|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.
|Dave Hardwick 01/27/05 10:25:47 AM EST|
Ironic, the URL for the Ultraseek extension for CF provided a "404: File Not Found." When I searched for cfsearch or CFMX on Verity's Web site, it returned no results!
I was surprised this article did not mention KF2 Server. Crawling the site is a very powerful option that allows for regular expression type controls over what is and is not indexed, be it directories or filenames.
|Peter 01/20/05 03:53:53 AM EST|
Great article, glad to see Verity with CF getting some exposure. I agree that it is entirely about servicing the end user but have a problem that I can't seem to get around.
I have a handful of long (250+ page) pdfs which I can add to a verity collection and then search. What my end users really want, however, is not just to identify matching documents, but to identify the passages within those documents that match their search criteria.
Is anything along these lines possible with the Verity engine included with CF?
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, explained how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
Jul. 31, 2016 02:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,212
In today's uber-connected, consumer-centric, cloud-enabled, insights-driven, multi-device, global world, the focus of solutions has shifted from the product that is sold to the person who is buying the product or service. Enterprises have rebranded their business around the consumers of their products. The buyer is the person and the focus is not on the offering. The person is connected through multiple devices, wearables, at home, on the road, and in multiple locations, sometimes simultaneously...
Jul. 31, 2016 01:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,010
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
Jul. 31, 2016 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,043
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
Jul. 30, 2016 11:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,347
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
Jul. 30, 2016 10:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,947
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 30, 2016 09:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,502
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
Jul. 30, 2016 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,323
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Jul. 30, 2016 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,778
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Jul. 30, 2016 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,312
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
Jul. 30, 2016 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,129
"My role is working with customers, helping them go through this digital transformation. I spend a lot of time talking to banks, big industries, manufacturers working through how they are integrating and transforming their IT platforms and moving them forward," explained William Morrish, General Manager Product Sales at Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 30, 2016 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,284
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
Jul. 30, 2016 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 992
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
Jul. 30, 2016 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,418
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Jul. 30, 2016 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,135
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
Jul. 30, 2016 10:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,533
ReadyTalk has expanded the capabilities of the FoxDen collaboration platform announced late last year to include FoxDen Connect, an in-room video collaboration experience that launches with a single touch. With FoxDen Connect, users can now not only engage in HD video conferencing between iOS and Android mobile devices or Chrome browsers, but also set up in-person meeting rooms for video interactions. A host’s mobile device automatically recognizes the presence of a meeting room via beacon tech...
Jul. 30, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 571
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
Jul. 30, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,193
It’s 2016: buildings are smart, connected and the IoT is fundamentally altering how control and operating systems work and speak to each other. Platforms across the enterprise are networked via inexpensive sensors to collect massive amounts of data for analytics, information management, and insights that can be used to continuously improve operations. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Chemel, Co-Founder and CTO of Digital Lumens, will explore: The benefits sensor-networked systems bring to ...
Jul. 30, 2016 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,670
On Dice.com, the number of job postings asking for skill in Amazon Web Services increased 76 percent between June 2015 and June 2016. Salesforce.com saw its own skill mentions increase 37 percent, while DevOps and Cloud rose 35 percent and 28 percent, respectively. Even as they expand their presence in the cloud, companies are also looking for tech professionals who can manage projects, crunch data, and figure out how to make systems run more autonomously. Mentions of ‘data science’ as a skill ...
Jul. 30, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 653
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet a...
Jul. 30, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 808