I've created a WebHelp project using RH7 and users have been complaining about search results almost since the first release of the WebHelp. I've started to evaluate the new search functionality in RH8 and have several questions about how search results are identified and ranked.
1) I've generated my WebHelp with sub-string searching enabled and with it disabled and do not see consistent search results between the two methods.For example, when I disable sub-string searching and search for data type, I get 11 topics back with highlighted search results for data, type, data type and data types. When I enable sub-string search and search for data type, I get 17 topics back (the same 11 topics plus six others), again with highlighted search results for the same entries. That is, both types of searches return results for data, type, data type and data types. What causes the different number of topics returned when it appears that all the same terms appear in the topics?
2) Is there any way for a user to specify an exact match on a search string? With sub-string searching disabled, I tried enclosing data type in single quotes and then in double quotes, but I got the same 11 topics that I got previously (the ones that included highlighted search results for data, type, data type and data types).
3) If I have sub-string searching disabled, I get No Topics Found when I search the output for data. If I enable sub-string searching, I get 15 topics returned when I search the output for data. What's going on to cause this difference? Why does enabling and disabling sub-strings affect the search results for a single-word search?
4) How does the search algorithm assign rankings? If I assign an index entry or a keyword (particulary the new searchkeywords available in RH8) to a topic, does that push it to a higher ranking in the search results?
5) Can I modify the "context" information that appears under the title of the topic in the results panel? That is, I'd like to display the portion of the topic that includes the search string instead of having the title and part of the fist sentence appear. In many cases, what appears as "context" really has no information about the context for the search string within the topic, so users can't easily tell which topic is the one they want.
6) My WebHelp includes lots of bullet lists where the entries in the lists are drop-down hotspots that describe the entry in more detail. In many cases, the search string appears within a drop-down. Can I set up the help output so the drop-down text opens automatically if it contains the search string?
Sorry for covering so much ground in this posting, but I really need to provide solid search results for my users and was hoping the RH8 would be the answer. My manager has made this one of my top priorities because users are so frustrated with not being able to find things in the online help. I've got a robust index, but users prefer the Search function. In addition, I don't see any way to anticipate and add to the index all the possible strings that our users might want to use for a search. I'm willing to upgrade to RH8 if it will resolve the problems that we're having, but I need to be sure that I can deliver what my users expect. Thanks for any guidance or other help you can offer!