|By Joe Cronin||
|January 18, 2005 12:00 AM EST||
Do your end users complain about the quality of your ColdFusion application's search functionality?
Have you exceeded the 250,000-document limit of the search functionality that comes embedded in ColdFusion MX? Have the requirements of your application changed to include searching for content both inside and outside of the ColdFusion environment?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, it sounds like your ColdFusion MX application could use some help. In surveys by industry analysts, such as Gartner, IDC, and Forrester, end users, executives, and developers alike consistently rank the ability to search as one of the most important features of all online applications. Yet search continues to be one of the most maligned utilities of Web sites, business applications, and you name it. The bottom line is that if your end users can't find what they're looking for with your application's search tools, you're not realizing the full value of your ColdFusion investment.
Early on, Allaire, and then Macromedia, understood the need to provide ColdFusion developers with the ability to integrate advanced search features into their applications. Since 1997, the search functionality embedded in ColdFusion has been provided by Verity, Inc. Verity was selected for a number of reasons: ease of integration into ColdFusion, advanced functionality, and Verity's recognized position as the market leader in the enterprise search space.
But even the best search tool is only as good as its implementation. This article includes tips on optimizing the Verity search included in ColdFusion MX 6.1. With this search, you can build applications with advanced, enterprise-class full-text search of up to 250,000 documents and/or database records within the ColdFusion environment (if you need a larger search, go directly to the end of this article for more information). In addition, this article describes how to quickly and easily add value to applications by enhancing the search within ColdFusion, and by extending search to content outside ColdFusion.
Search Within ColdFusion MX
To ensure that users of ColdFusion applications can find the specific information they need in databases and hundreds of file formats, Macromedia integrated Verity full-text search. This includes:
- Full-text search of all ColdFusion content
- The ability to search a wide range of document types, including HTML, binary documents, and database records
- The ability to limit search to specific groups, or collections of documents, in order to enable subject-specific searches
- Support for multiple languages, including most European and Asian languages
- Fielded search against index metadata
One of the strengths of Verity search solutions is that they can be configured to meet specific business and technical objectives. To optimize search with the ColdFusion environment, Macromedia implemented Verity to support content of the following basic data types:
- Text files such as HTML pages and CFML pages
- Binary documents
- Record sets returned from cfquery, cfldap, and cfpop queries
Typical Applications of Verity Search
By taking advantage of Verity's flexibility you can add significant value to your ColdFusion applications. Typical uses of Verity search within ColdFusion include:
- Indexing the content of a Web site and providing a generalized search mechanism, such as the familiar search box
- Indexing specific directories that contain documents on a specific topic in order to provide subject-based searching, or to limit the focus of searches to specific groups of documents
- Indexing cfquery record sets into a single Verity Collection and letting users search against the collection with a single query rather than requiring them to perform multiple database queries to return the same data
- Indexing cfldap and cfpop query results
- Indexing e-mail generated by ColdFusion application pages and making the resulting Verity Collection available for searching from your ColdFusion application pages
- Building Verity Collections with inventory data and making those collections available for searching from your ColdFusion application pages
- Supporting international users in a range of languages, using the cfindex, cfcollection, and cfsearch tags
One of the most obvious advantages of Verity search embedded in ColdFusion is its performance. For example, using Verity to index the output from database queries and then to perform searches against the indexed record sets is much faster than using SQL to search databases directly. Additional advantages of Verity over other search methods include:
- Superior relevancy of search results lists
- The display of document titles and summaries in search results lists
- Elimination of the need to programmatically create query constructs by allowing novice and expert users alike to use the same type of full-text queries they're used to using on the Web
- Indexing of database text fields, such as notes and product descriptions, that cannot be effectively indexed by native database tools
- The indexing and display of document URLs in results lists, a valuable document management feature
The good news is that Verity's advanced search features are straightforward to deploy within ColdFusion MX. In general, adding optimized osearch to your application involves three basic tasks:
- Creating a Verity Collection
- Indexing the content within your ColdFusion application
- Designing a search interface
There are pros and cons to using either the ColdFusion MX Administrator or CFML for deploying Verity search within ColdFusion applications. Refer to Table 2 to determine which is appropriate for your application and information environment.
Just as there is more than one method for deploying Verity search, you can configure your search implementation to meet specific business objectives. Primarily, you do this by running cfsearch or cfquery. Table 3 lists the advantages and uses of each.
Optimizing Search Relevancy
Once you've deployed the Verity search, you can also optimize its relevancy for your specific information environment. The ColdFusion implementation of Verity Query Language (VQL) uses operators and modifiers. These can either be used directly by advanced users, or implemented transparently so that they are applied automatically to all queries. The following are some of the more commonly used VQL operators:
For additional resources, see the ColdFusion MX documentation available at www.macromedia.com. All product questions and support for ColdFusion, including the Verity search integrated into ColdFusion MX, are provided by Macromedia.
