XF 2.2 Search forums, SEO improvements and dev team news

Screenshot 2020-08-03 at 10.47.31.pngA new way to surface content

Forums are usually devoted to a single subject matter and the threads they contain relate to that subject matter, unless it's all gone wrong and your users are wandering off topic. Threads belong to their parent forums, so if your board separates posts about kittens from posts about puppies into separate forums, you are never going to see a kitten thread and a puppy thread sitting next to each other within your forum hierarchy. This is how it has always been, it's the basic nature of the discussion forum paradigm.

But what if you want to have a forum that contains all threads from across your entire board that were posted in the week before last, or all threads started by moderators, or all threads that have no replies or... we could go on here.

Of course, we already have a mechanism to find those threads that meet those criteria in the form of the search system, but wouldn't it be great to be able to simply click on a named forum and get those matching threads returned as though they actually belonged to that forum? Well, with XenForo 2.2, you can.

Introducing Search Forums

forum-search-list.png


Search forums are a brand new type of node, which aggregate threads from your entire installation based on criteria of your choosing. This allows your members to browse a more diverse selection of threads as though they were all posted in the same forum.

forum-search-view.png
The simplest use of search forums might be to display threads from a handful of different forums, but the same comprehensive criteria system available in the 'Batch update threads' tool is at your fingertips.

forum-search-add.pngAdd-on developers, as ever, are able to extend this system to provide new options.

To ensure this feature performs as well as possible, results are cached for each user. You can set how long the cache lasts to make the appropriate trade-off between accuracy and performance.




tl;dr

 
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Chromaniac

Well-known member
a question about search forums... here is a hypothetical structure....

parentforum Brand
childforum 1
childforum 2
childforum 3

Can Brand be the search forum with content from the three sub-forums while being the parent node for these sub-nodes? Or they have to be completely independent with no sub-nodes?
 

Mike

XenForo developer
Staff member
Can Brand be the search forum with content from the three sub-forums while being the parent node for these sub-nodes? Or they have to be completely independent with no sub-nodes?
They can have sub-nodes. You'd have to setup the criteria to pull from those sub-nodes, but I believe that should do what you want. (Do note that a search forum has a limit to the number of results displayed as it has to do a lot of potentially complex permission checks. Though I doubt users would manually go through more than a handful of pages of results anyway.)
 

Xon

Well-known member
Search forums is a good replacement for the Forum Digest addon which (I think) I paid either Daniel Hood or John Wainwright to develop years ago and is now available as a different addon from @Xon here: https://xenforo.com/community/resources/aggregating-forums.6633/.
Search forums will be really useful for creating a 'summary' of the latest threads in, for example, all the TV forums which we have divided into a 'per manufacturer' basis. Nice addition.
Aggregating Forums is "live" in that it doesn't need search results or todo complex permission checks per-item. This is doable as it is actually less flexible and just joins multiple forums together without complex criteria
 

Anatoliy

Well-known member
View attachment 226841
Finally, we also work around the 'gotcha' of quoting messages containing links, and set the appropriate ugc and nofollow attributes on quoted links, regardless of whether or not the quote came from a trusted user.

Thanks.
Speaking of SEO and links in quotes. I quoted an image on purpose.
The link is https://xenforo.com/community/attachments/226841/ but it redirects to https://xenforo.com/community/attachments/seo-link-ugc-png.226841/ . The SEO tool I use tells me those redirects hurt my forum and they should be fixed.

Will it be fixed in xF 2.2? (Pleeeeeease)
 

Xon

Well-known member
Xon is talking about his own add-on which apparently is a different architecture and doesn't require permission checks.

Our approach does.
My add-on does the forum permission checks up-front (which works surprisingly well), then "just" dumps a pile of nodes to fetch threads from into normal forum view code. Per-thread view checks are still done, but not over the entire result-set.

The XF "Search Forums" feature appears to be just a custom thread searcher exposed as a forum. I'm not sure if it is running an actual "search" (ie possible hitting ElasticSearch), or just a complex SQL query for threads with a post-filtering stage.
 

Tim Mayo

Member
Great work guys, especially the SEO improvements. Any chance of adding to the search engine index criteria: "This thread has at least X words"? I think this would help a lot with thin content. Also, I had an add-on created that allows me to enter a custom meta title, description and h1 in the node editor, will anything like this be coming?
 

Mike

XenForo developer
Staff member
Will also Users able to create their own?
The short answer there is no.

The XF "Search Forums" feature appears to be just a custom thread searcher exposed as a forum. I'm not sure if it is running an actual "search" (ie possible hitting ElasticSearch), or just a complex SQL query for threads with a post-filtering stage.
It's the thread searcher (as is probably clear from the screen shot), which exposes options that aren't directly exposed to searches, so it's basically just done in SQL.
 

Kirby

Well-known member
Search Forums are a nice feature :)

One question regarding Forum Index Controls:
Does this also allow moderator with appropriate permission to change indexing status on individual threads?
I personally found this to be really useful.

Keep up the great work!
 

beerForo

Well-known member
Instead of the whole "search forum" new node wouldn't it be simpler to click a prefix and it shows all those topics instead limiting it to the ones in the forum you are in (as it is now)? Looks like it does a lot more but based on your example it seems like a heavy way to do a lighter task and "global" prefixes would solve a lot as well.
 

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
Looks like it does a lot more
Well, that's the point, surely?

Prefixes have to be assigned to threads explicitly and it depends on them being created and being made usable to forums. How does a "global" prefix work? How is that assigned to a thread? What about the criteria aspect?

I think you might have ideas for a different system entirely but I don't feel it would replace what we've done here.
 

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
Does this also allow moderator with appropriate permission to change indexing status on individual threads?
The criteria is very much defined at the forum level so there isn't a specific thread toggle. Worth a new suggestion though.
 

Chromaniac

Well-known member
global prefixes would have been nice. plus using tags as a filter for search forums. but in broader sense, this feature has limited usage for me personally so i am going to wait for next hys thread 😁
 
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Mike

XenForo developer
Staff member
global prefixes would have been nice. plus using tags as a filter for search forums. but in broader sense, this feature has limited usage for me personally so i am going to wait for next hys therad 😁
FWIW, you can actually filter on tags. It wasn't shown there as it was actually tweaked very recently, but the thread searcher (which is used for batch thread updates too) does now allow that.
 
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