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IP.Board 3.1.0 Dev Update: Search Overhaul

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When we developed IP.Board 3, one of the main goals was to centralize searching and simplify it to provide results cleanly and concisely. Since then we have had a lot of emphatic feedback on how to develop the search further and to improve the interface.

We've have taken all that feedback on board and completely overhauled search making it more flexible and more useful. This blog entry lists the major improvements. There's a lot to get through, so lets get started.

Search Form

The search form has been redesigned with separate applications in mind. Right away you'll notice that there are radio buttons to select which app you want to search in which then presents its own filtering options.


As the filter and sort options are unique to the application, you can request to sort by very specific fields such as topic title, views, etc.


Full boolean searching is supported with the ability to choose the search mode between "match all words" and "match any words". Phrase searching is also available, for example searching for "roses are red" will find topics or posts that match that phrase precisely.

Search Results

This screen shot shows the search results as a topic list. You'll notice immediately two things; first it now shows hidden or soft deleted topics in the result stream (assuming you have permission to see them) and also a multi-moderation checkbox to the right.


As when viewing a normal forum, you can select multiple topics and perform moderation on them in a few clicks. This makes it much easier to moderate the board especially as the same functionality is applied to both "View New Content" and "Active Content" and User's Content.


We've also implemented the topic preview when you mouse over the topic row.


This screen shot shows the same search but listed as posts. You'll note it uses the familiar post template and also has multi-moderation available.

Multiple Content Types

Now that applications have more control over the search itself, you can specify multiple content types that can be searched. The 'members' tab allows you to search through members or profile comments.


This screen shot shows the result of searching in profile comments.

Finding User Content
As of IP.Board 3.1, "Find my posts" and "Find my topics" have been merged into a more useful view "User's Content". This works across all applications so you can quickly view all of the content the user has created. Remember that hidden and soft deleted items are also shown where permission allows making moderation even easier.


The new button on the user's profile.


The forum application's "Users Content" view. Note that this first view shows all topics the user has started and all topics the user has posted in, much like a "My Activity" feed.

This works across all applications, like IP.Gallery


Sphinx Integration
We added Sphinx integration into IP.Board 3 to provide a way to offset the resources used when members search. However, it was a very simple implementation and many filtering options were removed.

I'm happy to say that I've completely overhauled Sphinx integration so that it is identical to the regular search. Indeed, Sphinx is running on my local test board and all these screen shots are taken with Sphinx activated.

I'm also pleased to say that Sphinx is now used for searching, active content, new content and user's content views so you can take full advantage of the fast and efficient searching it provides.

That concludes our search updates. I hope that you enjoy these updates and that you find searching less of a chore in IP.Board 3.1.0 We genuinely appreciate all the feedback that we get and we've really listened with your search feedback.

Oh, one last thing...
If you'll excuse the Jobzian finale, there is one other improvement to the search system:


The global search box is now context sensitive so that when you are viewing a forum or topic, you have the choice to restrict your search.


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96 Comments



Posted

Great! Just great! (w00t)

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Matt, let me say simply: You Rock!

These are fantastic improvements and you've pretty much hit on everything I've wanted to see improved and then some! Thank you! The moderation from search results is a huge boon and will make it MUCH easier to create new forums and move relevant content into them. Adding the query to show any topics a user has started or posted in is a godsend, as I added this to my own forum (I have a "My Posts" link next to "View New Content") but obviously your implementation is more seamlessly integrated, and one less thing I have to merge when upgrading.

The improved Sphinx integration is also very welcome. The context-sensitive global search is also a nice improvement. :D I do have one question about that: Will you be able to properly search individual Blogs and individual Blog entries?

Again, it all looks fantastic! :D :D

Can you tell yet that I'm excited? :blink:

..Al

iAdi, yorgos, Guest and 1 other like this
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Posted

Awesome stuff Matt!

One important question tho, does the search and filter options carry thro to our IP.C content too? I guess it will (it'd be crazy if it didn't!) but just asking to be on the safe side :thumbsup:

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Posted

Thanks Al. Yes, we are going to upgrade the blog search plug-in so you can search in blogs, entries and comments. This is now possible with the multi-search types per app. Also, as you ask, we'll make it possible to search a single blog or entry.

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[quote name='Razasharp' date='11 March 2010 - 02:33 PM']
Awesome stuff Matt!