Extending and Enhancing the Search in Macromedia ColdFusion MX
As advanced as the Verity search is within ColdFusion, you may eventually want to deploy ColdFusion applications with enhanced search capabilities that are not possible using Macromedia's implementation of Verity. This is not due to any inherent limitations on Verity's part as much as it is a result of the robust, advanced capabilities of ColdFusion that enable you to develop ever more powerful applications. Verity has found that the need for additional search features is largely driven by three key requirements, along with a less common fourth requirement:
1. Searching content outside of ColdFusion. The Verity search functionality within ColdFusion is limited to searching content and database records within your ColdFusion application. Many ColdFusion developers need to extend the search functionality to areas outside of ColdFusion, such as intranets, external Web sites, file servers, external databases, Microsoft Exchange, and third-party document management systems.
2. Additional Administrative Tools. To meet their specific application requirements, some developers require additional administrative tools.
3. Adding more advanced end-user interface options. Another common request among ColdFusion developers is the ability to add advanced search features not included with the ColdFusion implementation of Verity, such as spell checker/recommendations, and search-term highlighting.
4. Searching over 250,000 documents and/or records. Occasionally, developers will build applications that exceed the 250,000 documents and/or records that the ColdFusion implementation of Verity is limited to searching. For applications that must search large databases or repositories, developers need to extend this limit. This topic is not covered in this article. For information on overcoming the document number limitations of ColdFusion, contact [email protected].
Extending and Enhancing Search with Verity Ultraseek
The three most common ColdFusion search enhancements listed above can be accomplished with the addition of Verity Ultraseek. This downloadable search engine is easily integrated into applications, using its available Java API. It can also be readily deployed into mixed application environments, using its Web services interface, which supports both the .NET and J2EE platforms. A number of factors make Ultraseek the best choice for extending search outside of the ColdFusion environment and providing additional administration tools:
- Ultraseek's easy-to-implement, set-and-forget design requires extremely low ongoing maintenance and overhead
- Ultraseek's end-user interfaces (i.e., search boxes and results lists) are similar to those of the Verity search embedded in ColdFusion
- Ultraseek provides enterprise-class search at a price point in line with ColdFusion
ColdFusion Search-Specific Tags
Creating a Collection with the cfcollection tag
When using the cfcollection tag, you can specify the same attributes as in the ColdFusion MX Administrator:
- Action: (Optional) The action to perform on the collection (create, delete, repair, or optimize). The default value for the action attribute is list. For more information, see cfcollection in CFML Reference.
- Collection: The name of the new collection, or the name of a collection on which you will perform an action.
- Path: The location for the Verity collection.
- Language: (Optional) The language used to create the collection (English, by default).
<cfcollection action = "create" collection = "a_new_collection" path = "c:\CFusionMX\verity\collections\">
Indexing a Collection Using the cfindex tag
You can index a collection in CFML using the cfindex tag, which eliminates the need to use the ColdFusion MX Administrator.
- Collection: The name of the collection. If you are indexing an external collection (external = "Yes"), you must also specify the fully qualified path for the collection.
- Action: (Optional) Can be update (the default action), delete, purge, or refresh.
- Extensions: (Optional) The delimited list of file extensions that ColdFusion uses to index files if type="Path".
- Key: (Optional) The path containing the files you are indexing if type="path".
- URLpath: (Optional) The URL path for files if type="file" and type="path". When the collection is searched with cfsearch, the pathname is automatically prefixed to filenames and returned as the URL attribute.
- Recurse: (Optional) Yes or No. Yes specifies, if type = "Path", that directories below the path specified in the key attribute are included in the indexing operation.
- Language: (Optional) The language of the collection. English is the default.
You use the cfsearch tag to search an indexed collection. Searching a Verity Collection is similar to a standard ColdFusion query: both use a dedicated ColdFusion tag that requires a name attribute for their searches.
The following are important attributes for the cfsearch tag:
- Name: The name of the search query.
- Collection: The name of the collection(s) being searched. Use a fully qualified path for an external collection. Separate multiple collections with a comma; for example, collection = "sprocket_docs,CodeColl".
- Criteria: The search target (can be dynamic).
- RecordCount: The total number of records returned by the search.
- CurrentRow: The current row of the record set being processed by cfoutput.
- RecordsSearched: The total number of records in the index that were searched. If no records were returned in the search, this property returns a null value.
