10 Replies Latest reply on Nov 5, 2007 10:51 AM by Peter Grainge

    Search Function Within Robohelp

      Can anyone explain in laymans terms how the "Search" function works in Robohelp?

      That is, we are trying to differentiate how the Search works in Robohelp X5, versus Google Search, Yahoo Search, e.t.c

      Is it based on hashing, general search functions etc.

      We are currently trying to describe to the end user how to search within a Robohelp Project, but are not sure how to explain its limitations/extent/quality.

      Your assistance is greatly appreciated!
        • 1. Re: Search Function Within Robohelp
          No reply to this???

          I am also curious to know how the search works as far as if RoboHelp looks first at the Title of documents, or does it just bring up the results randomly based on all documents that just reference the search term at least once?

          I'm going to upgrade from RoboInfo 5 to RoboHelp 7 with server - and am curious if Adobe has done anything at all has been done to the search function over the past 4 years or so? or has nothing changed?
          • 2. Re: Search Function Within Robohelp
            RoboColum(n) Level 5
            You may want to look at this topic on Peter Grainge's site on the use of ZoomSearch. However the answer to your query is "it depends on what output you are producing".
            • 3. Re: Search Function Within Robohelp
              HKabaker Level 2
              Revising my comments.
              • 4. Re: Search Function Within Robohelp
                HKabaker Level 2
                The RH Help files since early days, and through RH 7*, include several topics on how the full-text search works. It includes "advanced" search and explains Boolean strings. Wildcards, too, for HTML help but not Web Help.

                In the RH Help search box, enter "search terms" (quote marks unnecessary) and click "Related Topics.".

                Long ago I modified several of these topics and plugged them into my WebHelp projects.


                *A more complete discussion is in help for RH X5 and RH 6. Start with "About advanced searching."
                I think it's still valid for RH 7 output formats, but topics were revised in RH 7 help.
                • 5. Re: Search Function Within Robohelp
                  MergeThis Level 4
                  Merged WebHelp projects, unfortunately, reduce the Search function to Basic (no this, no that, etc.). Thank heavens for ZOOM!

                  Good luck,
                  • 6. Search Function Within Robohelp
                    johndaigle Level 4
                    hughbetcha, I don't know the specific answer to your question about the mechanism except that it's basically a full text search engine. Here are some other Search items of note in RoboHelp 7.

                    1. Search highlighting is a new feature in RoboHelp 7 for WebHelp and FlashHelp (and the server versions as well)
                    2. One cool thing that has been overlooked is that when the end-user searches on a term, the highlighted first occurance of the term comes up to the top of the topic window (instead of simply taking you to the top of the topic)! So, this is a real improvement especially for those necessarily long topics where the search term may be way down in the text.
                    3. There is a new Synonym editor which allows authors to create synonyms for nicknames and jargon words. So for example, if someone searches on "picture", the topic results for "image" will appear.
                    4. I found Boolean seaches work quite well (though not wildcards) in regular WebHelp and FlashHelp.

                    Hey, Leon. I have not tried boolean searches in RH 7 merged WebHelp yet. Have you? Maybe Peter will chime in.

                    These are great search improvements. Of course, being the demanding authors we are, we always want more!
                    Fortunately Adobe is on track to continue improving seach as a priority.
                    • 7. Re: Search Function Within Robohelp
                      hughbetcha Level 1
                      Thanks John. Yes Adobe is on track - just not quite there yet.

                      My biggest problem is that if a user enters for example, "Creating a Quote" in the search field, I want the page on "How to Create a Quote" come up as the first result. Instead, I get lots of results that come up that simply mention the word "quote" somewhere within them. So, I don't know of away around that or how you can control the results that come up.

                      I know Zoom is probably the best alternative. The best thing about the RoboHelp server though, is that you can see what people are searching for, and that makes it easy for me to know what information may be missing from my projects as I can see if someone is entering a search term, but no results come up.

                      Right now, I'm actually using a javascript search and incorporating it into Robo. It works really good, but it is a little time consuming as for each search term I have to manually add it to an array and then decide what other keywords should be associated with it and put in the link to the page. I'll check out Zoom.

                      • 8. Re: Search Function Within Robohelp
                        johndaigle Level 4
                        Hey, hughbetcha
                        Thanx for posting your experience and your inventive javascript approach to handling search. Are you saying you've deployed your javascript enhancement on the RoboHelp Server site? I was just curious if the enhancement played nice with RoboHelp Server, since I've never tried that approach.

                        The more posts we get like this, the more we can make our case for the next iteration of search in RoboHelp. Also, let us know your experience with ZoomSearch if you implement it.
                        • 9. Re: Search Function Within Robohelp
                          hughbetcha Level 1
                          I just added the javascript search files to my main Robo project on my local machine by putting the .js search form and .js search terms files in the Output folder. I then got rid of the Robo search button, and added my own search button to link to the new search page. So with the server reports, I no longer get results for 'Frequently Asked Questions' or 'Unanswered Question Trends' report generation. So far I've added 500 pages to my search list. It is working very fast for me and haven't encountered any problems.

                          If you Google 'jse internal search engine' you'll find what I've used. Again Zoom is probably a great thing to use, but this is free (and it's always difficult for me to get approvals to purchase anything with my company!)
                          • 10. Re: Search Function Within Robohelp
                            Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional

                            The only caution I would add is that in ZoomSearch's help files they indicate that javascript methods will slow up when the database gets large, they suggest around 5mb. For that scenario, they offer alternative methods.

                            That was my experience with one project but that was accessing massive amounts of documentation.

                            So just keep an eye on the size of the files and keep testing. As long as it works...