One important question tho, does the search and filter options carry thro to our IP.C content too? I guess it will (it'd be crazy if it didn't!) but just asking to be on the safe side :thumbsup:


I think Brandon aims to make use of the new options in a future update of Content, yes.

RTM, Razasharp and Camoo like this
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Posted

And: When i search for downloads, can you show the "download search result" as the active TAB? At the moment i must click manually on the "Downloads" Tab to see the results. Thats sucks! *g* :whistle:

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Posted

Great Job Matt :lol:

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[quote name='Matt' date='11 March 2010 - 08:34 AM']
Thanks Al. Yes, we are going to upgrade the blog search plug-in so you can search in blogs, entries and comments. This is now possible with the multi-search types per app. Also, as you ask, we'll make it possible to search a single blog or entry.

Kick ass, thanks. I ask because I just upgraded to 2.1.0 and the "Search My Blog" box appears to search all blogs and not just the one you are viewing (I get the same results here). I have a large number of blogs and active blog users on my site, so that will be a big help and improved blog searching is an oft-requested feature.

Now, can you please release this yesterday? :D :D

..Al

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[quote name='Razasharp' date='11 March 2010 - 09:33 AM'] Awesome stuff Matt!

One important question tho, does the search and filter options carry thro to our IP.C content too? I guess it will (it'd be crazy if it didn't!) but just asking to be on the safe side :thumbsup:

I intend to make use of this in IP.Content 2.0.

Camoo, Razasharp and RTM like this
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Posted

[quote name='IPBSupport.de' date='11 March 2010 - 02:41 PM']
And: When i search for downloads, can you show the "download search result" as the active TAB? At the moment i must click manually on the "Downloads" Tab to see the results. Thats sucks! *g* :whistle:


It does exactly that :)

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Posted

DDDDAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYUUUUUUUUUUUUUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!

Move over Google, IPS is out to take over!


I'm presuming that with the search results, if you click on one of the other tabs (members/calender/blog/etc) that it will still act as it currently does, performing the same search for that app?

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Posted

Nice improvements :cool:

This seems to cater very well for everyone now :thumbsup:

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[quote name='.Wolfie' date='11 March 2010 - 03:01 PM']
DDDDAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYUUUUUUUUUUUUUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!

Move over Google, IPS is out to take over!


I'm presuming that with the search results, if you click on one of the other tabs (members/calender/blog/etc) that it will still act as it currently does, performing the same search for that app?


Correct.

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Posted

Wow. Thank you so much for these updates. It will not only be so much easier on my end, but on the users end as well. Especially searching in just the topic you're in is amazing! Finally I don't need to looks through pages of posts in a topic to find one, or blogs, etc. IPB is the best. Every single update you guys have done just rocks. :) What a great way to end the major updates!!!!!

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Posted

Wicked! Looks like some dramatic improvements. Really looking forward to seeing it in action! :D

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[quote name='bfarber' date='11 March 2010 - 02:55 PM']
I intend to make use of this in IP.Content 2.0.


Thanks - wicked stuff!

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Posted

Now it's fun to use the research! Great! (w00t)

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Posted

Looks great - we use Sphinx so please to see that has been overhauled as well.

As this is context sensitive is this replacing the search box at the bottom of forums / threads which in my opinion is at the wrong end - should be at the top where people will see it.

gramateas likes this
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Posted

What a HUGE step forward! Thanks, Matt.

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[quote name='.Ian' date='11 March 2010 - 10:18 AM']
As this is context sensitive is this replacing the search box at the bottom of forums / threads which in my opinion is at the wrong end - should be at the top where people will see it.


Yep :)

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Posted

A lot of awesome changes. I hope someone will take the time to compile a "IP.Board 3.1 for Developers" doc that outlines important changes and additions in 3.1 and (even if only briefly) how to implement them in applications. I'd love to integrate IP.Links with the new notifications system, integrate it into "Find My Content", and changes needed to bring the Sphinx extension up to full integration, how to add criteria to the result sorting field, etc.

I could just dissect one of the official apps like I did with IPB3 but a document outlining the changes and at least pointing to where they are in an official app would be immensely useful.

Brett B and Pupette like this
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Posted

Wow. 3.1 is looking better and better with each blog update! :D Cannot wait for it's release. :)

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DOH! I now need to redesign our new skin for the content-sensitive search box! >_<

Still, VERY nice improvements! :)

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