SYS-CON Events announced today that AgilePoint, the leading provider of Microsoft-centric Business Process Management software, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 2nd International @ThingsExpo which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. AgilePoint is the leading provider of Microsoft-based Business Process Management (BPM) software products, has 1,300+ on-premise and cloud deployments in 25+ countries and provides the same advanced BPM feature set as J2EE vendors like IBM and Appian for the Microsoft .NET native environment. AgilePoint customer...
Oct. 31, 2014 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,020
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., will show what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He will discuss opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and tec...
Oct. 31, 2014 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,568
SYS-CON Events announced today that Utimaco will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Utimaco is a leading manufacturer of hardware based security solutions that provide the root of trust to keep cryptographic keys safe, secure critical digital infrastructures and protect high value data assets. Only Utimaco delivers a general-purpose hardware security module (HSM) as a customizable platform to easily integrate into existing software solutions, embed business logic and build s...
Oct. 31, 2014 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,918
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, will describe an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people’s real needs and desires.
Oct. 31, 2014 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,791
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, will discuss how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money! Speaker Bio: Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, has spent 16 years as a marketing, product management, and busin...
Oct. 31, 2014 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,317
SYS-CON Events announced today that TeleStax, the main sponsor of Mobicents, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TeleStax provides Open Source Communications software and services that facilitate the shift from legacy SS7 based IN networks to IP based LTE and IMS networks hosted on private (on-premise), hybrid or public clouds. TeleStax products include Restcomm, JSLEE, SMSC Gateway, USSD Gateway, SS7 Resource Adaptors, SIP Servlets, Rich Multimedia Services, Presence Services/RCS, Diame...
Oct. 31, 2014 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,673
Samsung VP Jacopo Lenzi, who headed the company's recent SmartThings acquisition under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovaction Center (OIC), answered a few questions we had about the deal. This interview was in conjunction with our interview with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. IoT Journal: SmartThings was developed in an open, standards-agnostic platform, and will now be part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. Can you elaborate on your commitment to keep the platform open? Jacopo Lenzi: Samsung recognizes that true, accelerated innovation cannot be driven from one source, but requires a...
Oct. 31, 2014 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,367
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, will address the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. How important are public, private, and hybrid cloud to the enterprise? How does one define Big Data? And how is the IoT tying all this together?
Oct. 31, 2014 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,979
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Oct. 31, 2014 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,652
SYS-CON Events announces a new pavilion on the Cloud Expo floor where WebRTC converges with the Internet of Things. Pavilion will showcase WebRTC and the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices--computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors – connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
Oct. 30, 2014 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,208
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...
Oct. 30, 2014 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,398
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridsto...
Oct. 30, 2014 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,588
SYS-CON Events announced today that Red Hat, the world's leading provider of open source solutions, will exhibit at Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to reliable and high-performing cloud, Linux, middleware, storage and virtualization technologies. Red Hat also offers award-winning support, training, and consulting services. As the connective hub in a global network of enterprises, partners, a...
Oct. 30, 2014 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,079
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP’s Printing and Personal Systems Group, will discuss how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, senso...
Oct. 30, 2014 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,744
The Internet of Things (IoT) is making everything it touches smarter – smart devices, smart cars and smart cities. And lucky us, we’re just beginning to reap the benefits as we work toward a networked society. However, this technology-driven innovation is impacting more than just individuals. The IoT has an environmental impact as well, which brings us to the theme of this month’s #IoTuesday Twitter chat. The ability to remove inefficiencies through connected objects is driving change throughout every sector, including waste management. BigBelly Solar, located just outside of Boston, is trans...
Oct. 30, 2014 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,188
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, will examine three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics...
Oct. 30, 2014 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,607
Internet of @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley announced on Thursday its first 12 all-star speakers and sessions for its upcoming event, which will take place November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California. @ThingsExpo, the first and largest IoT event in the world, debuted at the Javits Center in New York City in June 10-12, 2014 with over 6,000 delegates attending the conference. Among the first 12 announced world class speakers, IBM will present two highly popular IoT sessions, which will take place November 4-6, 2014 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif...
Oct. 30, 2014 07:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,295
From a software development perspective IoT is about programming "things," about connecting them with each other or integrating them with existing applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Yakov Fain, co-founder of Farata Systems and SuranceBay, will show you how small IoT-enabled devices from multiple manufacturers can be integrated into the workflow of an enterprise application. This is a practical demo of building a framework and components in HTML/Java/Mobile technologies to serve as a platform that can integrate new devices as they become available on the market.
Oct. 29, 2014 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,079
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An...
Oct. 29, 2014 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,636
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue business and deliver exceptional experiences to their customers.
Oct. 29, 2014 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,130