Search Finally Implemented

By Murray Bourne, 13 Feb 2005

I finally managed to get search to work across all of my Web properties. The search boxes that appear in the blog and mathematics sections search the whole site, including the (public) photo gallery. I am using the open source phpDig - it is awesome.

You can see a list of recent search items. Clicking on the column headings sorts by that category.

We learn by doing and by solving problems.... What I learned in this exercise was:

  • keep looking for a good solution before installing the first simple one
  • about UTF-8, the unicode character encoding system. When the search brings up something from the blog, you will see things like » instead of the proper » and also — instead of . This is because the blog uses UTF-8 but the search uses iso-8859-1 and so stumbles on the unicode symbols. When I attempeted to install the update of the search it didn't work because this server does not have the latest mySQL. When it does, I will update the search function.
  • connecting to a mySQL database can have problems...
  • the community of open source developers is awesome - the forum for phpDig was very helpful with minor problems.

Go ahead - try the search!

Update: I gave up on phpDig and now use Google search. The maintenance is much, much easier.

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HTML: You can use simple tags like <b>, <a href="...">, etc.

To enter math, you can can either:

  1. Use simple calculator-like input in the following format (surround your math in backticks, or qq on tablet or phone):
    `a^2 = sqrt(b^2 + c^2)`
    (See more on ASCIIMath syntax); or
  2. Use simple LaTeX in the following format. Surround your math with \( and \).
    \( \int g dx = \sqrt{\frac{a}{b}} \)
    (This is standard simple LaTeX.)

NOTE: You can't mix both types of math entry in your comment.

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