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As you probably know I have been a long-time user of the site. I consider The Code Project an invaluable tool and a great collection of sample projects. I really appreciate your dedication to making the site one of the best places on the web for software developers.
I also believe that there is always room for improvement. The search feature here on The Code Project is horrible and could certainly be improved.
My experience today:
I have several open-source/freeware applications that I release under a pseudonym. This weekend I am working on one of those personal projects. I have the need for an 'Options Dialog' and wanted to get some ideas on how other developers implement the GUI layout. I enjoy creating unique and visually appealing interfaces and I find that looking at the layout of other GUI gets my creative juices flowing.
You would think that searching for 'Options Dialog C++' would give me a few decent results. Instead this is what I find:
This was a WTF moment for me... no matter what selection I choose in the combo boxes I cannot force the search algorithm to return anything meaningful. Why does XBrowseForFolder return as the number-one relevant document? The word 'Option' or 'Option' is not present in the document... although there are 36 instances of 'Dialog'.
XTimer and Tray Calendar are the first two results. I cannot even imagine what type of search algorithm would return this type of result. Whatever algorithm is being used appears to apply a weight to popular articles.
There are hundreds of articles with the word 'Options' in the title on the site but zero results. It was at this point that I realized that the search engine is completely broken or perhaps unfinished and currently being developed.
The reputation system and the new 'Questions and Answers' section are great features. However I believe one of the most important and most powerful aspects of the website is being ignored. The ability to search and find information.
Unfortunately, the terms you are querying are very common. Even google returns thousands of results for your query
Fortunately, we are using Lucene.NET to index and search our content. There is a way of specifying that you want to see terms near each other. the query "Options Dialog"~3 C++
will look for documents with Options and Dialog within 3 words of each other and also containg the term "C++".
With only Articles selected, this returns 171 results (at the moment). Including Blogs, Tips, and Questions only adds 8 more.
It would be useful if, next to each search box, there were a question mark (or something like that) which, when clicked, opens a FAQ page for search functionality (e.g., your tip about how to search for nearby terms).
Thanks for responding to my complaint. It would be nice to have some documentation on how to correctly perform searches here on the site. Unfortunately the search terms you are suggesting appear to return zero results when the terms are in the title:
Wow... amazing... obviously I want to search by title. I expected the 'title' or 'description' selection in the combo box would achieve this. Searching by 'All Fields' will return large amounts of irrelevant data when the engineer wants to search by title or description. In addition...statistically the amount of article sentences that contain both the terms 'dialog' and 'options' will be much greater. An example:
"Speaker John A. Boehner and the Congressional leadership began a dialog this week to discuss options for extending the NASA budget."
Obviously the hypothetical article containing the sentence above would be irrelevant for a software engineer searching for a title or description containing 'Dialog' and 'Option'.
Searching by title and description simply does not work:
Including the "C++" in the title search was causing the search to return no results because there were simply no articles that had "Options Dialog C++" in the title. Remove the C++ and results pop up.
One thing we can do to resolve this is to guess at what you mean. If you type in words, we look for words. If you include the name of a tag (such as C++) we can remove that from the title search and instead add it to the set of filter tags in the given search. The issue is see here, though, is that it will no doubt cause issues when someone keeps getting titles of articles that don't include the tag name, but which is tagged with that name, and so keeps being returned.
Thanks for the feedback. I see that searching without the 'C++' tag does indeed return some results. One of the biggest problems we are having here in the office when using the search engine is irrelevant data. I really miss the ability to filter by language. We typically use the 'C++' tag to filter out the articles pertaining to other programming languages.
Some random thoughts:
Perhaps add a brief description[^] of how to perform advanced searches using your site syntax.
Maybe a second edit box in the advanced search page for 'Filter By Tag'.
Perhaps an advanced in-query search filter such as tag:C++ or maybe [tag]C++
Not sure if your suggestion of auto-magically removing tags from the search query would be a good idea. There are many tags that could be considered search terms.
Thanks for looking into this.
Chris, actually I just noticed that using Tag:C++ already works but it appears to ignore the combo selection and instead searches all fields.
I'll make a note to add some more indepth documentation.
Have we made any progress on the search documentation? It would be great if you could add some basic Lucene syntax comments on the search page in that huge blank area. Are you guys using a vanilla installation? Or did you guys implement any custom term modifiers?
Hey All. I had a bit of an itchy trigger finger on the report button this morning.
I reported this[^] user because he asked the question and answered it himself in a way that looked similar to what some of the sock-puppet users do, however once I actually thought about it I realized that I jumped the gun a little bit and shouldn't have reported this user. Is there any way for us to remove our reports, or would you guys have to do it?