those problems and as a result, searches return entries that actually contain the terms you're searching for. Imagine that!

How do You Get Your Hands on a Copy?

We are still tweaking the final plug-in code on our Astonish Me! site, so it's not yet available. (We want it to be "perfect").

The best way to get a copy is to sign up for membership at the Astonish Me! website (members have access to the plugins, when they're released, 60 days in advance of the general public). So when we DO release it ... you'll have first crack at it. Because the plugin requires a CVS 1.7 or Beta release of the "Phoenix" b2evolution software (and Beta isn't out yet), even members will need to wait for it's release (any day now). We'll broadcast an email out to Astonish Me! members as soon as the Beta release of b2evolution is out.

This isn't the only thing we have going on at Astonish Me!. We're busy, writing a number of other "Phoenix" plug-ins, articles on XHTML, CSS, b2evolution blogging, as well as a host of other useful tools. We're just getting started. Come join us! Membership is still offered at a relatively low price of $25US for 12 months.

Hope to see you there!

Hmmm. I was always leery about search returns, which is why I never allowed the radio buttons for "phrases" and such. Now that search works in a more reliable fashion, I'll have to add that functionality ... but alas, like you, I'll wait till the "Beta" release of b2evo is available for download.

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1.flag Thom Comment
04/10/06
Very nice site. Which version of b2evo are you using? I'm using .91, but have been thinking of upgrading to the new Alpha version. I like the customizations you made, I'm sure you can tell from my site it needs some work. I'd appreciate hearing any tips or suggestions from you, it looks like you really know what you are doing.
2.flag E. I. Sanchez Comment
12/01/06
I tried to demo it on your site but it didn't work ("alex"). I also tried installing it in my 1.8.5 version but I got an error so I removed it.

I downloaded mine from the http://b2evo.astonishme.co.uk site...

Any thoughts?

Thanks.
3.flag stk Comment
12/02/06
E.Sanchez,

Sorry. I had to do a bunch of modifications to my skin's _main.php file, in order to get it to work with b2evo v1.6.

I haven't looked at it, since installing v1.8.1.

I'd recommend posting a comment with the specifics of your error, on the astonishme.co.uk site.

Hope this helps.

-stk