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Posted 23 Jan 2007

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A cool'n'simple search page using Google AJAX Search API, and some DHTML

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23 Jan 20072 min read
An article on creating a cool Ajax-powered search page, with the help of Google APIs

CoolNSimpleGoogleAJAX/cool-n-simple-google-ajax-search.gif

Introduction

In this article, I'll demonstrate how easy it is to create a usable webpage with some advanced technologies (such as fast asynchronous web search) in a very simple way, using a public API. You can see this in action at my personal website: http://www.kenegozi.com.

Background

I've created this page since I wanted:

  1. A search oriented homepage that uses Google as its engine
  2. To be able to search and re-search without needing to point the cursor to the search field, nor use a lot of tab keystrokes
  3. A simple way to search my blog
  4. A cool root for my personal website

Using the Code

Step 1: Initialization

The first thing we are going to do is to create a minimal webpage markup:

HTML
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" 
         "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<head>
    <meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"/>
    <title>My Cool'n'Simple Search Page</title>
</head>
<body>
    <h1>My Cool'n'Simple Search Page</h1>
</body>
</html>

Step 2: Make Room

Now we will add a search field, and make room for the search results:

HTML
<div id="queryContainer">
    <input type="text" name="query" id="query" />
</div>
<div id="searchcontrol"></div><br />
<div id="branding">Powered by Google</div>

The query input field is wrapped in a div for styling purposes.

Step 3: Style It Up a Little

We will add some CSS rules in order to make our page look a little bit nicer. We'd want a readable font, some space between the input query and the results, a clean look for the input, and make it all centered in the page.

CSS
<style type="text/css">
body
{
    font-family: verdana;
    text-align: center;
}
#queryContainer
{
    margin-bottom:2em;
    width: 80%;
    margin-left:auto;
    margin-right:auto;
}
#query
{
    border:1px solid silver;
    width: 100%;
}
#searchcontrol
{
    width:80%;
    margin-left:auto;
    margin-right:auto;
    text-align:left;
}
.gsc-control 
{ 
    width: 100%; 
}
</style>

We have also set the gsc-control class to maximum width. The current version of Google AJAX Search creates the results in an html element with width=300px. We want it to occupy the whole width of its container so we override Google's default setting.

Step 4: Applying Google's Magic

This step was assembled with the help of the Google AJAX Search API documentation, at http://code.google.com/apis/ajaxsearch/documentation/.

So we will add the next declaration to our page's <head> section:

HTML
<link href="http://www.google.com/uds/css/gsearch.css" type="text/css" 
      rel="stylesheet" />
<script type="text/javascript" 
   src="http://www.google.com/uds/api?file=uds.js&amp;v=1.0&amp;key=YOUR_KEY">
</script>

Please note that "YOUR_KEY" should be replaced by a key that you can get at http://code.google.com/apis/ajaxsearch/signup.html.

Now, we'd add the next JavaScript code to the <head> section:

JavaScript
var searchControl window.onload = function() {
    onLoad();
}
function onLoad() {
    // Create a search control
    searchControl = new GSearchControl();

    // add a regular web search, with a custom label 'web'
    var webSrearch = new GwebSearch();
    webSrearch.setUserDefinedLabel("web");
    searchControl.addSearcher(webSrearch);

    // add a site-limited web search, with a custom label
    var siteSearch = new GwebSearch();
    siteSearch.setUserDefinedLabel("KenEgozi.com");
    siteSearch.setSiteRestriction("kenegozi.com");
    searchControl.addSearcher(siteSearch);
                
    // add a blog search, with a custom label
    var blogsSrearch = new GblogSearch();
    blogsSrearch.setUserDefinedLabel("weblogs");
    searchControl.addSearcher(blogsSrearch);

    // setting the draw mode for the Google search
    var drawOptions = new GdrawOptions();
    // use tabbed view
    drawOptions.setDrawMode(GSearchControl.DRAW_MODE_TABBED);
    // set the input field (instead of the default one)
    drawOptions.setInput(document.getElementById('query'));
    // actually write the needed markup to the page
    searchControl.draw(document.getElementById("searchcontrol"), drawOptions);
    // set the google logo container
    GSearch.getBranding(document.getElementById("branding"));
}  

And we're almost done!

Step 5: Adding a Little DHTML Mojo

Now we'll add the ability to type anywhere on the page and get the search field updated. We'll achieve that by adding this simple JavaScript to the previous block:

JavaScript
var query = null;
document.onkeydown = function(event) { kd(event); };
function kd(e) {
    // make it work on FF and IE
    if (!e) e = event;
    // use ESC to clear the search results
    if (e.keyCode == 27)
        searchControl.clearAllResults();
    // get the input field
    if (query == null)
        query = document.getElementById('query');
    // and move the focus in there
    query.focus();
}

And that's all!

Points of Interest

  1. You must get your own key from Google at http://code.google.com/apis/ajaxsearch/documentation/
  2. You are advised to visit Google's API sites and learn to use their public APIs. It is free, fun and useful. There are also many other companies out there that offer free webservices and APIs. So you can be helped by them, and concentrate on your own business logic, without the need to 'reinvent the wheel' for common scenarios.

Have fun!

License

This article has no explicit license attached to it, but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt, please contact the author via the discussion board below.
A list of licenses authors might use can be found here.

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About the Author

Ken Egozi
United States United States
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

 
GeneralI am not able to make it work for my site please help me Pin
MD1226-Jan-07 6:21
MemberMD1226-Jan-07 6:21 
AnswerRe: I am not able to make it work for my site please help me Pin
egozi1327-Jan-07 3:13
Memberegozi1327-Jan-07 3:13 
QuestionRe: I am not able to make it work for my site please help me Pin
MD1227-Jan-07 18:34
MemberMD1227-Jan-07 18:34 
AnswerRe: I am not able to make it work for my site please help me Pin
egozi1327-Jan-07 20:09
Memberegozi1327-Jan-07 20:09 
GeneralRe: I am not able to make it work for my site please help me Pin
santhoshkumar123-Sep-09 2:06
Membersanthoshkumar123-Sep-09 2:06 

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