14 Replies Latest reply on Jan 19, 2007 1:09 PM by robowriter

    RoboHelp's Search Function

    Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional
      It would help me in connection with some work I am doing, to know what people like and dislike about the way the search function works in webhelp (standard webhelp, not webhelp pro).

      Please cover things you would like to see as well. Google like results for example.

        • 1. Re: RoboHelp's Search Function
          CraigCC Level 2
          Morning Peter,

          I will start the ball rolling.

          1. Highlighted search results. This is the most requested feature of clients who use webhelp.
          2. The user should have the ability to turn the highlighted search results feature on or off (as with HTML Help).
          3. I'd like the ability to refine search results e.g. advanced searches.
          4. Oh and can you throw in a natural language search :-). Seriously, this is another often requested feature.

          Kind Regards
          • 2. Re: RoboHelp's Search Function
            MergeThis Level 4
            The ability to tag topics (in the GUI) with META-keywords which, when entered by the user, would display in a separate panel called "Sponsored links" or "Recommended links" at the top (and/or in a right-side column?). Then, of course, I would want the ability to produce a report, or even have another column in the Topics pane called Search Keywords (right clicking on "Yes" would list the keywords for that topic).

            The ability to assign categories to groups (by folder and/or file names, with wildcard option), and allow the user to choose from all or selected categories.

            Is this sounding familiar, Peter?

            Oh, and all three options for searching on multiples: any words, all words, as a phrase.

            Naturally, this would have to work equally well in a merged project as in a standalone project!
            • 3. Re: RoboHelp's Search Function
              - Result in alphabetic order. Really should be weighted order by number of matches to search terms.

              Would Like to See
              Support for the common filters such as +, - prefixes on words, " " around phrases. * for wildcards.
              Word stemming (eg. "call" matches "call", "calls", "callers", "called", "calling").
              Synonyms (eg. search for "operator" made to match search for "receptionist").

              Currently we have replaced the default webhelp search with out own PHP driven search using a tool called ZoomSearch to give us the features we want.
              • 4. Re: RoboHelp's Search Function
                HKabaker Level 2
                I wonder whether it's worth it to weigh the user down with all these woptions.
                To say nothing of how much work you'd have to do.

                Google and other search engines are designed for a wide, wide world out there. Even a big Web Help project has some boundaries that make it easier to find the right keyword.

                I would be happy with options for one, any or all words, a wildcard trailing aster* and an exact phrase, with results highlighted.

                I suppose it depends on the audience. Most users I run into aren't the least bit interested in doing some real research work, so a sophisticated structure could be overkill, if not daunting.

                • 5. Re: RoboHelp's Search Function
                  kewal_tech Level 1
                  Hi All,

                  I guess I don’t have that much experience in RoboHelp..so accept my apologies if i talk out of my limits ;)

                  Some of the above ideas sounds great.. personally I would like to see:

                  1. A wildcard search as discussed above.

                  2. Natural language search - This can be a big advantage in selling our products, as I believe most of the user would like to search as they would type or speak (English ;) )..

                  3. As Google uses "+" for spaces ( ) and searches the net, this kind of function will be great, for example I have search string - "Demo Version" If Demo is not found in my project it will return No Topics Found, even though there are few "Version" words in the help. I believe RH would first search the first word and if not found it will abort the search. So RH should search for all words in the string (Not sure if my findings are right on search).


                  • 6. Re: RoboHelp's Search Function
                    I have taken Peters advise and am going with Zoom Search ($100-$200) for the search related part my project. It's totally customizable, and blows away anything in the current version of Robohelp or RobohelpPro. I think sometimes its easier to just hold your gripes and jump ship. The Index, TOC, Source control and WYSIWIG ediitor however, are still very useful as a package.
                    • 7. RoboHelp's Search Function
                      HWHomberg Level 1
                      Case-sensitivity would be a nice-to-have in the search results.

                      For most of our projects, there are various three- or four- letter acronyms that end up being portions of words, e.g. ARCH. Many of our users would like to look for that specific acronym and not see resulting pages containing "search" or "archetype" in them.

                      Also, any or all of the features mentioned here and above should, of course, be able to be toggled on or off.
                      • 8. Re: RoboHelp's Search Function
                        Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional
                        Thanks to everyone who has responded. I will be adding a topic about ZoomSearch to my site just as soon as I can. You will see that it addresses most if not all of the requirements you guys are asking for.

                        When the topic is available, I will be bringing it to the attention of Adobe by way of a request to change their search or enabling ZoomSearch to work as a plug-in.

                        • 9. Re: RoboHelp's Search Function
                          Mark_Gallagher Level 1

                          You might already do this but just in case -

                          Include Zoomsearch's highlight.js as a baggage file. Then use it as part of the page template be inserting a script item with its src set to ./search/highlight.js.

                          Bingo, you now have search word matches highlighting.
                          • 10. Re: RoboHelp's Search Function
                            Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional
                            I have now added the first cut of a topic on searching.


                            I would welcome any comments, especially from Mark. You can contact me via my site.

                            • 11. Re: RoboHelp's Search Function
                              I'll be testing X5 in order to see if the quotes " are enabled in the search funtion (like Google search)
                              The ability to search for a sequence of words is what my boss would like.. So if X5 has it, we'll switch to it.
                              • 12. Re: RoboHelp's Search Function
                                Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional
                                No you cannot phrase search using RH's built in search. However, look at my site and you will see a topic on Searching. That shows how to configure ZoomSearch to work with RH and that gives you many options that will appeal to your boss.

                                • 13. Re: RoboHelp's Search Function
                                  P-Y Level 1

                                  Well actually that was pretty much what I was thinking about the ZoomSearch function while I was writing my post yesterday ^^ regarding the quotes.

                                  I'll definitely need to check it out more closely.. : )
                                  • 14. Re: RoboHelp's Search Function
                                    I think Harvey is absolutely right. I, for one, often find that search engines don't necessarily do a good job in determining, for example, which is the result I would want the most. Alphabetical is fine with me, provided I can do things like wildcard searches.