1. #1
    Sencha - Senior Forum Manager mitchellsimoens's Avatar
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    Default Sencha Search

    Sencha Search


    over time our community on the forums has grown rapidly. The built-in vBulletin search isn't very optimized for communities over 100,000 and the Google Search that we originally replaced the vBulletin search wasn't very accurate. Therefor we had a huge missing gap in forum functionality. You may have started to notice new features popping up around the forum like the post voting wehre you can vote up/down certain posts. We have been trying to increase the functionality of vBulletin to suit our communities' needs.

    Mike Estes (Sencha Support Engineer) and I have been working on a search service to replace vBulletin's built-in search and the Google search. Our aim was to make this new service accurate and fast. Over the past 3 months we have spent time to make something that solved all our goals and to make the interface simple to use.

    Today, we are opening the Sencha Search to our Premium Users (support subscribers) with wide-spread release to come soon. We want to hear what you love, what you hate (constructive criticism), what you'd like to change to make this new search functionality fit exactly what you (the community) would want, after all, we are building this for you as it has been frustrating to use the search that we currently have.

    Here is some of the features we have:
    • Search (surprised?)
    • Smart queries (explained below)
    • Forum selection (cookie persistable)
    • Help popup
    • Settings

    Some example queries are like:

    Code:
    grid cell
    +grid -cell
    grid AND cell
    Some smart queries are like:

    Code:
    grid cell from:2012-01-01 to:2012-07-23
    grid title:cell
    Notice that there is no space before or after the colons ':'. The title query isn't currently working, we are looking into this to see if it's a boost issue or a filter issue. The reason behind smart queries is to be able to search quickly without opening up any settings.

    The forum selection will appear by hitting the options link. By default when you set the options, it will persist via a cookie. I am looking into finding a clever way to add this to the smart query. For example if you have '#ext4' in the smart query, I'm wanting it to target the Ext JS 4 forums but this would search all the forums within the Ext JS 4 forum category.

    The help popup via clicking on the help link currently will show some sample queries. As time goes on we can add more things into it to aid how to use this search functionality.

    Settings for the search are here (there is a link on the left hand side also). There are currently only 3 settings that will change the behavior and interactions. Most useful one people may find is there is a setting to remove the forum selection persisting off if you don't want the selection to always persist.

    So, if you go to the forum index you will see the Sencha Search instead of the Google Search field at the top. If you do not see the Sencha Search then it hasn't been rolled out to your usergroup yet but be patient, it will be coming. There is no buffer between searches currently like the vBulletin search does have.

    Some future plans... depending on the feedback we will be adding/editing functionality. By default, when you search it will make the body and show the results as a popup. I would like this to be a setting that you can use that or have it always load a new page with the results within the body (not a popup). As mentioned above, I would like to have forum selection as a smart query but will look into adding more smart queries. As also mentioned above, I want to incorporate all your ideas that you will likely have.

    I want to stress that we built this for you (the community). We have been using this service for a few months now internally and it has been a great tool for us for accuracy and speed. If you don't like something, drop us a note and we will look into changing, adding or removing it. If you love it, let us know so that we can learn exactly what is working so we can ensure quality through out this service/integration.

    **NOTE**
    After a couple weeks of rolling this out to everyone, we will be disabling the built-in vBulletin search as we do have bots that do searches for possible DOS attacks.
    Mitchell Simoens @SenchaMitch
    Sencha Inc, Senior Forum Manager
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  2. #2
    Sencha User jep's Avatar
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    Default


    The "title:" doesn't seem to be working for me. It seems like it's just ignoring it. I tried:
    grid title:cell

    First result: "Add input elements to GridPanel"

    Happy to see smaller words like "mvc" are now working!

    The "Set Options" button on the options screen spills over the border of the options screen popup in FF (14.0.1 XP).

  3. #3
    Sencha - Senior Forum Manager mitchellsimoens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellsimoens View Post
    Notice that there is no space before or after the colons ':'. The title query isn't currently working, we are looking into this to see if it's a boost issue or a filter issue. The reason behind smart queries is to be able to search quickly without opening up any settings.
    I did mention the title isn't currently working but I didn't want that to prevent from launching.

    Yes, there is no limit to the length of the query, you could search for 'a' if you wanted to

    Will update my FF on XP to fix the options right now.
    Mitchell Simoens @SenchaMitch
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  4. #4
    Sencha - Senior Forum Manager mitchellsimoens's Avatar
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    Default


    The button shouldn't overflow anymore. Also tested on IE8/9 and Chrome 20/21 to make sure layout is correct.
    Mitchell Simoens @SenchaMitch
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  5. #5
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    I would like to have a single top level checkbox that lets me select a product/version, which would then select the multiple forums that has related content.

    Example: Ext JS 4 would auto check all the boxes related to Ext JS content

    Part 2 of this would be to auto date scope the searches based on product version releases.

    Example Ext JS 4.1rc2 would include a date range of all posts/updates since that version was released.

  6. #6
    Sencha User jep's Avatar
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    Another frilly feature might be some support for the tags in the bug reports ([OPEN], [DEFERRED], etc.).

  7. #7
    Sencha - Senior Forum Manager mitchellsimoens's Avatar
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    The title query should be working.

    search title:suggestion
    We are working to allow multiple title searches but not working just yet... something like

    title:forum title:suggestion
    Mitchell Simoens @SenchaMitch
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  8. #8
    Sencha - Senior Forum Manager mitchellsimoens's Avatar
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    Multiple titles are now working!

    search title:forum title:suggestion
    Mitchell Simoens @SenchaMitch
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  9. #9
    Sencha User jep's Avatar
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    Thanks, Mitchell. If possible, it'd be good to eventually do:
    Code:
    title:(suggestion1 AND suggestion2)
    title:(suggestion1 OR suggestion2)
    I suggest this because that's the way people will also probably be used to doing it from google (Including me). Might avoid an annoying pitfall.

    I'd suggest adding a smart query for user name (you probably already have it on your list, though).

    I also agree that an option for having the search results show up on their own screen would be very good. Don't like being boxed in. Plus it's too easy to click outside the popup and lose all your results you've been working through!

    You might also mention that this search is currently only available on the main forum page:
    http://www.sencha.com/forum/index.php
    Took me a bit to find it. I imagine when you roll it out to all users, you'll have it on every forum page.

    The options popup doesn't use enough of my screen height. It's frustrating to have to scroll it to see the bottom 25% when it's only taking up 2/3 of my screen height.

  10. #10
    Sencha User jep's Avatar
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    Oh, and you could probably pretty easily make "intitle" a synonym for "title" to avoid another annoyance that might trip people up who have google searches hardwired into their brain.