Anth's Computer Cave Blog

New search system for the Cave

19th February, 2016

Anth's Computer Cave is trialing a new site-search engine built on the AaimiClip system. We hope to have this available soon as a stand-alone system to easily embed in your websites.

The new search system from AaimiClip

Why the change?

Up till now we have used an embedded Google search box for our search system. While that can work well, there are a few drawbacks.

Firstly, your visitors get results based on what Google thinks your site is about, not what you know about your site. Good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help here, but you can never know how much weight they put on particular SEO methods.

The AaimiClip Site Search system shows results you know are relative to your website. This is because you control all the keywords, and all the results.

After all, who knows your site better than you?

The other drawback with using a Google searchbox is that it takes your visitors away to an external page. When they click search, the results are displayed in a new Google window instead of within your page on your site.

This means that if your visitors don't find what they are looking for in Google's search results, they have already left your page. They have to deliberately click back to land within your website again.

With AaimiClip, you embed the searchbox in a sidebar and that is where it stays. The results are displayed in your sidebar below the searchbox.

This way, if they don't find what they are looking for they are still on the same page, and they can continue reading whatever article or blog they were reading before their search.

How it works

We're still a few weeks away from releasing this as a standalone system, so I'll just give you a brief overview for now.

As mentioned, we are using the AaimiClip system from the AAIMI Project. You use the standard AaimiClipper to index each page of your site with as many keywords as you wish. On small-to-medium sites this won't take long. Indexing more than one-hundred pages in the Cave took me about an hour and a half, or about a minute per page.

You can use multiple folders for different topics. In the cave I have two search folders. You can search the Cave folder, which has all current articles, tutorials etc. Then there is the Archive folder for articles and tutorials on using older versions of software featured in the Cave.

Once you have your site indexed you embed the AaimiClip Site Search HTML into the sidebar of your pages. You can also have a dedicated search page for displaying full-screen results. You can see a link to our search page in the navigation panel. You'll also need to add the AaimiClip CSS and Jquery to your own CSS and Jquery files.

When visitors use the search box, their search terms are sent to the AaimiClipRead Python program, which finds matches and returns results to the browser using PHP, Jquery and AJAX.

The results are currently ranked by the number of matching search terms. Using more search terms will produce more results, but brings the most relevant results to the top.

At the moment it is a bit word-heavy in the way it displays results, but I think that is partly due to the way I ordered the search terms when I indexed the site. We'll refine that over the next few weeks.

Stay tuned for more. Leave a comment below if you have any ideas.

Cheers

Anth

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About the Author

Anthony Hartup, creator of AAIMI, Estimcad and Anth's Computer Cave.
Anthony Hartup runs the AAIMI Project, a Python machine-interface platform.
He also codes for the Estimcad Project and ControlCadGUI.


Search the Cave with AaimiClip