rdrake.org » Developing a Search API

Developing a Search API

Posted on 26 Jan 2012


In order to attain maximum flexibility in our user interface, we must design a flexible search API internally. It should support all major search operators discussed in this document.

Traditionally, the following operators are available:

When dealing with Google, these would be utilized in the following query:

"csci 1000u" OR "csci 2020u" -1030u

These operators can be ambiguous at times. In order to deal with this, many systems introduce a method of disambiguation. This allows the user to clarify their intent.

For example,

csci AND 1000u OR 2020u

But one may wish to place emphasis on the OR first.

csci AND (1000u OR 2020u)

Internal Search API

Transferring a human-friendly representation into a data structure may prove slightly challenging. It would require parsing the query in order to correctly interpret it.

Simple Queries

A simple query is defined as one that does not utilize manual disambiguation.

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