wpSearch Released With Features, Fixes

After an exhausting week and a half tracking down the source of a mysterious bug in wpSearch, I think I can finally close the book on the “null result” issue that had me pouring over the source code.

wpSearch, the first official release after the 1.5 landmark, brings to the forefront some of the features and fixes slated in the last post. wpSearch 1.5 has had the following features implemented:

  • Comment Searching
  • A behind-the-scenes event logger for easily figuring out user issues
  • An upgrade to the underlying Lucene Search
  • An upgrade to the underlying StandardAnalyzer (used for relevancy)

And these fixes:

  • No more null results after a post is edited
  • Foreign character support (or simply indexing content with ‘UTF-8′ encoding
  • Memory issues for content-heavy posts

wpSearch is a rock-solid release that is starting to make a name for itself in the WordPress world. The new ‘Phone Home’ feature in wpSearch allows users to report their copy of wpSearch. A few of the blogs with wpSearch currently in use are listed here:

Patrick Cushing at the EnterVenture blog wrote a very detailed comparision of the default WordPress search’s relevancy vs. wpSearch’s. This article ended up at digg.

Of course, as far as wpSearch has come in its short lifespan, there exists a set of users that deserve credit for pointing out issues and keeping me informed of bugs, needed features, etc.. So, in no particular order, I would like to thank:

  • ComputerBob, at ComputerBob.com for pointing out the first instance of the empty result issue. He has thoroughly documented his usage with wpSearch at his blog, in a fair and balanced fashion. Furthermore, he has sent his index data back with detailed comments when most users would simply give up on wpSearch. Thanks ComputerBob.
  • Robert Irizarry, who has kept the wpSearch thread at the WordPress repository stuffed with feature ideas and issue notices.
  • Olivier, who’s 6000 posts provided the first failed scalability test for wpSearch. His pointing out of this issue led to a change to allow for greater scalability — in other words, wpSearch 1.5 was tested successfully up to 7,000 posts. Great dedication to detailing these issues has helped wpSearch greatly.
  • Karl Heigl, who first mentioned the fact the wpSearch was not handling German accents, and subsequently all foreign (to the U.S.) characters. This also ended up affecting Olivier. This bug was fixed in Thanks Karl!
  • A user named Brian, said, “Thanks for the update. If you need any other information or even help testing, I’d be happy to assist. Just let me know. ” Thanks for your support Brian.
  • And to all those who have donated to this project so far!

So, wpSearch wouldn’t be at it’s current status if it weren’t for those supporting it.

Features coming up for wpSearch include result highlighting, contextual snippets, and a progress meter for index building.  I encourage everyone who is reading this but hasn’t installed wpSearch yet to try it out, and see the awesome blog search that you’ve been missing.

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  • http://buildingtheergonomicguitar.com Robert Irizarry

    I’ve been very impressed with WPSearch’s significant improvement in search relevance over the standard WP search and look forward to helping however I can.

    If you need a tester, please keep me in mind and thanks for the mention!

  • http://www.savoringkentucky.com Rona Roberts

    I am excited about WPSearch and deeply appreciate your work on it, Kenny. I am overhauling several parts of Savoring Kentucky this week, so it looks a little sloppy today, but I’ll have it put back together in a couple of days. Improving search was at the top of my list, and WPSearch does it beautifully. Also – it upgraded easily using the WP Automatic Upgrade plug in.

  • http://buildingtheergonomicguitar.com Robert Irizarry

    @Rona – Improving search was a big concern of mine as well. And while I found a few search plugins that made some incremental improvements none of them really compare to WPSearch even at this early stage.

    While some might point to Google’s Customized Search facility, it comes with a number of compromises including a somewhat inflexible layout that doesn’t work well with many WordPress themes – at least not without nixing the sidebar. It’s also highly dependent on how much love the Google bot is giving your site at any given point.

    I’m eager to see what the next update brings!

  • http://www.computerbob.com ComputerBob

    Thanks for mentioning my site here, Kenny. I’m very happy to have been able to help you with wpSearch, though my contribution was miniscule compared to all the work that you ended up having to do.

