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XF 1.1 Horrible Search Engine?

Discussion in 'Troubleshooting and Problems' started by xIsabel38, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. xIsabel38

    xIsabel38 Well-Known Member

    I'm trying to find stuff using the search features of this site and I realize, the search is horrid. Like seriously bad.​
    Let me explain. Say I was looking for BBC type add-ons.​
    Here at xenforo.com under the Resources go to search and try to search for BBC. You get nothing related to BBC add-ons. Even if you search title only.​
    Or if I'm looking for a Media type resource and I search for "Media" I get nothing related to media resources.​
    How about this as an example. We all know xenporta is the most popular download here right? So go to the Resources and try to search for "xen".​
    You won't see a single xenporta/carta/medio, etc... add-on in the list.​
    I'm using the search the way I imagine any average user would use any search feature. This is how I search forums, wikis, sites, etc...​
    Sometimes I find what I'm looking for but with xenForo, it seems like most of the time, I don't. Even if I know it exists.​
    Maybe, it's just me and it's all in my head.​
    Adam Howard likes this.
  2. FredC

    FredC Well-Known Member

    Actually as far as default forum software goes i think the search feature here is far better then the competitors.. But thats just one users opinion..
  3. craigiri

    craigiri Well-Known Member

    Mostly the Limits of mysql. The only way to get real good search is to set up a goog custom search for it.
    Insy likes this.
  4. Naatan

    Naatan Well-Known Member

    A system like that would either take a very intelligent algorithm or for the relevant pages to be tagged in such a way that XenForo knows "XenMedio" strongly relates to "Media".

    Programming languages live off logic, AI does not exist yet, so for it to know an addon is related to the keyword "media" the logic needs to exist, and unless you're going the manual route (entering tags - not very user friendly and very error prone) this isn't a simple task.

    Seeing as XenForo is very young and searching is not it's main purpose I'd say they're forgiven and I'll settle for being more descriptive in my searches.
  5. craigiri

    craigiri Well-Known Member

    Try regular google searches with the following format

    media site:xenforo.com


    whateverIwanttosearch site:xenforo.com
    0xym0r0n likes this.
  6. Walter

    Walter Well-Known Member

    I clicked on resources, entered BBC in the search field and got one hit:
    The hit is because it has the word BBC in it.

    I searched for media and got two hits:

    What exactly were you expecting? Just wondering.

    But you are right, the search is far from perfect (same in all forums).
    To find your Xen-example you will have to know to use the wildcard: search for xen* and you will find all XenCarta and so on.
    But I know, thats all too complicated for an average user. It would be nice to have a more sophisticated search.
  7. Walter

    Walter Well-Known Member

    AFAIK Xenforo doesn't uses the normal search (mysql) but the Enhanced Search from Xenforo itself :)
  8. CyclingTribe

    CyclingTribe Well-Known Member

    You can also use * wildcard - so xen* would find the resources that begin "xen". (y)
  9. xIsabel38

    xIsabel38 Well-Known Member

    I'm not talking about logic and AI here. That's cute that you're all defensive though. I'm talking about search options you can find pretty much anywhere. I don't know what xenForo uses, but I would think it you search "xen" that it would then relate that to anything with "xen" in it and return the results.

    -And for god's sake no one said anything about XenMedio being translated to "Media"... that's just dumb. Calm down.

    Walter, when you search BBC you got that one hit due to it being in the text. But "BBC" is also found in "BBCode" and if you search for "BBCode" now you suddenly get a ton of hits. So I'm just curious why BBC doesn't relate to parcial searches.
  10. xIsabel38

    xIsabel38 Well-Known Member

    But I didn't know this. In fact, I can't imagine this is common knowledge. Does that work with just xF or is it like an every site thing?
  11. Naatan

    Naatan Well-Known Member

    Woah, I'd say if anyone needs to calm down it's you. I was merely explaining why XenForo search acts the way it does.
  12. kkm323

    kkm323 Well-Known Member

    google knows better just add this before your search keyword
    for eg
    site:xenforo.com BBC
  13. xIsabel38

    xIsabel38 Well-Known Member

    I will try this, thanks.
  14. Digital Doctor

    Digital Doctor Well-Known Member

    All forum software has HORRID searching.
    Xenforo is above average but offers nothing special over the search methods used by all the forums.
  15. dutchbb

    dutchbb Well-Known Member

    Everyone is being very reasonable considering the rather harsh title I think.

