4 Replies Latest reply on Apr 9, 2009 6:33 AM by eporter55

    questions about search functionality in RH8 WebHelp

    eporter55

      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!

        • 1. Re: questions about search functionality in RH8 WebHelp
          Mark Pud Level 1

          Hi eporter55,

           

          I'll have a go at addressing some of your points!

           

          1) I think RH tries to be clever and search for almost the same strings, eg. "type, types"... but the substring option will extend it to pick up things like "typewriter" if you search for "type"

           

          2) Not sure but I don't think so..

           

          3) Presuming you have the word "data" in your topics(!) then I would expect it to come up in a non-substring enabled search.. there is a list of "stop words" that RH won't search for.. have a look into "File>Project settings>Advanced" and the "stop list" and "ignore words" sections there...

           

          4) Highest rankings are assigned to text in your Heading 1 style, then Heading 2 etc.. Adding the Seach keywords will push a page higher up the rankings but the Index keywords don't affect this.

           

          5) I don't believe this is customisable unfortunately.. it always picks the text from the start of the topic

           

          6) Again, I don't think this is possible, but if you finda way, please let me know!!

           

          Hope this helps

           

          Mark

          • 2. Re: questions about search functionality in RH8 WebHelp
            eporter55 Level 1

            Hi Mark -

            Thanks for taking the time to respond to my questions. I was hoping that I'd misunderstood some of the problems that I'm seeing with this new functionality.

             

            1) Appreciate the clarification on how the sub-strings work

             

            2) Sorry to hear that the new functionality doesn't support exact matches

             

            3) Yes, the word data is in the topics so I don't understand why the search returned No Topics Found. I looked at the Stop List as you suggested and didn't see data in the list, so I'm really puzzled. This is a big concern because I don't see any way to correct the problem or even to determine the extent of the problem. Any suggestions?

             

            4) Hmmm - I guess I'll try adding keywords or changing my bullet list entries to a heading level to push them up in the ranking.

             

            5) Again, disappointing but not really surprising

             

            6) Well, I was hoping. . . I searched the forum and found a posting from Peter Grainge (http://forums.adobe.com/message/246068#246068) that also indicates that this isn't possible - too bad!

             

            Thanks again for your input - now I need to see whether I can justify upgrading to RH8 or look for another search engine to help . . .

            • 3. Re: questions about search functionality in RH8 WebHelp
              Piyush_B Adobe Employee

              eporter55 wrote:

               

               

               

              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).

               

              Hi eporter55,


              If you want to search for a string such as date type, try using Boolean Operators. For example, if you want to search for topics which contains both keywords data and type then search for data AND type.


              Thanks and regards

              Piyush Bhatnagar

              • 4. Re: questions about search functionality in RH8 WebHelp
                eporter55 Level 1

                Hi Piyush -

                Thanks for your suggestion. Currently, I'm looking at ZoomSearch as an alternative and I think it will provide what my users are requesting.

                I do appreciate the reply, though.

                Regards

                - Beth