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Michael Peters > CGI-Application-Search-1.14 > CGI::Application::Search



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Module Version: 1.14   Source  


CGI::Application::Search - Base class for CGI::App Swish-e site engines


    package My::Search;
    use base 'CGI::Application::Search';

    sub cgiapp_init {
        my $self = shift;
            'SWISHE_INDEX' => 'my-swishe.index',
            'TEMPLATE'     => 'search_results.tmpl',

    sub cgiapp_prerun {
        my $self  = shift;
        my $query = $self->query;

        # let the user turn context highlighting off
        $self->param('HIGHLIGHT' => 0) if $query->param('highlight_off');

        # let the user change which property is used in the sort
        my $sort_by = $query->param('sort_by');
        $self->param('SORT_BY' => $sort_by) if $sort_by;



A CGI::Application based control module that uses Swish-e API in perl ( to to perform searches on a swish-e index of documents.



If this is your first time using Swish-e (or you think you need a refresher) or if you want step-by-step instructions on how to use the AJAX capabilities of this module, then please see the "Tutorial".


The start_mode is show_search.


This method will load the template pointed to by the TEMPLATE param (falling back to a default internal template if none is specified) and display it to the user. It will 'associate' this template with $self so that any parameters in $self->param() are also accessible to the template. It will also use HTML::FillInForm to fill in the search form with the previously selected parameters (unless it's a 'non-page-refresh' AJAX search).


This is where the meat of the searching is performed. We create a SWISH::API object on the SWISHE_INDEX and create the query for the search based on the value of the keywords parameter in CGI and any other EXTRA_PROPERTIES. The search is executed and if HIGHLIGHT is true we will use Search::Tools::HiLiter to highlight it and then format the results, only showing PER_PAGE number of elements A paging list is also shown for navigating through the results. Then we will return to the show_search() method for displaying everything.


This run mode will fetch a remote page (with either a relative, or absolute URL using the url Query param) and highlight the keywords used in the search on that page (the keywords Query param) using the HIGHLIGHT_TAG, HIGHLIGHT_CLASS or HIGHLIGHT_COLORS options. This run mode is best used in the links of the search results listing.

    <a href="?rm=highlight_remote_page;;keywords=Us">about us</a>


This run mode will fetch a local page (only allowing relative files based in the DOCUMENT_ROOT config var and the path using the path Query param) and highlight the keywords used in the search on that page (the keywords Query param) using the HIGHLIGHT_TAG, HIGHLIGHT_CLASS or HIGHLIGHT_COLORS options. This run mode is best used in the links of the search results listing.

    <a href="?rm=highlight_local_page;path=%2Fabout_us%2Findex.html;keywords=Us">about us</a>


This run mode will return an AJAX listing of words that should be suggested to the user for the words that they have typed so far. It uses the suggested_words() method to actually choose which words to send back.


Most of the time you will not need to call the methods that are implemented in this module. But in some cases customizing the templates is not enought. If so, it might be prudent to override or extend these methods in your derived class.


We simply override and extend the CGI::Application new() to setup our defaults.


Here's were we setup our run modes. If you override this method, make sure you also call it in your base class

    sub setup {
        my $self = shift;
        # do your thing


This method is used to generate the query for swish-e from the $keywords (by default the 'keywords' CGI parameter), as well as any EXTRA_PROPERTIES that are present.

If you wish to generate your own search query then you should override this method. This is common if you need to have access/authorization control that will need to be taken into account for your search. (eg, anything under /protected can't be seen by someone not logged in).

Please see the swish-e documentation on the exact syntax for the query.


This object method is used by the AUTO_SUGGEST flag to return the words that should be suggested to the user after they have typed a $word. It returns an array reference of those words.

By default it will just look for words in the AUTO_SUGGEST_FILE that begin with $word. If you need more performance or flexibility (eg, storing your words in a database and querying for them) you are encouraged to override this method.


There are several configuration parameters that you can set at any time (using param() in your cgiapp_init, or PARAMS hash in new()) before the run mode is called that will affect the search and display of the results. They are:


This is the swishe index used for the searches. The default is 'data/swish-e.index'. You will probably set this every time.


This is a boolean indicating whether or not a non-page-refresh AJAX search will be permitted.

Please see the "Tutorial" for more information on how to use the AJAX capabilities of this module.


The name of the search interface template. Default templates are included with this distribution and will be used if you don't specify one. Which default template is used depends on which TEMPLATE_TYPE you are using (HTMLTemplate or TemplateToolkit) and whether or not the AJAX flag is true.

