WordPress Search plugin

My Google Summer of Code 2009 student, Justin Shreve, has done an excellent job creating a new search API for WordPress. We hope this API will be integrated into the WordPress core because it would simplify replacing the core search functionality and encourage developers to create many more options for searching blogs.

Justin’s Search plugin is actually a package of three plugins. The first plugin installs the API that lets other plugins do the searching. The other two plugins use the API to provide search systems that we think will please most users who are dissatisfied with the built-in WordPress search results: MySQL Fulltext and Google Custom Search. (The Google plugin requires a Google account.) For the search-savvy, Justin also wrote a Sphinx-based plugin, Sphinx Search. This last one involves installing additional software on the server.

I’m running the Fulltext plugin on my personal blog so you can try it. Enter a search in the sidebar. On the search results page you can refine your search by specifying whether to search posts, pages, and comments. You can also sort the results by relevance, date, or alphabet. The Advanced Search link leads to a form where you can specify author, categories, tags, and date range.

Self-hosted WordPress users can install Search. (It is not available for WordPress.com… yet.) After activating the main Search plugin you must also activate one of the other plugins: MySQL Fulltext, Google Custom Search, or Sphinx Search. We are anxious to know what you think of it. Justin plans to continue to improve the search system so he will need lots of user feedback.

Search Relationships

I just typed “format hard drive” into the address bar of FireFox 1.5 in Windows XP and it brought me to How to partition and format a hard disk in Windows XP.

This got me curious so I typed it into the same version of FireFox on Ubuntu Linux on my old computer and got Reformat and Reinstall FAQ on cyberwalker.com. Interesting. That’s also what I get when I use that query with Google‘s I’m Feeling Lucky button.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 SP2 brought me to an MSN search results page.

In Opera I get an error. I try again and press the down arrow key to select the hinted “g format hard drive” which is Operatic for “Google format hard drive“. Note the “client=opera” and “sourceid=opera” in the URL, which are synonymic Operaese words for “cha-ching.”

My favorite result is in Internet Explorer 7 Beta. At first, it brings me to the MSN search results page. When I visit major search engines Yahoo! Search and Google–two of the handful I tested–they ask whether I’d like to make their engine my preferred search engine. After a quick download, the browser will consult your chosen search engine. There is also a page on microsoft.com where you can Add Search Providers to Internet Explorer 7.

I never did find the answer to the question “Why does it take so long to format a large hard drive?”