10 minutes and you have a working search interface

Out of the box features

Using Forward Search Out of the box, utilizing just the already factory-prepared features, is a fast and straight-forward way to achieve quite well-working search solutions for a wide range of typical search scenarios. Often it is seen, that this all that is needed, at least in the early production cycles of a project.

With Forward Search, you get a search solution ready to use. Install it and start the indexer - and you can search your site immediately thereafter. Use a few minutes more to configure the basics, and you have a search solution that is on par with or better than what most search solutions deployed today can deliver. 

Forward Search is a software bundle that will run right after installation. A few configurations later, it will index your website and provide a rich search interface for your solution. Forward Search is designed to mainly do search in text contents, mostly web-pages, but also office documents and media files. Therefore, Forward Search is pre-configured to do this efficiently and sensibly.

The out-of-the-box features for the core Forward Search product covers a large bundle of features including, but not limited to: The 25+ Standard fields, filters for 25+ document types, the standard tokenizing scheme, the standard ranking scheme, the Did you Mean feature, Fuzzy Search, Facet Counted Search, Result Pagination and Hit Highlighting, and the Ajax interfaces for Type Ahead and other client-rich features.

Basic search expectations covered out-of-the-box

Forward Search is a search solution that allows for very fast searches into a large set of diverse content.  It does so by creating and maintaining a special index, which is then accessed by the search engine.

Advanced Basic SearchThe engine can perform extremely fast word based searches that returns references to the documents (web pages, pdf documents, media files and so forth) where the word was originally found and added to the index. Those document that match the word, are called search hits, and are returned as the search result

Standard fields

The 25+ standard fields are fields harvested from the contents by the Forward Search indexing service. This includes the title and body-text and of the document being indexed, but also the modified date, the language, the document type, the size, the url and the hierarchical parent of the document, the author, keywords, description and summary fields if they are provided (possibly as Dublin Core fields), and more specialized fields like the CMS item id, the media file image size or video play time, the document boost field and more. Once an index has been performed, all these fields are available for searching, filtering and possibly sorting. With no special configuration at all.   

Support for all the common file formats

The access filters for 25+ document types provides implementations for opening, parsing and extracting contents from a large number of documents, including, but not limited to html pages, Adobe PDF documents, text-files, RTF files, MS Office documents, Open Office documents, image files like bitmapped, jpeg, GIF, PGN and Tiff files, and multimedia files like Mpeg3, AVI, ASF, Mov, Mpeg4, Vob-files and several more. 

Forward Search understands, out-of-the-box, a very large part of the normal body of documents relevant for searching. Should you happen to have a format that Forward Search does not know how to interpret, you can use the Filter plug-in API to create and deploy a special filter – but then we are not talking out-of-the-box features any more, obviously.

Sensible tokenizing

The Forward Search standard tokenizer ensures that text is interpreted and broken into search terms in an appropriate way suitable for almost all types of applications. Text bodies are tokenized on all normal separator characters including whitespace, punctuation marks and a number of other characters. Special characters are usually not indexed, only actual words. Since the exact same process is also applied to the search text when the index is queried, this yields reasonably good search results and follows general best-practices on the field.   

Powerful relevance ranking

Out of the box, Forward Search ranks search results applying solid and well-proven algorithms for search ranking, giving weight to both the size of fields where a hit was found (so that title- and keyword fields usually ranks higher than body-text hits) and also the rarity of the word, when multiple words are sought for. Finally, manual field- and document boosting are also included in the standard ranking scheme, making it very simple to manipulate the standard ranking mechanism to optimize the sorting of the search results.

Enhance the search results

To further enhance the search experience, Forward Search automatically provides Did you Mean functionality for all indexes, and allows for tuning of the search through Fuzzy Search and Thesauruses, though the use of the Custom Thesaurus requires that the thesaurus is populated manually with custom words and alternatives. 

Display the search results

The search results are relevance sorted and hit-highlighted per default, settings that are easily modified to fit other needs. Search results are also paginated and documentation and support classes ready to use are provided with Forward Search to make it easy to set up appropriate pagination with almost no coding.

Facet Counting out-of-the-box

Forward Search is also ready to deliver facet counting with each search result, should Faceted Search be desired – all it takes is the addition of an engine command to the search query, and facet-tables are delivered alongside the search result. No configuration needed at all!

Ajax and JSON support: Rich user experience

To support client-rich solutions, Forward Search includes Ajax support in the form of several JSON returning handlers, that both can provide search results and word-lists for various fields.  Normally, this will require extra code on the solution platform, but Forward Search provides both documentation and code-examples ready to copy and paste, for very fast Type Ahead / Auto-completion implementation.

Ready to configure a bit?

As demonstrated, out-of-the-box really, to a large extend means out of the box, with literally no special coding needed, making Forward Search the premiere product based Rapid Application Development search solution available. With only a little extra configuration, further functionality can be achieved, as you can read more about on the following pages.