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jcall

3 Simple Steps to Better Forum Searching

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Many folks, forum newbies and veterans alike, have at one time or another expressed frustration with their attempts to effectively search these forums. Some (including myself) have suggested searching via Google instead (though this has the obvious drawback of not finding up-to-the-minute results).

 

Here are a few simple steps that can go a long way to in your quest for osCommerce knowledge.

 

1) Click on the "Advanced Usage Help" link. It's really not just for long complicated searches; but rather gives some valuable insight into how to search more effectively.

 

2) Use the + symbol to require a specific word to be in the search results. For example, if you want to know more about optimizing your site for Google, consider the following searches:

  • Google Search Engine Optimization (returns 24789 results!)
     
  • +Google +Search +Engine +Optimization (returns 51 results)
     
  • +Google +SEO (returns 166 results)

3) Use " " to search for a complete phrase. For example, if you want to know more about changing the text "Welcome Guest! Would you like to log yourself in?" to something more personalized, consider the following searches:

  • "Welcome Guest! Would you like to log yourself in?" (Search fails because some words are too short)
     
  • Welcome Guest (returns 2076 results!)
     
  • "Welcome Guest!" (returns 292 results)

As you can see, just a few search operators can make quite a big difference.

Wallgualant likes this

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Thanks for the guide. Veteran of phpbb but invision power board (ie this board) has been driving me mad when searching - didnt think to try the advanced section :blush:

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I'm curious - - has anyone else found this userful?

 

-jared

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yes, it's good to point out the basics for how to search are also applicable here ...

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I just wish I could get this stickied somewhere - - soooo many folks seem to get frustrated at their unsuccessful searches.

 

-jared

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many folks seem to get frustrated at their unsuccessful searches

Yes, i'm one of them, since a lot of time ago i gived up with the search tool and turned to use google.

Thanks for posting these tips, they really helped me.

 

:thumbsup:

Cheers.

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Thanks for the reminder.

 

When one is slugging it out at midnight with a problem, it is easy to forget these useful tools.

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Why does searching for "aaa bbb ccc" return the error that some words are too small? This basically makes using " " around text useless unless all the words happen to be longer then the minimum.

 

The search should treat everything inside the quotes as ONE big keyword, not a bunch of little words.

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Why does searching for "aaa bbb ccc" return the error that some words are too small? 

 

It's the default behavior of the Invision Power Board. I suppose that the theory is that it avoids having to search for words like "the" and such. In practice, though, I agree - - the limitation for small words shouldn't apply when there are multiple quoted words.

 

When I find myself in that situation, I'm usually looking for an error message or page text. First, I do one of two things (sometimes both):

  • Use other words in the error message, preceded by the + sign (to require those words in the results.
  • Use Google, which does not have the small word limitation.

Obviously Google won't be able to include the absolute most recent posts in its results, but you may find what you're looking for that way.

 

If I'm on the hunt for a particular error message or text string, I go to the local copy of osCommerce 2.2 MS2 source code, downloaded to my PC, and use grep (Unix/Linux tool that you can also download for Windows) to search for it.

 

As an example, if I'm searching for every instance of "Would you like to log yourself in", I'd go to the oscommerce-2.2ms2 directory, and enter the following:

 

grep -r "Would you like to log yourself in" *

 

to recursively search all files for that string.

 

FWIW, grep seems much faster to me than Windows Find. You don't have to tell it explicitly to search .php files, either.

 

-jared

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I don't even try using Windows search because of the flakey results. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. I know that sounds weird, where you'd think it would either work correctly or not, but sometimes it does sometimes it doesn't.

 

Anywho... I've thought about it more and IPB probably does this because it's really not searching for a full phrase such as "what do we have here". It would be highly ineffecient to try to find something like this (a full phrase) that could be anywhere in 100,000's of posts.

 

Instead, IPB probably uses some sort of indexing to speed up searches, where they search for each word in the quoted phrase as seperate items. So their minimum keyword length still applies to quoted phrases.

 

Not sure but that's my guess.

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IPB probably uses some sort of indexing to speed up searches, where they search for each word in the quoted phrase as seperate items.  So their minimum keyword length still applies to quoted phrases.

 

I believe that to be correct. I know that Kanisa site search seems to use a similar algorithm, and they tout it as being much better than simple boolean logic. That's only true if you know how to use it, though, and most folks are simply used to searching with an implicit boolean AND.

 

-jared

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I'm curious - - has anyone else found this userful?

 

-jared

 

Yes, Jared! I just had to use the forum's search tool to find this trick again... this time I'll write it down. Many thanks!

 

Janet :lol:

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Yes, Jared! I just had to use the forum's search tool to find this trick again... this time I'll write it down.  Many thanks!

 

Janet :lol:

 

I believe I spent my fair share of time searching through my search results before I finally clicked on that help link . . .

 

I can relate. :thumbsup:

 

-jared

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I just wish I could get this stickied somewhere - - soooo many folks seem to get frustrated at their unsuccessful searches.

 

-jared

 

 

I just found the advanced search the other day. Sometimes it seems to help, and other times it doesn't seem to be working. If I enter a search for: +WordA +WordB +WordC, the first 20 entries might have only WordA or only WordB, and then entry 21 will actually have all three. That is pretty frustrating.

 

And then sometimes, I know what I want to find, but I can't think of the LINGO for it, so I can't think of how to search for it . . .

 

But the search function is my good friend & I have found answers to dozens of questions I haven't had to repost. It has made me more careful about going back to post solutions for future searchers.

 

Thanks!

 

Wendy

http://eleanormarie.com

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Thanks for pointing out this useful trick. I hadn't really thought about using advanced usage help for search and it saved me from reading through a lot of posts that weren't relevant to my search. :D

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I'm glad you're finding it useful! I can't tell you how much time I could have saved if I hadn't been searching through my search results.

 

-jared

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Well, this is a good tip, but I thought that was clear anyway. When you go to search (not even advanced?) but [search] you already get a link (right under the fill in box) with [ Advanced Usage Help ] With the basic of what Jared explained here. Of course, i can imagine, its helpfull to explain a bit more in detail to some people.

 

Kind regards,

Tom

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True, Tom. It's not clear to everyone, simply because most people are used to a simple AND search and that's not what we have.

 

-jared

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--- sorry ---

 

Did something verry wrong, lol, a result didnt show up as i thought it would be, and posted the result here, but i used dubblequotes instead of single ones ( " " and not ' ' :s)

 

--- so i edited this post back ----

 

Greets

tom maene

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For the benefit of the thread, will you please clarify what you saw differently between "search for this" and 'search for this" ?

 

Thanks!

 

-jared

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I just wish I could get this stickied somewhere - - soooo many folks seem to get frustrated at their unsuccessful searches.

 

-jared

 

 

Me toooo...

 

zaenal

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