These sample templates are installed with the module, or you can view them by looking under the templates/ directory of the source distribution (.tar.gz).

Please see "TEMPLATE USAGE" for more information on which variables are passed into your template.


This module uses CGI::Application::Plugin::AnyTemplate to allow flexibility in choosing which templating system to use for your search. This works especially well when you are trying to integrate the Search into an existing app with an existing templating structure.

This value is passed to the $self->template->config() method as the default_type. By default it is 'HTMLTemplate'. Please see CGI::Application::Plugin::AnyTemplate for more options.

If you want more control of configuration for the template the it would probably best be done by subclassing CGI::Application::Search and passing your desired params to $self->template->config.


How many search result items to display per page. The default is 10.


Boolean indicating whether or not we should highlight the description given to the templates. The default is true.


The HTML tag used to surround the highlighted context. The default is strong.


The class attribute of the HIGHLIGHT_TAG HTML tag. This is useful when you want to dictacte the style through a CSS style sheet. If given, this value will override that of HIGHLIGHT_COLORS. It has no value by default.


This is an array ref of acceptable HTML colors. If provided, it will highlight each matching word/phrase in an alternating style. For instance, if given 2 colors, every other highlighted phrase would be a different color. By default it is an empty array.


This is an array ref of extra properties used in the search. By default, the module will only use the value of the 'keywords' parameter coming in the CGI query. If anything is provided as an extra property then it will be added to the query used in the search.

An example: You have some of you pages designated into categories. You want the user to have the option of narrowing his results by category. You add the word 'category' to the 'EXTRA_PROPERTIES' list and then you add a 'category' form element that the user has the option of giving a value to your search form. If the user gives that element a value, then it will be seen and applied to the search. This will also only work if you have the 'category' element defined for your documents (see SWISH-E Configuration and 'MetaNames' in the SWISH-CONF documentation).

By default, this list is empty.


This is almost exactly like the EXTRA_PROPERTIES above except that instead of searching for the given properties as simple strings, we will use a range. Since ranges need to values, if you're searching for the foo property, then you need to have a foo_start and a foo_end value coming from the query. So if foo is in your EXTRA_RANGE_PROPERTIES and you have a CGI query string like this:


Then we will a generate a Swish-E query that looks something like this:

  -L foo 123 234


This is the maximum length for the context (in chars) that is displayed for each search result. The default is 250 characters.


This is the number of words on either side of the searched for words and phrases (keywords) that will be displayed as part of the description. If this is 0, then the entire description will be displayed. The default is 0.

NOTE: This directive will cause Search to use Text::Context, which can be slow and CPU intensive at times. These computations may prove to be too much for some servers (eg, a shared hosting environment).


If true, then this will allow the broswer to give suggestions to the user as they type. To use this, you must either use the AUTO_SUGGEST_FILE configuration option, or override the suggested_words() method.

You template must also have the appropriate JavaScript code. Please see the "Tutorial" for more details.


The name of the file where the suggested words are stored. These words should be in alphabetical order with one word per line.


A boolean indicating whether or not the results of the AUTO_SUGGEST_FILE should be cached in memory or not. This will save repeated file accesses when used in a persistant environment.


An integer count of the most suggestions to show the user at a time. This is useful when you don't want to overwhelm the end user and take over their screen with all of your helpful suggestions.


This is the root directory to use when looking for files when using the highlight_local_page run mode.


This is a string used by Swish-e to sort the results. The string is a space separated list of valid document properties. Each property may contain a qualifier (either asc or desc) that sets the direction of the sort. Leave it alone and Swish-e will sort by swishrank in descending order. But say you wanted to reverse that for some reason. You could specify a SORT_BY of

    swishrank asc


A hash reference of extra parameters that are passed to HTML::FillInForm when it does it's business with the forms. This is useful to telling HTML::FillInForm to skip certain forms or form elements.


Sample templates are included with this distribution. These sample templates are installed with the module, or you can view them by looking under the templates/ directory of the source distribution (.tar.gz).

Please feel free to copy and change them in what ever way you see fit. To help give you more information to display (or not display, depending on your preference) the following variables are available for your templates:

Global Tmpl Vars

These variables are available throughout the templates and contain information related to the search as a whole:



Michael Peters <>

Thanks to Plus Three, LP ( for sponsoring my work on this module.


Sam Tregar <>
Mark Stosberg <>
Eric Folley <>
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