    But even when wpSearch was having problems, I could tell that it was an excellent project with a very bright future.

    And it appears to me that you, my friend, also have a very bright future. 😉

  • http://kestrelsaerie.us Kestrel

    When I try to activate this plugin (current release), I get the following Fatal Error:

    Parse error: parse error, unexpected ‘)’, expecting ‘(‘ in /home/content/u/c/l/ucla74/html/wp-content/plugins/wpsearch/wpSearch.php on line 56

    Line 56:
    $wpSearch_log = new KLogger( dirname(__FILE__) . “/log.txt” , KLogger::OFF );

    (the /wpsearch folder has been made writeable: chmod777)

  • Kenny Katzgrau

    Hey Kestrel,

    It sounds like you might not have PHP 5 or higher installed. PHP 5 is needed for the underlying search library, and also for things like “objects” in programming. It looks like PHP tripped up on an object in that error message, so you might want to check that out.

    Let me know — or else I have a pretty big bug to fix!

  • http://kestrelsaerie.us Kestrel

    Ahh…that may well be it; and here I thought php5 WAS installed! Nuts…okay; will check into that then. Thanks for the quick response!

  • Marshall

    Hi Kenny,

    I am getting the exact same error as Kestrel when I go to activate the plugin. I have PHP 5.2.5 installed.


    p.s. I sent you an email about this…

  • http://buildingtheergonomicguitar.com/ Robert Irizarry

    @Kestrel – It may be that PHP 5 is available through your hosting provider and that you simply need to reconfigure your site to use it. Its not as hard as it might sound. In fact, my hosting company made it as easy as a couple of clicks in its admin console CPanel.

  • http://kestrelsaerie.us Kestrel

    Catching up…

    Kenny & Robert: I in fact changed from PHP 4 to PHP 5 (yep, a couple clicks and done–I really had thought I’d selected PHP 5 when I created my site!), and no longer get the earlier error. However, when I try to index, I receive the following error after 30 seconds to a minute:

    Internal Server Error
    The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

    Please contact the server administrator, support@supportwebsite.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

    More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

    Apache/1.3.33 Server at kestrelsaerie.us Port 80

    I’ve verified my /plugins/wpSearch folder is writable (777); the /plugins folder is owner-writable (755). Went to my webhost account, but couldn’t really see anything there to change (I use GoDaddy, which I know can be a bit squirrelly at times).

    Going to peruse the wpSearch_Manual now to see if there are any insights there.

    (Just a note: I don’t really need anything as robust as wpSearch; but I still want it!)

  • http://buildingtheergonomicguitar.com/ Robert Irizarry

    @Kestrel – I saw that error early on. If memory serves I got around it by disabling all plugins except for wpSearch, running the index and then re enabling plugins. That worked. At the time I was running WP 2.6.

    I haven’t seen that in the latest version at all and I have WP at 2.6.1.

  • http://savoringkentucky.com Rona Roberts

    Hi, Kenny –

    I’m checking back in to see whether you may have worked on that tendency of wpSearch (at least on my blog) to not pick up posts that have been edited after posting. If I edit after posting I have re-indexed and that works, because my blog is small. I do notice I tend to avoid edits I would otherwise make after posting, though, because I want everything to turn up in a search, and I may not want to spend the extra minutes to re-index, even though it’s really not very many minutes. I’m still a really happy user – with a wish for that change. Much appreciation for this fine tool.

  • http://www.moiblog.com Moises Kirsch

    Is there a way to have the plugin ignore pages?

    I only want to search posts. Other search plugins have this option.