    It's clear to me you are not very familiar with forum software, at least not in this regard. Forum search engines have always been basic and require some knowledge from the person doing the search to come up with the desired results. If you know how to use them, they are not that bad. It's true however that most people don't. XF isn't better or worse, the technology is just not as advanced as Google's for example.
  16. DRE

    DRE Well-Known Member

    I never liked searching on both vBulletin and xenforo. Your just SOL.
    simbolo likes this.
  17. simbolo

    simbolo Well-Known Member

    8thos likes this.
  18. Adam Howard

    Adam Howard Well-Known Member

    xIsabel38 you're not alone in your thinking.


    ^^ I made the suggestion once that XenForo, much like any other forum software, could do better in improving it's search algorithm. I understand that the argument is that forum software typically uses raw MySQL searching..... But even Google uses a database and I'm sure forum software search could be improved on some level, some how.
  19. xIsabel38

    xIsabel38 Well-Known Member

    To hear people just defend xenForo because they like it is silly. I thought I provided enough examples to why I think the search is "Horrible" but now, I'm not going to give an opinion. I'm going to prove it. I'll even use another forum as the example and a free one at that, not a paid licensed one.

    Oh by the way- is it safe to assume the extra $50 better search engine cost is already on display @ xenforo.com? I mean, I would think they would be using the most advanced search they offer, here on their own website. I could be wrong though.

    Here we go, xenForo vs Simple Machines Forum (In terms of SEARCH and only SEARCH).

    Follow along with me please, open two more tabs on your browser.

    xenForo mods are called Add-ons displayed in the Resource Manager so we're go there on a tab: http://xenforo.com/community/resources/
    SMF mods are called Modifications displayed in the Customize/Modifications area so we'll go to the second tab and point it here: http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/

    Now I have three tabs open. This, and one for each of the links above. Let's run a simple search for "BBC" no more, no less. Make sure to check search resources only for xF and make sure the drop down is on modifications for SMF. This way both forums are searching just the resources/mods.

    xenForo displays: http://xenforo.com/community/search/2608151/?q=bbc&t=resource_update&o=date
    This return is one (1) result.

    SMF displays: http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?action=search;basic_search=bbc
    This return is fifteen (15) pages.

    But why are they so vastly different?

    Is it because xenForo doesn't have as many resources?

    Let's try searching for "BBCode" instead of just "BBC". This should remove anything with BBC that doesn't have "ode" attached to it. So in theory, we should now narrow our search and the results should be smaller.

    Making sure to keep the searches going under just the resource manager and just the modifications:
    xenForo displays: http://xenforo.com/community/search/2608197/?q=BBCode&t=resource_update&o=date
    This return is four (4) pages!

    But wait... what? Wouldn't a search for "BBCode" also include the term "BBC" in it? So why did the search results increase?

    Did SMF do this too? Let's find out.

    SMF displays: http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?action=search;basic_search=bbcode
    This return is 9 pages. It dropped down from 15 to 9 pages because we made a more specific search. This is the expected result.

    Does this make sense? Am I doing something wrong here? I can't see how people can say it's "better" and get defensive about it, when it's clearly not. Don't get me wrong here, I love xenForo too! If I didn't I wouldn't have bought it nor plan on buying a second license soon. But I can admit a flaw when I see one and it seems like some people just like to protect a brand to the death because they like it without actually considering that some parts may not be that great.
    Adam Howard likes this.
  20. Naatan

    Naatan Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure why you are getting in attack mode, I don't get the impression anyone here is defending XenForo beyond reason, we're just trying to give you solutions and explain why things are the way they are. Would you rather just have us say "you're right, it sucks" and be done with it? We're not here to hate on the software we love, simple as that.

    For your example searching for "BBC", as said earlier in this thread if you want to search using wildcards you have to clearly indicate the wildcard using "*", I agree this is not very user friendly but it's a compromise the devs made in favour of performance. When you do wildcard searches on a database it takes a very heavy toll on performance as it needs to analyze every single row in the table you are performing the query on, now combine this with the amount of searches happening on a high profile forum and you are basically spending over half your resources generating search results. Simply by choosing to make the compromise to require wildcards to be explicitly formulated you can negate a lot of that performance loss.

    Basically SMF compromised performance in favour of usability and XF compromised usability in favour of performance.
    Walter and kkm323 like this.

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