Heal Your Church WebSite

Teaching, rebuking, correcting & training in righteous web design.

Search me, O God

and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts … Psalm 139:23

Okay, a bit over the top, but it sorta describes how we feel sometimes when we come to a site with alot of information, and have to sift through article after article to find what we want. Having a search tool goes a long way to reduce some of that anxiety.

So somewhere between breakfast with the family, cutting down a neighbor’s tree, cutting the lawn, getting a haircut and mowing the lawn, I managed a few minutes to install a nice little tool from the people at PerlFectSolutions … in fact a very nice tool …

Scroll down a bit, look to the right, and there it is. I’ll probably move it right under the calendar of blogs so you don’t have to scroll, but right now, I’m having a bit-o-fun experimenting with the entire layout.

Here’s the deal, one of the few featuers the good people at MoveableType haven’t implemented yet is a tool to search the volume of blogs sites like this produce. And that’s not entirely a bad thing, considering that many blogs are personal ramblings that have no relativity past a week or so. But since I’m dispensing technical information, I figured it might be a good feature to offer. I also wanted a better search tool for the Redland Baptist site.

Both my host providers offer this thing called the “Entropy Search” … but I cannot find documentation for it, which means I can’t configure it, which means I can’t control it, which means EVERYTHING gets indexed, including files and documents I DON’T WANT you to find or see. So I perused the both FreshMeat and HotScripts until I found 3 or 4 candidate scripts/packages that met the following criteria:

  • can include/exclude directories and files
  • could re/run the index using cron
  • configurable templates (so it looks like my site)
  • a configurable timeout so I don’t get DoS’d
  • can install multiple search indexes for multiple sites on the same host

Funny thing was, it wasn’t until I tried the other three script/packages that I got around to Perlfect Search 3.30 … which had a VERY NICE installer script, was well contained, and worked after the install with no handwaiving. Mostly, I was able to restrict the indexing to just the blog path … and of that, just the blogged files. Quicker, more effective searches for you … less work and security hassles for me.

I just got the cron tab set-up, so now all I need to add the “advanced” version of the search to archives page, since I suspect anyone there is probably after something specific. Oh yeah, and I need to get cracking on the templates so returned searches look like the rest of this site. In the meantime, have fun searching my site after only one whole week of operation.

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