  • Dunkkan

    Hello Kenny,

    Thanks very much for this wonderful plugin. I just have one doubt about it:

    Normally the user should write the terms to search separated by the ‘AND’ property in one single box, but in my case I’d like to provide several boxes to fill (‘song’, ‘artist’, ‘year’, ‘label’, ‘style’), and one final submit button, linking the searched terms with the ‘AND’ property in the ‘background’ in some way.
    I don’t know if this can be accomplished, if you can put me in the right direction it could be really great (in the Lucene forum they talk about un-understandable things, so…),



  • Dunkkan

    Hello Kenny,

    Sorry, I think I deleted my last message here. I’d just wanted to know, quickly, if I can set several search boxes in my search page, boxes related between them by one submit button, instead of suggesting to the user he uses the ‘AND’ boolean operator in the search box. I need the user can ‘jump’ from field to field filling it with the terms to search.

    Naturally, each field has an html suggestion, let’s say “title”, “author”, “albulm”, “label”, “style” etc.

    The ‘work’ the plugin would do is AS if the user had written: “Sacramento AND Miles Davis AND jazz AND Bluenote”, to produce a result which bring him throught the Kind of Blue album; for exemple.

    I know, maybe that’s not between your interests developping the plugin, or it’s out of the box the Lucene technology provides, but let me know your opinion, even to start searching somewhere else,

    Thanks and Cheers,


  • http://www.webdesign-in.de/ Monika

    Hi thanks a lot for this plugin.

    I have questions;)

    Is it possible to exclude some words —
    i.e *in* *at* because if I search for

    Hotels in Sao Paolo

    I get hundreds of results with *in* -but I know that my users use the search like my example.

    I hope you understand my meanings.



  • Robert Griffin

    Hadn’t tried this plug-in in a while so I thought I would give it a go. But, am I missing something. It doesn’t recognize the ? I am not sure if I am missing a step, but on a search I see everything. I put in ‘s specifically for search engines, so I would want my own search on my page to honor them.

    But the big downfall for me is it is not WordPressMU compatible. I did a search on my personal blog and the results came in from all over the place, including posts from my business site. Now, on the other hand, this is a good thing for WordPressMU usrs since a lot what to be able to search their entire community of blogs. But in my case, I don’t.

    I realize that this never stated it was wordpressmu compatible, but I thought I would pass it along. If I could limit the blogs it was searching, and recognized ‘s, I would look no future. Very fast search.

    Any idea’s about when or if these 2 features would be recognized?


    This should be a simple fix to look only at the current blogs database. I don’t know. I didn’t look into the code. But it would be a nice addition to WordPressMU plug-ins.

  • http://www.agencijanet.si Jure

    I have installed wpsearch on a fairly large website (posts from 2001). After building index I have noticed, that newer posts are not included in my index.

    Using WP 2.6.2

    If this could be resolved, WP would finally have a really excellent search plugin.

  • http://machete.gummyprint.com Lateef

    Hi Kenny, Great Plug In! Is there a way to get my Search Results page to display Complete Posts instead of just a listing of Linked Titles?

    I edited ‘search.php’ to display the complete post…but it throws out all formatting (no HTML, no links, scripts, etc.) – so if I had embedded a youtube video in the post it won’t show up in the search listing – even though the entire post is displayed (unformatted in one block).


  • http://mentalhygiene.com option8

    is there any recommended way to exclude posts or pages without content from the search results? i have several that i use as “placeholders” that come up with “…” in the search results. they don’t have content, but the search term is in the title, so they float to the top.

  • Keller

    any possibilities of including pdf-documents into wpsearch?
    any hints if
    shows a way to index text of pdf-documents that are already ocr-handeled?

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  • http://www.chrometoaster.com/ Darren

    Hi Kenny
    I’m using wpSearch for a project, but still getting the ‘null result’ issue. If you could let me know what you thought it was previously, that could help me find the issue, as I do need to fix it!
    Aside from that, great idea :)

  • Nick


    Just a quick question from Sunny Australia,

    Is this project still active? WP3 ?

    I noticed that the search on your own site returns blank records…

  • Kenny Katzgrau


    Yes, WPSearch is still active. WPSearch 2 is likely going to launched at WordCamp NYC on October 16th, and it fixes a number of problems with the original project. It’ll be in the plug-in repository that day, guaranteed.

    Additionally, we wrote a version for very content-heavy blogs (over 500k posts).

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