Search engine

MediaWiki search engine improved

In October, several major features were added to the MediaWiki internal search engine and integrated into the English Wikipedia. Wikipedia's search engine has been criticized in the past as it lacked some features which are considered standard in modern Internet search engines, and these additions are an important step forward. Some of the new features are:

Some search options (such as fuzzy search and prefix search) can currently be accessed only through the use of the above-mentioned "magic words." At some point, it is expected that an advanced search page will be added with a friendlier access to many such features.

Further information about these new features can be found in the announcement on Wikitech-l by Robert Stojnic. Some technical details are also available.

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    == Better search example ==

    The example search in the Signpost entry is not ideal:

    because it uses the &go=Go option. This causes the search to look for a page with a page title of the empty string, eliciting a spurious message: "No page with that title exists" above the actual search results (which are themselves degenerate, as there was no real search text).

    A somewhat better method is to use the &fulltext=Search option, which at least eliminates the "No page with that title exists" message above the search results:

    It would be nicer still if the prefix option could tag along as a separate URL parameter rather than a search modifier, to keep it out of the search field. The user has to know to type his or her search keywords to the left of the prefix option in the resulting search field, because the new search feature doesn't seem to have any way to delimit the end of the prefix option text to distinguish it from actual search terms to the right.

    In general, the behavior of {{Google custom}} is still ergonomically superior, especially when one wants to create a link to an initially blank search form. Google does not insist on running an initially degenerate search, and the search field is empty of distracting search modifiers. However, Google can get thrown off by irregularities in Wikipedia's page naming schemes (see the examples in Template:Google custom#How to search subpage trees within Wikipedia). --Teratornis (talk) 19:34, 27 April 2009 (UTC)[reply]


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